About the machine lifecycle

I have two Dell servers. I’ve set up one server with MAAS and I’m trying to install Ubuntu on the other server. After repeated ARP failures, I did a little bit of investigation and found that a DHCP service is running somewhere that I don’t have control over right now. Since both servers have multiple NIC ports, I decided to try connecting the two servers directly over Ethernet. On the test server (that I want to install Ubuntu on), I’ve configured the second port to do PXE boot and I’ve also configured this machine in MAAS to use this NIC. In this environment I”m able to commission the server in part, but then I have some problems:

1. The first problem is the server shuts down after provisioning. I did a little research in this forum and found that this seems to be the default behavior of the scripts. 
2. If I manually restart the server from iDRAC, the server will start booting from the network again, even though I’ve verified that the boot order says to boot from disk first. Did installation fail? The server is using BIOS boot (though I don’t think it matters).
3. The third problem is I don’t know the IP of the server. If I go to Machine | Network, select the first interface, Edit Physical, I can't select a subnet. I need to use a static IP. 
4. Afterwards, how can I SSH to the server? I’ve uploaded my SSH public key but have no idea to configure the machine so that the key is used. Later on if there are multiple SSH keys, I don’t want all keys to be added either.

Hi, you have to commission the machine, assign the static IP to your interfaces and then deploy the machine. At every boot the machine will anyway try to PXE but MAAS will tell the machine to boot from the disk

I seem to be missing something. Because whenever I commission a machine I get a message saying Machine must be connected to a network. The option to Allocate the machine is grayed out. This problem seems to be happening over and over again. If I Abort I can go back and configure the static IP but whenever I commission the machine again I get the same error message. Machine must be connected to a network. It’s frustrating!

Then you have to configure the interface of the first server accordingly, otherwise MAAS can’t setup the DHCP server properly

During commissioning you can’t assign a static IP for a machine. The machine must PXE and get an IP from a DHCP server and start interacting with MAAS for the boot process. If you really need to assign a static IP to the machine you could use a DHCP snippet.

What maas version are you using? There was a bug that has not been fixed on 3.2 as it’s out of maintenance window

I’m using MAAS 3.4.2.

After pulling my hair out today (only figuratively), I tried searching for YouTube videos and tried to commission the server just following their steps. I didn’t create the machine beforehand and I just used the NIC port attached to the network that already has a DHCP service running but also has a route to the outside network. Basically, I just PXE-booted the server, let MAAS discover it, and after it was initially shut down I changed the hostname and IP address. And somehow this worked! Coming from other software where I need to pre-configure the machine before I even PXE boot, this was very unintuitive.

I’m going to try this one more time, and then I think I need to figure out how to customize the installation.

The notion of commissioning and deploying being separate tasks has been confusing to me. The UI also doesn’t do a good job of guiding me through the process since I can click in many places, but in fact, there are specific steps that needed to be done in order.

Here is what works for me right now:

  • Boot the server and put it in PXE mode. MAAS will gather information about the server, add it to its inventory of machines, and finally shut the server down.
  • Once the server shuts down, go to network, change an interface from Unconfigured to Auto Assign, then click Commission. The server should boot up, do some work, and shut down.
  • In MAAS, change the hostname and specify the IP and click Deploy. The OS will be installed during this phase.

You can read more about the machine lifecycle in the docs https://maas.io/docs/about-the-machine-life-cycle

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