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If I have a VMware virtual machine running Solaris 11 Express originally installed on an old 32-bit ESXi 3.5 host, if I transfer the VM to a 64-bit ESXi 5.0 host, will Solaris upon next boot detect that it is in a 64-bit machine and boot the 64-bit kernel, or am I stuck with the 32-bit kernel?

The 32-bit kernel imposed a 1TB limit on the size of (what the Solaris guest thinks are) physical disks. If the VM is moved onto a 64-bit host, can this limitation be removed for newly attached disks? (I'm not worried about the disks already installed into the guest.) Or am I stuck having to do a fresh OS install on a 64-bit host?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Solaris should detect the CPU features on boot, you could always check if you are running 32 or 64 bit with isainfo -b. ZFS can be configured to automatically expand a pool in case it sees bigger drives than it previously used. This can be useful if you want to upgrade the storage capacity in a server running either a mirror or RAIDZ(2). Just replace one drive in the pool with a larger one, and wait for it to complete the resilver process, the replace the next drive and so on. When all drives has been replaced with larger ones, the pool will automatically grow in size and make the extra space available. The option to toggle this setting is called autoexpand, and is set on the zpool.

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Thanks for the tips. I ended up running a test to make sure it would work, and it pretty much did. isainfo -b reports 64 and I was able to use disks over 1TB, so evidently all Solaris 11 installations include the 64-bit kernel even when installed to 32-bit hosts. VMware did complain about the VMware Tools version being unsupported on the host (the installed version was from ESXi 3.5), but that's a minor issue. – Kevin Jan 19 '13 at 16:31
Solaris 11 Express always installed both 32-bit & 64-bit kernels. Solaris 11.0 (aka Solaris 11 11/11) and later dropped the 32-bit kernel and only have the 64-bit kernel now. – alanc Aug 10 '13 at 16:04

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