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Understanding the Service Access Facility

The Solaris Operating Environment uses the Service Access Facility (SAF) to register and monitor port activity for modems, terminals, and printers. SAF is new with the Solaris Operating Environment. SAF controls the resources that let users perform the following tasks.

  • Log in (either locally or remotely).

  • Access printers across the network.

  • Access files across the network.

SAF is a complex hierarchy of background processes and administrative commands. Explaining SAF in depth is beyond the scope of this book. The following sections provide a brief introduction to the elements of SAF. For complete information about SAF, see Solaris Advanced System Administrator's Guide, available from Sun Microsystems Press.

SMC Tools for SAF


You can use the SMC Devices and Hardware/Serial Ports tool to administer SAF for alphanumeric terminals and modems on a local system. See the Solaris Management Console Tools book published by Sun Microsystems Press and Prentice Hall for detailed instructions on how to use the Serial Ports tool.

Port Monitors and Service Access

A port monitor is a program that continuously watches for requests to log in or requests to access printers or files. When a port monitor detects a request, it sets the parameters that are needed to establish communication between the operating system and the device that is requesting service. The port monitor then transfers control to other processes that provide the services needed.

The Solaris Operating Environment provides two types of port monitors: listen and ttymon. The listen port monitor controls access to network services, fielding remote print and file system requests. The ttymon port monitor controls access to login services. You need to set up a ttymon port monitor (using SAF) to process login requests from modems and alphanumeric terminals.

NOTE. The ttymon port monitor replaces the SunOS 4.x getty port monitor. A single ttymon can replace multiple gettys.

SAF Control of Port Monitors and Services

You use three SAF commands to administer modems and alphanumeric terminals: sacadm, pmadm, and ttyadm.

The sacadm command adds and removes port monitors. This command is your main link with the Service Access Controller (SAC) and its administrative file (/etc/saf/_sactab).

The pmadm command adds or removes a service and associates a service with a particular port monitor.

The ttyadm command formats information for inclusion in various SAF administrative files. A ttyadm command often is embedded within a sacadm or pmadm command to provide some of the data needed by those commands.

Table 77 lists the commands associated with specific SAF functions. See the manual pages for more information about each command.

Table 77. SAF Functions and Associated Commands




Overall administration


Command for adding and removing port monitors.

Service Access Controller


SAF's master program.

Port monitors


Monitor serial port login requests.



Monitor requests for network services.

Port monitor service administrator


Command for controlling port monitors' services.


logins; remote procedure calls; other

Services to which SAF provides access.

Setting Up Printer Port Monitors

If you use the Printer Manager (available starting with SunOS 5.1), you do not need to configure SAF to set up printer port monitors. The Printer Manager automatically sets up the port monitors as part of the printer configuration process.

See "Solaris Print Manager" on page 389 for information on how to add printers.

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