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Solaris: Recovering Space in /var Used for Saved Backout Data from Patches (Doc ID 1005804.1)

Last updated on FEBRUARY 28, 2022

Applies to:

Solaris Operating System - Version 8 to 10 1/13 U11 [Release 8.0 to 10.0]
Solaris x64/x86 Operating System - Version 8 6/00 U1 to 10 1/13 U11 [Release 8.0 to 10.0]
All Platforms


Please take great care to use this procedure in order to avoid unwanted side effects.
This procedure is considered as "last resort" to free up some space in /var.
It is recommended to try other possibilities first clearing space in /var - e.g. remove unused files/directories in /var/tmp etc.

** Make sure to have a full backup of the /var directory before starting this procedure **

This document tells you how to recover space in /var, which is used for patch backout data.

It is possible to experience space issues in /var as patch "undo" and "obsolete" data, which is stored for use during patch backout, builds up as more patches are applied to the system.

It is best to plan for this expansion of /var in advance,  and allocate plenty of free space to this partition. 

How much space to allocate to /var depends on a number of variables, such as how many patches are likely to be applied to the system, which is dependent on frequency of patching, strategy of which patches will be applied (all, sun alert, security only, etc.), products patched; whether the system has zones which implies 'pspool' space requirements, etc.

A figure of 10Gb to 20Gb or even more is not unreasonable.

In the Patch System Test lab, we currently have Solaris 10 systems with >7GB used in /var and this will continue to grow over the lifetime of Solaris 10.

If there is insufficient space in /var of an existing system, the recommended solution is to extend the size of the /var partition.
This can be accomplished by backing up /var, creating a bigger /var partition on another disk, restoring the /var backup onto that partition and then updating the /var entry in the /etc/vfstab file.
If /var is part of the "/" (root) partition, then relocating /var to a separate partition would be a good solution.
The relocation process is documented in (Doc ID 1011662.1).

Oracle strongly discourages manual modifications to the /var/sadm/pkg directory and its file structure.
That directory structure should only be modified by the Solaris patching and packaging utilities.
Corruption in this directory structure will prevent any future packaging or patching operations and zone installation and update operations.


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