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This seems like a simple thing to do, if it would only work as documented. However, it doesn't work thanks to some bug in the zoneadm move process. Go figure. Firstly let me show what the trivial documentation says :


Well that says the command to move a non-global zone from one place to another all on the same server is just

zoneadm -z zonename move /some/new/pathname

That looks pretty darn trivial ... however if the non-global zone has any contents in it where a directory has special ( not entirely trivial ascii ) characters in the filenames then the process blows up. Please allow me to demonstrate :

Step one : shut down the zone. Ensured it was halted thus :

# zlogin -C -e\@ z_001
[Connected to zone 'z_001' console]

node002 console login: root
Last login: Sun Jul 21 05:12:17 on console
Jul 25 17:50:06 node002 login: ROOT LOGIN /dev/console
Oracle Corporation      SunOS 5.10      Generic Patch   January 2005
node002-sparc-SunOS5.10 # shutdown -g0 -y -i0    

Shutdown started.    Thu Jul 25 17:51:06 GMT 2013

Changing to init state 0 - please wait
Broadcast Message from root (console) on node002 Thu Jul 25 17:51:07...
Log off now or risk your files being damaged

node002-sparc-SunOS5.10 # showmount: node002: RPC: Program not registered
svc.startd: The system is coming down.  Please wait.
svc.startd: 70 system services are now being stopped.
syslogd: /dev/sysmsg: I/O error
svc.startd: The system is down.

[NOTICE: Zone halted]
[Connection to zone 'z_001' console closed]

Great .. now comes the zoneadm move :

# zoneadm -z z_001 move /zones/z_001
Moving across file-systems; copying zonepath /zone/z_001...zoneadm: zone 'z_001': 'copy' failed with exit code 5.

The copy failed.
More information can be found in /var/log/zoneAAAcwaOwX

Cleaning up zonepath /zones/z_001...


Failed? Let's see why :

# cat  /var/log/zoneAAAcwaOwX
cpio: Error with fstatat() of "", errno 2, No such file or directory
cpio: Error with fstatat() of "root/usr/local/build/automake-1.13_SunOS5.10_sparcv9/t/instspc.dir/a", errno 2, No such file or directory
cpio: Cannot open directory b, errno 2, No such file or directory
cpio: Error with fstatat() of "root/usr/local/build/automake-1.13_SunOS5.10_sparcv9/t/instspc.dir/a", errno 2, No such file or directory
cpio: Error with fstatat() of "b", errno 2, No such file or directory
62026208 blocks
5 error(s)

Failed because cpio ( the thing being used by zoneadm move ) can not handle special characters. If one downloads the GNU automake source tarball and does a configure and then make with a make check you will see piles of special characters inside the testsuite area. This will cause cpio on Solaris to blow up.

So I hope there is some Solaris guru that can confirm two things for me :

1) the only zone config file I need to edit is in /etc/zones
2) I can edit that one file myself and do the move of the zone 
    filesystem myself also. 

Am I correct ?

EDIT ---- this is the directory and the characters that cpio can not handle correctly :

# ls -lapb /zone/z_001/root/usr/local/build/automake-1.13_SunOS5.10_sparcv9/t/instspc.dir
total 1398
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 `/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          2 Dec 31  2012 \012/
drwxr-xr-x  64 gnuism  other         74 Dec 31  2012 ./
drwxr-xr-x  42 gnuism  other       4045 Dec 31  2012 ../
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 '/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 "/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 $/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 \/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 &/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 #/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 a\012b/
-rw-r--r--   1 gnuism  other      38455 Dec 31  2012 aclocal.m4
lrwxrwxrwx   1 gnuism  other         59 Dec 31  2012 ar-lib -> /usr/local/build/automake-1.13_SunOS5.10_sparcv9/lib/ar-lib
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          7 Dec 31  2012 autom4te.cache/
drwxr-xr-x   3 gnuism  other          6 Dec 31  2012 build-a_lf_b/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          2 Dec 31  2012 dest-tab/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          2 Dec 31  2012 dest-tilde/
-rwxr-xr-x   1 gnuism  other      13997 Dec 31  2012 install-sh
-rw-r--r--   1 gnuism  other       1395 Dec 31  2012 Makefile.am
-rw-r--r--   1 gnuism  other      39656 Dec 31  2012 Makefile.in
-rwxr-xr-x   1 gnuism  other       6873 Dec 31  2012 missing
-rw-r--r--   1 gnuism  other         49 Dec 31  2012 source.c
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          8 Dec 31  2012 sub/
drwxr-xr-x   2 gnuism  other          3 Dec 31  2012 @&t@/

A note from the OP: too bad the OpenSolaris project was killed by Oracle as we could easly have seen how zoneadm makes the call to use cpio and changed it to use something far far batter for the task. I solved this problem by doing the move myself and used "star" or POSIX Standard TAR from Jörg Schilling to do the zonemove.

Solution : 

    1 - Manually do the copy with a better tool from the source to dest. 

        1.1 - get sources for star from ftp://ftp.berlios.de/pub/schily/
        1.2 - extract them
        1.3 - cd into the extracted star sources and run /usr/xpg4/bin/make
        1.4 - once that ends just run /usr/xpg4/bin/make install 

        you now have star and it can handle anything that lives on a filesystem

        1.5 - do a copy from source to dest path with star 

            /opt/schily/bin/star -copy -p -acl -sparse -dump -C source . dest

    2 - cd to /etc/zones and edit the zonefile xml to use the new zonepath

    3 - edit the "index" file in /etc/zones to use the new zonepath

Special Detail to note : 

    1 - if you edit the zone XML file but do not edit the zonepath in the 
        index file you will get a warning message when you try to boot the zone : 

        # zoneadm -z z_001 boot 
        The XML repository has zonepath '/z/001',
        but the index file has zonepath '/zone/z_001'.
        These must match, so fix the incorrect entry.
share|improve this question
What are the special characters cpio fails to handle ? –  jlliagre Jul 26 '13 at 18:14
Could you not move the "solution" part into an answer and accept that? –  hlovdal Dec 21 '13 at 23:35

1 Answer 1

Alternative: Copy via ZFS instead then change the zone path.

Using your parameters:

  • Zone name: z_001
  • Old zpool name: zone
  • New zpool name: zones
  • Zone lives on ZFS filesystem zone/z_001

We have the following procedure:

  1. Shut down the zone.
  2. Take a snapshot of its ZFS filesystem: zfs snapshot zone/z_001@premove
  3. Transfer the snapshot: zfs send zone/z_001@premove | zfs recv zones/z_001
  4. Detach the zone: zoneadm -z z_001 detach
  5. Change the path: zonecfg -z z_001 set zonepath=/zones/z_001
  6. Reattach the zone: zoneadm -z z_001 attach
  7. Boot the zone.

Steps 4-6 change /etc/zones/index for you.

You don't have to shut down the zone first; you can take and send the snapshot, then shut it down, and take and send a second snapshot which will be incremental and much smaller and quicker: zfs send -i zone/z_001@premove zone/z_001@snap2 | zfs recv zones/z_001

You'll end up with a snapshot on the destination zpool too, which you can keep or delete as you will.

share|improve this answer
At this point Solaris is a dead technology that is only being kept around until we can kick it out the door anyways, so really, moving the zones really becomes moving to vSphere and Red Hat. Therefore this is a non issue. –  paul lanken Jan 21 '14 at 17:14

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