— modern ops stuff —
Failing to Upgrade Solaris 11.2
25 November 2015 // Solaris

Wishing to upgrade a Solaris 11.2 box to 11.3, I ran

# pkg update --accept

and went to do something else that also takes an extremely long time. As is the way of IPS, after a very long time, it failed, with no meaningful error message.

Having been in this situation before, I knew enough to

# export BE_PRINT_ERR=true

Obvious, right? Because who would ever want to print errors? And if they did, they certainly wouldn’t want to see them in a log file, or use a flag like --verbose.

Now, we’re getting somewhere. After another really long time:

be_mount_callback: failed to mount dataset rpool/ROOT/s11.2-2/var at
/tmp/.be.5god2i/var: directory is not empty
be_mount: failed to mount BE (s11.2-2) on /tmp/.be.8say3q
be_copy: failed to mount newly created BE

Alright, let’s try to manually create a new boot environment. All that does is a bit of ZFS snapshottery, so it shouldn’t take long.

# beadm create test
be_mount_callback: failed to mount dataset rpool/ROOT/test/var at
/tmp/.be.8say3q/var: directory is not empty
be_mount: failed to mount BE (test) on /tmp/.be.8say3q
be_copy: failed to mount newly created BE
be_copy: destroying partially created boot environment
be_get_uuid: failed to get uuid property from BE root dataset user
properties.
Unable to create test.
Unable to find message for error code: 1

beadm cleans up after itself, so you can’t go and investigate any of the things mentioned in the error message. But, the failure to mount /var seemed consistent, so I force-unmounted /var and had a look what was underneath it.

# zfs umount -f rpool/ROOT/s11.2-1/var
# find /var
/var/user
/var/user/root
/var/user/root/tpm
/var/user/root/tpm/userps
/var/user/root/tpm/userps/user.data

I’ve no idea where that came from, but after it had gone I was able to create a new test boot environment.

After that, the upgrade worked perfectly.

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