Booting a Ramdisk or an ISO

Ironic supports booting a user provided ramdisk or an ISO image (starting with the Victoria release) instead of deploying a node. Most commonly this is performed when an instance is booted via PXE, iPXE or Virtual Media, with the only local storage contents being those in memory. It is suported by pxe, ipxe, redfish-virtual-media and ilo-virtual-media boot interfaces.

Configuration

Ramdisk/ISO boot requires using the ramdisk deploy interface. As with most non-default interfaces, it must be enabled and set for a node to be utilized:

[DEFAULT]
...
enabled_deploy_interfaces = iscsi,direct,ramdisk
...

Once enabled and the conductor(s) have been restarted, the interface can be set upon creation of a new node:

baremetal node create --driver ipmi \
    --deploy-interface ramdisk \
    --boot-interface ipxe

or update an existing node:

baremetal node set <NODE> --deploy-interface ramdisk

Using virtual media:

baremetal node create --driver redfish \
    --deploy-interface ramdisk \
    --boot-interface redfish-virtual-media

Booting an ISO

The ramdisk deploy interface can also be used to boot an ISO image. For example,

baremetal node set <NODE> \
    --instance-info boot_iso=http://path/to/boot.iso
baremetal node deploy <NODE>

Limitations

The intended use case is for advanced scientific and ephemeral workloads where the step of writing an image to the local storage is not required or desired. As such, this interface does come with several caveats:

  • Configuration drives are not supported.

  • Disk image contents are not written to the bare metal node.

  • Users and Operators who intend to leverage this interface should expect to leverage a metadata service, custom ramdisk images, or the instance_info/ramdisk_kernel_arguments parameter to add options to the kernel boot command line.

  • When using PXE/iPXE boot, bare metal nodes must continue to have network access to PXE and iPXE network resources. This is contrary to most tenant networking enabled configurations where this access is restricted to the provisioning and cleaning networks

  • As with all deployment interfaces, automatic cleaning of the node will still occur with the contents of any local storage being wiped between deployments.