smf(5) Standards, Environments, and Macros smf(5)
smf - service management facility
The Solaris service management facility defines a programming model for providing persistently running applications called services. The
facility also provides the infrastructure in which to run services. A service can represent a running application, the software state of a
device, or a set of other services. Services are represented in the framework by service instance objects, which are children of service
objects. Instance objects can inherit or override the configuration of the parent service object, which allows multiple service instances
to share configuration information. All service and instance objects are contained in a scope that represents a collection of configuration
information. The configuration of the local Solaris instance is called the "localhost" scope, and is the only currently supported scope.
Each service instance is named with a fault management resource identifier (FMRI) with the scheme svc:. For example, the syslogd(1M) daemon
started at system startup is the default service instance named:
Many commands also allow FMRI abbreviations. See the svcs(1) man page for one such example.
In the above example, 'default' is the name of the instance and 'system/system-log' is the service name. Service names can comprise multi-
ple components separated by slashes (/). All components, except the last, compose the category of the service. Site-specific services
should be named with a category beginning with 'site'.
A service instance is either enabled or disabled. All services can be enabled or disabled with the svcadm(1M) command.
The list of managed service instances on a system can be displayed with the svcs(1) command.
Service instances can have dependencies on a set of entities which can include services and files. Dependencies govern when the service is
started and automatically stopped. When the dependencies of an enabled service are not satisfied, the service is kept in the offline state.
When its dependencies are satisfied, the service is started. If the start is successful, the service is transitioned to the online state.
Whether a dependency is satisfied is determined by its grouping:
require_all Satisfied when all cited services are running (online or degraded), or when all indicated files are present.
require_any Satisfied when one of the cited services is running (online or degraded), or when at least one of the indicated files is
optional_all Satisfied if the cited services are running (online or degraded) or do not run without administrative action (disabled,
maintenance, not present, or offline waiting for dependencies which do not start without administrative action).
exclude_all Satisfied when all of the cited services are disabled, in the maintenance state, or when cited services or files are not
Once running (online or degraded), if a service cited by a require_all, require_any, or optional_all dependency is stopped or refreshed,
the SMF considers why the service was stopped and the restart_on attribute of the dependency to decide whether to stop the service.
| restart_on value
event | none error restart refresh
stop due to error | no yes yes yes
non-error stop | no no yes yes
refresh | no no no yes
A service is considered to have stopped due to an error if the service has encountered a hardware error or a software error such as a core
dump. For exclude_all dependencies, the service is stopped if the cited service is started and the restart_on attribute is not none.
The dependencies on a service can be listed with svcs(1) or svccfg(1M), and modified with svccfg(1M).
Each service is managed by a restarter. The master restarter, svc.startd(1M) manages states for the entire set of service instances and
their dependencies. The master restarter acts on behalf of its services and on delegated restarters that can provide specific execution
environments for certain application classes. For instance, inetd(1M) is a delegated restarter that provides its service instances with an
initial environment composed of a network connection as input and output file descriptors. Each instance delegated to inetd(1M) is in the
online state. While the daemon of a particular instance might not be running, the instance is available to run.
As dependencies are satisfied when instances move to the online state, svc.startd(1M) invokes start methods of other instances or directs
the delegated restarter to do so. These operations might overlap.
The current set of services and associated restarters can be examined using svcs(1). A description of the common configuration used by all
restarters is given in smf_restarter(5).
Each service or service instance must define a set of methods that start, stop, and, optionally, refresh the service. See smf_method(5) for
a more complete description of the method conventions for svc.startd(1M) and similar fork(2)-exec(2) restarters.
Administrative methods, such as for the capture of legacy configuration information into the repository, are discussed on the svccfg(1M)
The methods for a service can be listed and modified using the svccfg(1M) command.
Each service instance is always in a well-defined state based on its dependencies, the results of the execution of its methods, and its
potential contracts events. The following states are defined:
UNINITIALIZED This is the initial state for all service instances. Instances are moved to maintenance, offline, or a disabled state upon
evaluation by svc.startd(1M) or the appropriate restarter.
OFFLINE The instance is enabled, but not yet running or available to run. If restarter execution of the service start method or
the equivalent method is successful, the instance moves to the online state. Failures might lead to a degraded or mainte-
nance state. Administrative action can lead to the uninitialized state.
ONLINE The instance is enabled and running or is available to run. The specific nature of the online state is application-model
specific and is defined by the restarter responsible for the service instance. Online is the expected operating state for
a properly configured service with all dependencies satisfied. Failures of the instance can lead to a degraded or mainte-
nance state. Failures of services on which the instance depends can lead to offline or degraded states.
