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Solaris¿ Internals (Vol 1) [Paperback]

Jim Mauro , Richard McDougall , Sun Microsystems Press
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 15, 2000 0130224960 978-0130224965 1
(Sun Microsystems) A definitive guide to the internals of the Solaris kernel, focusing on core kernel functions, major data structures, and algorithms. An indispensable reference for kernel developers, containing useful information for monitoring and optimizing Solaris systems.

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap


The internals of the UNIX kernel are fairly well-documented, most notably by Goodheart and Cox 10, Bach 1, McKusick et al. 19, and Vahalia 39. These texts have become a common source of reference information for those who want to better understand the internals of UNIX. However little has been written about the specifics of the Solaris kernel.

The paucity of Solaris specific information led us to create our own reference material. As we published information through white papers, magazine columns, and tutorials, the number of folks expressing interest motivated us to produce a complete work that discussed Solaris exclusively. About This Book

This book is about the internals of Sun's Solaris Operating Environment. The rapid growth of Solaris has created a large number of users, software developers, systems administrators, performance analysts, and other members of the technical community, all of whom require in-depth knowledge about the environment in which they work.

Since the focus of this book is the internals of the Solaris kernel, the book provides a great deal of information on the architecture of the kernel and the major data structures and algorithms implemented in the operating system. However, rather than approach the subject matter from a purely academic point of view, we wrote the book with an eye on the practical application of the information contained herein. Thus, we have emphasized the methods and tools that can be used on a Solaris system to extract information that otherwise is not easily accessible with the standard bundled commands and utilities. We want to illustrate how you can apply this knowledge in a meaningful way, as your job or interest dictates.

To maximize the usefulness of the text, we included specific information on Solaris versions 2.5.1, 2.6, and Solaris 7. We cover the major Solaris subsystems, including memory management, process management, threads, files, and file systems. We do not cover details of low-level I/O, device drivers, STREAMS, and networking. For reference material on these topics, see "Writing Device Drivers" 28, the "STREAMS Programming Guide" 29, and "UNIX Network Programming" 32.

The material included in this book is not necessarily presented at an introductory level, although whenever possible we begin discussing a topic with some conceptual background information. We assume that you have some familiarity with operating systems concepts and have used a UNIX-based operating system. Some knowledge of the C programming language is useful but not required.

Because of the variety of hardware platforms on which Solaris runs, it is not practical to discuss the low-level details of all the different processors and architectures, so our hardware focus, when detail is required, is admittedly UltraSPARC-centric. This approach makes the most sense since it represents the current technology and addresses the largest installed base. In general, the concepts put forth when detail is required apply to other processors and platforms supported. The differences are in the specific implementation details, such as per-processor hardware registers.

Throughout the book we refer to specific kernel functions by name as we describe the flow of various code segments. These routines are internal to the operating system and should not be construed as, or confused with, the public interfaces that ship as part of the Solaris product line-the systems calls and library interfaces. The functions referenced throughout the text, unless explicitly noted, are private to the kernel and not callable or in any way usable by application programs. Intended Audience

We hope that this book will serve as a useful reference for a variety of technical staff members working with the Solaris Operating Environment.

Application developers can find information in this book about how Solaris implements functions behind the application programming interfaces. This information helps developers understand performance, scalability, and implementation specifics of each interface when they develop Solaris applications. The system overview section and sections on scheduling, interprocess communication, and file system behavior should be the most useful sections. Device driver and kernel module developers of drivers, STREAMS modules, loadable system calls, etc., can find herein the general architecture and implementation theory of the Solaris Operating Environment. The Solaris kernel framework and facilities portions of the book (especially the locking and synchronization primitives chapters) are particularly relevant. Systems administrators, systems analysts, database administrators, and ERP managers responsible for performance tuning and capacity planning can learn about the behavioral characteristics of the major Solaris subsystems. The file system caching and memory management chapters provide a great deal of information about how Solaris behaves in real-world environments. The algorithms behind Solaris tunable parameters (which are detailed in Appendix A) are covered in depth throughout the book. Technical support staff responsible for the diagnosis, debugging, and support of Solaris will find a wealth of information about implementation details of Solaris. Major data structures and data flow diagrams are provided in each chapter to aid debugging and navigation of Solaris Systems. System users who just want to know more about how the Solaris kernel works will find high-level overviews at the start of each chapter.

In addition to the various technical staff members listed above, we also believe that members of the academic community will find the book of value in studying how a volume, production kernel implements major subsystems and solves the problems inherent in operating systems development. How This Book Is Organized

We organized Solaras Internals into several logical parts, each part grouping several chapters containing related information. Our goal was to provide a building block approach to the material, where later sections build on information provided in earlier chapters. However, for readers familiar with particular aspects of operating systems design and implementation, the individual parts and chapters can stand on their own in terms of the subject matter they cover.

