Creating bootable Solaris 11 USB drive

Download the requisite Solaris OS image from Oracle here.  You may need to create a free account first.

Note that if you are building a SPARC server e.g. T8-2, it comes with Solaris pre-installed.  You should start with this document here, connecting to the ILOM System Console via the SER MGT Port using the instructions here.

The instructions from Oracle are as follows, but I don’t like the way they say to use dmesg | tail to identify the USB device when lsusb to identify the make and model and df -h to identify the device name provide much clearer, humanly readable output.


  • On Linux:
    1. Insert the flash drive and locate the appropriate device.
      # dmesg | tail
    2. Copy the image.
      # dd if=/path/image.usb of=/dev/diskN bs=16k

For other client operating systems such as Solaris itself or MacOSX, instructions from Oracle can be found here.

In my case, the USB stick was mounted to /dev/sdg1 automatically when plugged into Linux desktop, so I unmounted /dev/sdg1 then changed to the directory containing my Solaris 11 image, then used dd as shown in the screenshot below.

The commands are therefore,

df -h to Identify the USB device e.g. /dev/sdg

sudo umount /dev/sdg1 to unmount the filesystem on the USB device

cd ~/Downloads/Solaris11 to change to the location of your downloaded image file

sudo dd if=sol-11_3.usb of=/dev/sdg bs=16k to write it to the USB device

Since dd is a block level, not a file level copy, you don’t need to make the USB device bootable or anything like that.  That’s all contained in the blocks copied to the device.


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