Installing Ironic Python Agent

Image Builders

Unlike most other python software, you must build or download an IPA ramdisk image before use. This is because it’s not installed in an operating system, but instead is run from within a ramdisk.

Two kinds of images are published on every commit from every branch of IPA:

If you need to build your own image, use the tools from the ironic-python-agent-builder project.

IPA Flags

You can pass a variety of flags to IPA on start up to change its behavior.

  • --standalone: This disables the initial lookup and heartbeats to Ironic. Lookup sends some information to Ironic in order to determine Ironic’s node UUID for the node. Heartbeat sends periodic pings to Ironic to tell Ironic the node is still running. These heartbeats also trigger parts of the deploy and cleaning cycles. This flag is useful for debugging IPA without an Ironic installation.

  • --debug: Enables debug logging.


Client Configuration

During its operation IPA makes HTTP requests to a number of other services, currently including

  • ironic for lookup/heartbeats

  • ironic-inspector to publish results of introspection

  • HTTP image storage to fetch the user image to be written to the node’s disk (Object storage service or other service storing user images when ironic is running in a standalone mode)

When these services are configured to require TLS-encrypted connections, IPA can be configured to either properly use such secure connections or ignore verifying such TLS connections.

Configuration mostly happens in the IPA config file (default is /etc/ironic_python_agent/ironic_python_agent.conf, can also be any file placed in /etc/ironic-python-agent.d) or command line arguments passed to ironic-python-agent, and it is possible to provide some options via kernel command line arguments instead.

Available options in the [DEFAULT] config file section are:


Whether to verify server TLS certificates. When not specified explicitly, defaults to the value of ipa-insecure kernel command line argument (converted to boolean). The default for this kernel command line argument is taken to be False. Overriding it to True by adding ipa-insecure=1 to the value of [pxe]pxe_append_params in ironic configuration file will allow running the same IPA-based deploy ramdisk in a CI-like environment when services are using secure HTTPS endpoints with self-signed certificates without adding a custom CA file to the deploy ramdisk (see below).


Path to the PEM encoded Certificate Authority file. When not specified, available system-wide list of CAs will be used to verify server certificates. Thus in order to use IPA with HTTPS endpoints of other services in a secure fashion (with insecure option being False, see above), operators should either ensure that certificates of those services are verifiable by root CAs present in the deploy ramdisk, or add a custom CA file to the ramdisk and set this IPA option to point to this file at ramdisk build time.


Path to PEM encoded client certificate cert file. This option must be used when services are configured to require client certificates on SSL-secured connections. This cert file must be added to the deploy ramdisk and path to it specified for IPA via this option at ramdisk build time. This option has an effect only when the keyfile option is also set.


Path to PEM encoded client certificate key file. This option must be used when services are configured to require client certificates on SSL-secured connections. This key file must be added to the deploy ramdisk and path to it specified for IPA via this option at ramdisk build time. This option has an effect only when the certfile option is also set.

Currently a single set of cafile/certfile/keyfile options is used for all HTTP requests to the other services.

Server Configuration

Starting with the Victoria release, the API provided by ironic-python-agent can also be secured via TLS. There are two options to do that:

Automatic TLS

This option is enabled by default if no other options are enabled. If ironic supports API version 1.68, a new self-signed TLS certificate will be generated in runtime and sent to ironic on heartbeat.

No special configuration is required on the ironic side.

Manual TLS

If you need to provide your own TLS certificate, you can configure it when building an image. Set the following options in the ironic-python-agent configuration file:

listen_tls = True
advertise_protocol = https
# Disable automatic TLS.
enable_auto_tls = False

# Certificate and private key file paths (on the ramdisk).
cert_file = /path/to/certificate
# The private key must not be password-protected!
key_file = /path/to/private/key
# Optionally, authenticate connecting clients (i.e. ironic conductors).
#ca_file = /path/to/ca

If using DIB to build the ramdisk, use the ironic-python-agent-tls element to automate these steps.

On the ironic side you have two options:

  • If the certificate can pass host validation, i.e. contains the correct host name or IP address of the agent, add its path to each node with:

    baremetal node set <node> --driver-info agent_verify_ca=/path/to/ca/or/certificate
  • Usually, the IP address of the agent is not known in advance, so you need to disable host validation instead:

    baremetal node set <node> --driver-info agent_verify_ca=False

Hardware Managers

Hardware managers are how IPA supports multiple different hardware platforms in the same agent. Any action performed on hardware can be overridden by deploying your own hardware manager.

Custom hardware managers allow you to include hardware-specific tools, files and cleaning steps in the Ironic Python Agent. For example, you could include a BIOS flashing utility and BIOS file in a custom ramdisk. Your custom hardware manager could expose a cleaning step that calls the flashing utility and flashes the packaged BIOS version (or even download it from a tested web server).

Operators wishing to build their own hardware managers should reference the documentation available at Hardware Managers.