Part One: Introduction to Solaris Internals Chapter 1 — An Introduction to Solaris Chapter 2 — Kernel Services Chapter 3 — Kernel Synchronization Primitives Chapter 4 — Kernel Bootstrap and Initialization Part Two: The Solaris Memory System Chapter 5 — Solaris Memory Architecture Chapter 6 — Kernel Memory Chapter 7 — Memory Monitoring Part Three: Threads, Processes, and IPC Chapter 8 — The Solaris Multithreaded Process Architecture Chapter 9 — The Solaris Kernel Dispatcher Chapter 10 — Interprocess Communication Part Four: Files and File Systems Chapter 11 — Solaris Files and File I/O Chapter 12 — File System Overview Chapter 13 — File System Framework Chapter 14 — The UNIX File System Chapter 15 — Solaris File System Cache

Solaris Source Code

In February 2000, Sun announced the availability of Solaris source. This book provides the essential companion to the Solaris source and can be used as a guide to the Solaris kernel framework and architecture.

It should also be noted that the source available from Sun is the Solaris 8 source. Although this book covers Solaris versions up to and including Solaris 7, almost all of the material is relevant to Solaris 8. Updates and Related Material

To complement this book, we created a Web site where we will place updated material, tools we refer to, and links to related material on the topics covered. The Web site is available at solarisinternals. A Note from the Authors

We certainly hope that you get as much out of reading Solaris Internals as we did from writing it. We welcome comments, suggestions, and questions from readers.

From the Back Cover

The definitive Sun Microsystems guide to the internals of the Solaris kernel.

This book focuses on the core kernel functions, major data structures and algorithms. Its practical approach makes it an essential resource for anyone responsible for kernel, driver or application software. Anyone doing development, debugging, maintenance, performance tuning, capacity planning, or application tuning will also benefit from Mauro and McDougall's in-depth coverage of the Solaris kernel.

This authoritative and comprehensive guide covers the key components that comprise the Solaris kernel. The modular architecture of the kernel is discussed and each major subsystem is fully explored. Topics covered include:

  • Scheduler implementation and behavior
  • The Solaris multi-threaded architecture
  • Multi-threaded synchronization primitives
  • The Solaris Virtual Memory implementation, including tools for memory measurement and analysis
  • The Virtual File System framework
  • Techniques for analyzing kernel behavior and structures with sar, vmstat, crash, and adb