DEGRADED The instance is enabled and running or available to run. The instance, however, is functioning at a limited capacity in
comparison to normal operation. Failures of the instance can lead to the maintenance state. Failures of services on which
the instance depends can lead to offline or degraded states. Restoration of capacity should result in a transition to the
MAINTENANCE The instance is enabled, but not able to run. Administrative action (through svcadm clear) is required to move the
instance out of the maintenance state. The maintenance state might be a temporarily reached state if an administrative
operation is underway.
DISABLED The instance is disabled. Enabling the service results in a transition to the offline state and eventually to the online
state with all dependencies satisfied.
LEGACY-RUN This state represents a legacy instance that is not managed by the service management facility. Instances in this state
have been started at some point, but might or might not be running. Instances can only be observed using the facility and
are not transferred into other states.
States can also have transitions that result in a return to the originating state.
Properties and Property Groups
The dependencies, methods, delegated restarter, and instance state mentioned above are represented as properties or property groups of the
service or service instance. A service or service instance has an arbitrary number of property groups in which to store application data.
Using property groups in this way allows the configuration of the application to derive the attributes that the repository provides for all
data in the facility. The application can also use the appropriate subset of the service_bundle(4) DTD to represent its configuration data
within the framework.
Property lookups are composed. If a property group-property combination is not found on the service instance, most commands and the high-
level interfaces of libscf(3LIB) search for the same property group-property combination on the service that contains that instance. This
allows common configuration among service instances to be shared. Composition can be viewed as an inheritance relationship between the ser-
vice instance and its parent service.
Properties are protected from modification by unauthorized processes. See smf_security(5).
General Property Group
The general property group applies to all service instances. It includes the following properties:
enabled (boolean) Specifies whether the instance is enabled. If this property is not present on an instance, SMF does not tell the
instance's restarter about the existence of the restarter.
restarter (fmri) The restarter for this service. See the Restarters section for more information. If this property is unset, the
default system restarter is used.
Historical data about each instance in the repository is maintained by the service management facility. This data is made available as
read-only snapshots for administrative inspection and rollback. The following set of snapshot types might be available:
initial Initial configuration of the instance created by the administrator or produced during package installation.
last_import Configuration as prescribed by the manifest of the service that is taken during svccfg(1M) import operation. This snapshot
provides a baseline for determining property customization.
previous Current configuration captured when an administrative undo operation is performed.
running The running configuration of the instance.
start Configuration captured during a successful transition to the online state.
The svccfg(1M) command can be used to interact with snapshots.
Special Property Groups
Some property groups are marked as "non-persistent". These groups are not backed up in snapshots and their content is cleared during system
boot. Such groups generally hold an active program state which does not need to survive system restart.
The current state of each service instance, as well as the properties associated with services and service instances, is stored in a system
repository managed by svc.configd(1M). This repository is transactional and able to provide previous versions of properties and property
groups associated with each service or service instance.
The repository for service management facility data is managed by svc.configd(1M).
Service Bundles, Manifests, and Profiles
The information associated with a service or service instance that is stored in the configuration repository can be exported as XML-based
files. Such XML files, known as service bundles, are portable and suitable for backup purposes. Service bundles are classified as one of
the following types:
manifests Files that contain the complete set of properties associated with a specific set of services or service instances.
profiles Files that contain a set of service instances and values for the enabled property (type boolean in the general property group)
on each instance.
Service bundles can be imported or exported from a repository using the svccfg(1M) command. See service_bundle(4) for a description of the
service bundle file format with guidelines for authoring service bundles.
A service archive is an XML file that contains the description and persistent properties of every service in the repository, excluding
transient properties such as service state. This service archive is basically a 'svccfg export' for every service which is not limited to
An smf milestone is a service that aggregates a multiple service dependencies. Usually, a milestone does nothing useful itself, but
declares a specific state of system-readiness on which other services can depend. One example is the name-services milestone, which simply
depends upon the currently enabled name services.
Legacy Startup Scripts
Startup programs in the /etc/rc?.d directories are executed as part of the corresponding run-level milestone:
Execution of each program is represented as a reduced-functionality service instance named by the program's path. These instances are held
in a special legacy-run state.
These instances do not have an enabled property (type boolean in the general property group) and, generally, cannot be manipulated with the
svcadm(1M) command. No error diagnosis or restart is done for these programs.
svcs(1), inetd(1M), svcadm(1M), svccfg(1M), svc.configd(1M), svc.startd(1M), exec(2), fork(2), libscf(3LIB), strftime(3C), contract(4),
service_bundle(4), smf_bootstrap(5), smf_method(5), smf_restarter(5), smf_security(5)
SunOS 5.11 13 May 2008 smf(5)