When we talk about creating custom OS images for MAAS, it feels like something that’s about to get really complex. But with packer-maas, that’s often not the case.
Let’s see if we can’t create and deploy a custom Ubuntu image with packer, just to see how easy it can be.
First, install MAAS
If we’re going to create custom images for MAAS, then first, we’ll need MAAS! You can use this tutorial
↗ to accomplish that, and get a feel for MAAS while you’re at it.
The next step is to install the tool
packer, which will do the heavy lifting for us. Packer is easily installed from its Debian package:
sudo apt install packer
This should install with no additional prompts.
We’re going to create a “custom” Ubuntu image for this build, so we’ll want to install a few dependencies. Enter the following commands. Don’t worry about any output between commands:
sudo apt install qemu-utils sudo apt install qemu-system sudo apt install ovmf sudo apt install cloud-image-utils
Get the packer templates
Packer uses “templates”, which are very much like scripts that build your custom image. You can obtain the packer templates by cloning the packer-maas github repository
↗, like this:
cd ~ mkdir -p tmp/git cd tmp/git git clone https://github.com/canonical/packer-maas.git
Make sure to pay attention to where the repository is cloned, in this case,
tmp/git in your home directory. The packer template in this cloned repository creates a Ubuntu AMD64 image for use with MAAS.
Build an Ubuntu image
Now that we have that, let’s build a custom Ubuntu image that we can deploy with MAAS. Use these commands to do that:
cd ~/tmp/git/packer-maas/ubuntu make custom-ubuntu-lvm.dd.gz
make will run for a couple of minutes before attempting to boot the image. While waiting for the image to boot, you will see terminal messages similar to this one for upwards of three to five minutes:
2022/05/09 15:50:46 packer-builder-qemu plugin: [DEBUG] handshaking with SSH 2022/05/09 15:50:50 packer-builder-qemu plugin: [DEBUG] SSH handshake err: ssh: handshake failed: ssh: unable to authenticate, attempted methods [none password], no supported methods remain 2022/05/09 15:50:50 packer-builder-qemu plugin: [DEBUG] Detected authentication error. Increasing handshake attempts.
That’s expected. Eventually, you should see a successful SSH connection:
2022/05/09 15:50:57 packer-builder-qemu plugin: [INFO] Attempting SSH connection to 127.0.0.1:2351... 2022/05/09 15:50:57 packer-builder-qemu plugin: [DEBUG] reconnecting to TCP connection for SSH 2022/05/09 15:50:57 packer-builder-qemu plugin: [DEBUG] handshaking with SSH 2022/05/09 15:51:17 packer-builder-qemu plugin: [DEBUG] handshake complete!
After this, a few more commands will run. Eventually the terminal screen will clear and show just one line, as follows:
That means you’ve successfully built the image! Just to prove it to ourselves, let’s take a couple of additional steps.
Validate the build
You can check the validity of the operation with a simple
ls command in
~/tmp/git/packer-maas/ubuntu (where you ran the
make command), like this:
stormrider@neuromancer:~/mnt/Dropbox/src/git/packer-maas/ubuntu$ ls custom-ubuntu-lvm.dd.gz packages seeds-lvm.iso user-data-lvm http packer_cache ubuntu-flat.json Makefile README.md ubuntu-lvm.json meta-data scripts user-data-flat
custom-ubuntu-lvm.dd.gz file? That’s our image, ready to try out.
Upload the image to MAAS
You can upload your newly-created image with the following command:
$ maas admin boot-resources create \ name='custom/ubuntu-raw' \ title='Ubuntu Custom RAW' \ architecture='amd64/generic' \ filetype='ddgz' \ content@=custom-ubuntu-lvm.dd.gz
Deploy the image in MAAS
What good is an image if we can’t deploy it? Pick one of the VMs you created in the last tutorial and deploy your new OS image to it. Then use a command like this one to see it running:
maas admin machines read | jq -r '(["HOSTNAME","SYSID","POWER","STATUS", "OWNER", "OS", "DISTRO"] | (., map(length*"-"))), (. | [.hostname, .system_id, .power_state, .status_name, .owner // "-", .osystem, .distro_series]) | @tsv' | column -t HOSTNAME SYSID POWER STATUS OWNER OS DISTRO -------- ----- ----- ------ ----- -- ------ valued-moth e86c7h on Deployed admin ubuntu focal open-gannet nk7x8y on Deployed admin custom ubuntu-raw
It’s the machine named
open-gannet in the listing above, but your machine name and $SYSID will be unique to your instance.
That’s all there is to it!
In a few simple steps, you’ve used packer to create a custom Ubuntu image, upload it to a running MAAS, and deploy it. There are many different custom images that can be deployed with MAAS – check this guide to learn more.