Solaris Internals is an indispensable reference for kernel developers and is full of useful information for monitoring and optimizing Solaris systems. Whether you're a software developer, systems architect, system administrator, or performance analyst, you'll rely on it constantly.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (October 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130224960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130224965
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,719,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellect book on Solaris Internals October 17, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While taking the Sun Solaris Internals class, a pre-publication copy of this book was floating around the classroom. Of course I latched on and read as much of it as I could and was very impressed with the depth and amount of useful information contained in this book It simply is the best resource on Solaris Internals that I have ever read.
I finally received my own copy after 6 months of waiting, and am one happy camper. If you are a Solaris kernel developer, system admin, performance analysts, or kernel debugger, this is a must-have book. Almost all aspects of Solaris are covered with the exception of device drivers and low-level I/O.
My only complaints are the length of time it took to release the book, it does not cover Solaris 8, and page 108 is missing.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Excellent! December 4, 2000
Solaris Internals is a must read for system programmers and anyone interested in Operating System Design. The book is loaded with important information and splendidly organized into 4 major sections. Each section is well thought out and walks you from subject to subject, with serious technical depth. I found myself writing test programs throughout the book and am certain I've learned a great many things.
Part One deals with traps, interrupts, callouts, contexts, and lock primitives and goes where the Sparc/SparcV9 Architecture Manuals did not.
My favorite section was Part Two (Solaris Memory System), it left me with a clear understanding of _everything_ related to memory: HAT, TSB's, TLB, MMU, phys mem organization, page table hashing, paging, page scanner, address spaces and segments, seg drivers, slab allocator, watchpoints, multiple page sizing, memory managment strats, to name a few subjects...
Part Three deals with threads, processes, and IPC. It has a large and very useful section on the Kernel Dispatcher and scheduling.
Part Four deals with everything 'file system'; DNLC, pn lookups, mmap, direct io, aio, fs cache, vnodes, vfs, etc. It contains useful details of useful Solaris features, which are easy to overlook in system manual pages.
Finally, Solaris Internals contains many data structure diagrams, charts, and tables -- the diagrams alone are enough to make the book useful!
A well written and _useful_ book ;)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive and uncompromising exploration December 15, 2000
When my Sun SE showed up with a copy of "Solaris Internals," he immediately went to the top of my "favorite vendor contacts" list (right above the sales guy with the Starfire jackets). Mauro's "Solaris Internals" is a worthy addition to a distinguished line of Unix analyses (Goodheart and Cox; Vahalia; and, of course, Bach).
Mauro's "Sunworld" columns have gained fame for their clarity and brevity, often showing up as Sun technical whitepapers. "Internals" continues this tradition by providing straightforward discussions of hardware memory management, process dispatching, shared memory, OS caches (such as the much-maligned DNLC), and many other topics. This is the sort of information that you would otherwise have to infer from SunSolve bug reports (an exercise that makes litigating Florida election laws look trivial).
Those looking for cookbook solutions won't find this book to be of much help -- though Mauro often provides concrete advice amongst the abstractions, the book is dedicated largely to the sort of subtleties that dissertations are made of. Cockcroft and Wong are probably better choices for "in the trenches" sysadmin advice. But, if you're willing to invest the time and effort (and it's a *lot* of both!), Mauro's is as good an analysis as you will find.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An in depth analysis of Solaris architecture December 28, 2000
By none
There are no other books in print that can give you the specifics of Solaris in such detail as this one. If you are developing software for the Solaris platform this book will give you a greater understanding of how Solaris works internally. I know... Reading a book on OS Internals can be a bit dry at times, but this book is truly a great companion to Unix Internals, The Design of the 4.4 BSD Operating System, and The Design of the UNIX Operating System and belongs on the bookshelf of any self respecting UNIX geek.
Highest recommendation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Top Books on Solaris/UNIX Internals December 5, 2003
This book will teach you everything you want to know about Solaris. It is an excellent Operating Systems book and can be used as a reference or text. It digs into the guts of the kernel and intimately presents the fine details of Solaris operation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Peek into Solaris Kernel January 6, 2002
Very nicely written book. It's hard though sometimes to understand, and sometimes difficult to follow as the author does not sometimes follow a logical and gradual approach in explaining the topic, like in the case of VMM. However, the book is a must have for someone interested in knowing how Solaris works. If you are able to understand the book cover to cover, you can claim full understanding of Solaris Internals.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book on the guts of Solaris!! December 26, 2000
By A Customer
While I am not a programmer I loved this book on what makes Solaris tick. As a sysadmin the book covered more details on memory, filesystems and internals to the OS than anything I've seen before. Plus its a great brain teaser for Solaris stuff to stump interview candidates!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reference for sys-admins and programmers January 3, 2001
Not too dry to read like some other OS design books. Is for Solaris what "Inside Windows NT" and "Design and Implementation of BSD4.4" are for their respective OS's. Very eye opening as to why Solaris has no trouble scaling up to many processors, and throws in some useful, practical tricks to boot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must
This book is a must for anyone that would like to administer Sun Solaris or OpenSolaris systems. It explains in deep important aspects of the system, giving a wonderful insight and... Read more
Published on September 10, 2007 by Damian Wojslaw D-net
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual problem with your Solaris application?
If there's some weirdness going on with your Solaris app, this is the best place to look, short of reading the Solaris source code, for a diagnosis. Read more
Published on November 8, 2005 by Bruce Lokeinsky
2.0 out of 5 stars must-have for professionals but has problems
Ok so here's the deal. The author misleads you in order to "simplify" things. This is a disservice because as a system programmer you have to know the real behavior, not... Read more
Published on July 18, 2005 by Sarah F.
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT for sysadmins!
This is not sysadmins. Developers maybe. I wish I could

give 3.5 stars.
Published on December 22, 2004 by Mohammad Rashid
5.0 out of 5 stars Good refrence for who like to work in deep with Solaris
This book with me since 6 months and I'm reading it from time to time when I want to understand something internally inside Solaris. Read more
Published on March 27, 2002 by Firas Kamal
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reservations!
This is the ONLY book I've ever rated 5 stars. It has to be the most depth-filled book ever to come out of SMI (although Adrian Cockroft offers some competition in the tuning... Read more
Published on November 3, 2001 by Robert Howard Morrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Very recommended !
Excellent book.
This is very valuable book, provides concentrated hard to find information in clear form. All examples work! Read more
Published on September 6, 2001 by Alex Vox
5.0 out of 5 stars Well conceived, well written -- a fine reference.
Compared to the other books in this territory -- Vihalia's, John Graham's, Cockroft's, Cox & Goodheart, all of which I consider valuable reading -- this one is simply a... Read more
Published on September 5, 2001 by Michael Ernest
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview, but not deap enough
I really thought this book was a good overview, but lacked the depth of some of the other publishers examinations of the Unix operating system. Read more
Published on September 3, 2001 by THOMAS A VINCENT
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference on Solaris Internals! A must buy!
Don't have words to express the work done by these two! Great reference for Solaris SA's and programmers.
Published on July 9, 2001 by UMESH TALWALKAR
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