Deploy machines

Acquire     Deploy     

Once a node has been commissioned (see Commission nodes) the next logical step is to deploy it. Deploying a node means, effectively, to install an operating system on it.

The agent that triggers deployment may vary. For instance, if the nodes are destined to run complex, inter-related services that scale up or down frequently, like a “cloud” resource, then Juju is the recommended deployment agent. Juju will also install and configure services on the deployed nodes. If you want to use MAAS to install a base operating system and work on the machines manually, then you can deploy a node directly with MAAS.

Nodes deployed with MAAS will also be ready to accept connections via SSH, to the ‘ubuntu’ user account. This connection assumes that you have imported an SSH key has to your MAAS account. This is explained in SSH keys.

Juju adds SSH keys to machines under its control.

MAAS also supports node customisation with a process called “preseeding.” For more information about customising nodes, see Custom node setup.


Acquiring (“allocating”) a node reserves the node for the exclusive use of the acquiring process. The node is no longer available to any other process, including another MAAS instance, or a process such as Juju.

Before deploying a node, MAAS must acquire it (status ‘Allocated’). When deploying from the web UI, this action is performed automatically (and invisibly).

The action remains useful in terms of reserving a node for later use. To acquire a node explicitly select the node and apply the ‘Acquire’ action.

See MAAS CLI for how to acquire a node with the CLI.


To deploy, you must configure the underlying machine to netboot. Such a machine will undergo the following process:

  1. DHCP server is contacted
  2. kernel and initrd are received over TFTP
  3. machine boots
  4. initrd mounts a Squashfs image ephemerally over HTTP
  5. cloud-init triggers deployment process
    1. curtin installation script runs
    2. Squashfs image (same as above) is placed on disk

The curtin installer uses an image-based method and is now the only installer used by MAAS. Although the older debian-installer method has been removed, curtin continues to support preseed files. For more information about customising nodes see Custom node setup.

Before deploying, you should:

  • review and possibly set the Ubuntu kernels and the Kernel boot options that will get used by deployed nodes.
  • ensure any pertinent SSH keys are imported (see SSH keys) to MAAS so it can connect to deployed nodes.

To deploy directly from MAAS, select one or more node(s) and press the ‘Deploy’ button.

You then have the option of deviating from the default OS, release, and kernel. When ready, press ‘Deploy X machine(s)’ (where ‘X’ is the number of machines selected).

See MAAS CLI for how to deploy a node with the CLI. If doing so, you will first need to acquire the node explicitly, either via the web UI or the CLI.

While a node is deploying its status will change to Deploying to ‘OS’, where ‘OS’ is the name of the OS being deployed (e.g. ‘Deploying to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS’).

Once a node has finished deploying its status will change to just the name of the OS (e.g. ‘Ubuntu 18.04 LTS’).