oVirt Node 4.0 (Next)

A small introduction and overview

What is oVirt Node?

  • oVirt's Hypervisor OS for 8+ years
  • Minimal ready to use OS image
  • Appliance like
  • Installation/upgrade
  • Custom Installer TUI & Setup TUI
  • Easy to deploy, manage and upgrade

Known Issues

  • Installation
    • Limited
    • Different to use than Fedora/CentOS
  • Administration (TUI)
    • Limited (i.e. single NIC)
    • Showing its age

Known Issues

  • Customization
    • Custom ISO creation (Offline)
      • Adding 3rd party drivers is very limited
    • RPM installation at runtime (Online)
      • Adding 3rd party rpms is not possible
  • Hardware support
    • Affected by blacklisting

Root Causes

  • Read-only rootfs
    • Requires an intermediate persistency layer which is not transparent to applications
    • Requires custom SELinux rules
  • Blacklisting for minimiztaion
  • Specialized installer and administration UI


  • Align with Fedora/CentOS
    • wrt Installation, Administration, basic OS behavior
  • Retain a simple "appliance like" structure
  • Modernize how to interact with RHEV-H
  • Better customization
  • Under research: Configuration management friendly

Node Next

Core Changes

  • Adopt Anaconda for installation
  • Adopt Cockpit for administration
  • Provide a writable file-system


  • Let’s re-use Anaconda
    • Stock Anaconda provides all we need
      • EFI, iSCSI, multipath, kickstart support, …
  • New delivery format and storage layout
    • Small changes in the delivery format and storage layout to align with Anaconda’s capabilities
    • Different image format, delivered to the host through yum/RHN (not through Engine anymore)


  • Enforce a specific LVM usage pattern (imgbase)
    • Thinpool to hold read-only images
    • Writable snapshots for each image
    • One boot entry is auto-created for each snapshot
    • Special: /boot, /etc, and /var [1, 2]

Storage Layout

Storage implications

  • yum and rpm just work
    • But: Package database is reset between updates
    • Not recommended
  • The system can be configured like Fedora/CentOS
    • I.e.: Kernel tuning using sysctl, Custom boot arguments, …
    • Updates need special handling: Changes outside of /etc, /boot and /var need to be re-applied
    • Configuration management (ansible, puppet)


  • `yum update`
    • Delivery: Image in rpm through yum repositories
  • imgbased
    • Separates delivery image delivery from host-upgrade
  • Add image + snapshot + boot entry + sync
    • Sync /etc between snapshots
    • Number of upgrades is limited by disk size
    • Rollback: Select old entry, boot into old image

Special Paths

  • /boot
    • Not on LVM as grub2 can’t boot from thin snapshots
  • /etc
    • Synced from snapshot to the next
    • Upgrade and rollback are an easy A/B procedure
  • /var
    • Only moving forward

Local Administration

  • Move to Cockpit
    • Already available in Fedora/CentOS
    • Covers general OS aspects
  • Node specific functionality is added
    • Monitoring
    • Self Hosted-Engine Setup (planned)


  • A modern web interface to system information and configuration
  • Available on CentOS, and Fedora

Advantages of Cockpit

  • Already supports many of the things the legacy TUI used to
  • Easy to use. Intuitive.
  • Well-architected and extensible.

Current gaps in Cockpit

  • Support for some legacy TUI options: kdump, SNMP. RFEs filed
  • Configuration is less “up-front” than SSH or console login into legacy. Use of a web browser is necessary
  • However, SSH can be used if needed

Summary: The bright side

  • Better alignment with Fedora/CentOS
  • Improved hardware support
  • Better usability
  • Easier customization
  • Improved CVE handling
    • Individual package updates for very urgent CVEs (planned)

Summary: Compromises

  • Slightly larger on-disk footprint
  • Still large updates (whole image, no delta)
  • Not decided if an Installation ISO will be provided
    • But: Is possible for offline installation
    • Kickstart needs to be created manually
    • Semi-automated with script


oVirt Node 4.0 (Next)

By Fabian Deutsch

oVirt Node 4.0 (Next)

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