Alternatives to cloud-init (was Re: [DISCUSS] Cloud and Server Workgroup relationship)

Michael McGrath mmcgrath at
Thu Oct 29 13:33:52 UTC 2015

On Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 8:30 AM, Josh Boyer <jwboyer at> wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 9:16 AM, Joe Brockmeier <jzb at> wrote:
>> On 10/28/2015 08:21 PM, Josh Boyer wrote:
>>> The *could* be the same thing,
>>> except cloud-init is terrible and I hate it and if that was the single
>>> offering we had for some kind of C&S WG I would cry.  I hate it
>>> because it is ridiculous to use in a non-cloud environment, and Server
>>> very much has that as part of it's reach.
>> Forking this thread briefly because I think this deserves its own
>> discussion.
> I apologize if my rambling wasn't clear on this point.  Hopefully this
> tangent is short-lived.
>> Is your objection primarily to the concept of cloud-init or the
>> implementation? If it's the concept, not much we can help with there. If
>> it's the implementation...
> Well, neither really.  Admittedly my use of the Cloud images, and
> therefore cloud-init, was in attempted to boot it in a VM and log in
> more like a traditional install for simple test purposes.  That didn't
> work and getting it to the point where I could log in required running
> some virt-tool thing to modify the image offline.  So in the context
> of "Server & Cloud", where people expect to be able to log in after an
> install in many cases, cloud-init makes it really hard and is
> ill-suited to that kind of environment.
> Specific to cloud environments, I have no idea if the hassle of
> getting it setup is the norm or worthwhile.  I've been told it is, and
> I can see where having the infrastructure setup to provide the
> credentials already in place might make the hassle much less
> problematic.
> (It is also quite possible I hit a bug in the cloud image.  I tried
> running the local setup to provide cloud-init with ssh keys and it
> didn't work, hence the virt-tool thing.  It has been a while since I
> tried again.)
>> We've talked about replacing cloud-init a few times in the past, but
>> there are two objections:
>> - cloud-init is "standard" and we have an uphill marketing battle to get
>> our image adopted with something else.
>> - lack of a great alternative.
> I completely believe both of these.
>> Mike has talked about a "rich boot process" previously, and I wonder if
>> we're ready to start working on that?
> I'm not sure what "rich boot process" means.  I'd immediately
> interpret that as "a real init process" which to me means using
> systemd.  Somehow I don't think that's what you're thinking... :)

If you hate cloud-init, then you'll love rich boot.  Which is
essentially a handoff at boot time from cloud-init to Ansible for
further configuration.


>> Also, one of the CentOS GSoC projects was "Flamingo" "a lightweight
>> contextualization tool that aims to handle initialization of cloud
>> instances." [1] Maybe this is something we could look at for F24? CC'ing
>> Tamer Tas, the student who worked on that. (It's targeted at being a
>> cloud-init replacement for Atomic, so...)
>> [1]
> That might be nice for "get rid of python" reasons.  If it had
> cloud-init compatibility that would be even better, since people
> wouldn't need to migrate their provisioning infrastructure.
> josh

Mike McGrath | mmcgrath at | (312) 660-3547
Atomic | Red Hat Chicago |

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