MAAS 2.6.0 alpha 2 released!


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Hello MAASters!

We are happy to announce MAAS 2.6.0 alpha 2. This release introduces new and exciting features and UI improvements.

Important announcements

PXE booting leveraging HTTP

MAAS 2.6 changes the default underlying mechanism by which machines obtain files over the PXE boot process. For amd64 legacy mode, MAAS will now only download lpxelinux.0 over TFTP and the rest of the files and config via HTTP. For amd64 grub, MAAS 2.6 will support HTTP although its currently done over TFTP. arm64 is expected to work the same way as amd64, and ppc64el already uses HTTP to download kernel and initrd.

The major change, however, is for Virtual Machines on amd64, in which we know rely entirely on iPXE to do HTTP boot.

The section below details the changes now available.

New features & improvements

Improving the MAAS PXE boot process with HTTP

MAAS has always relied on TFTP to support the PXE boot process. Starting from 2.5 we started transitioning some of the boot process to use HTTP rather than full TFTP. Doing so significantly increases the boot speed and performance, provided that TFTP is a slow protocol in comparison to HTTP.

KVMs will now use iPXE and HTTP (instead of pxelinux/tftp) for AMD64

Previously MAAS deployed AMD64 KVMs using pxelinux emulation. This meant that the VM would be told by the DHCP server to get lpxelinux.0 and other files from TFTP. Starting from 2.6, however, KVM deployment now relies on iPXE and HTTP instead. This means that:

  • MAAS will autoconfigure the DHCP to tell VM’s using iPXE to boot off a HTTP endpoint.
  • iPXE on the VM will obtain the boot configuration file over HTTP.
  • iPXE will obtain linux/kernel over HTTP (please note that as of 2.5, VMs were already obtaining this over HTTP leveraging the use of lpxelinux.0 instead, but still relied on TFTP to obtain all pxelinux related roms).

Legacy boot for AMD64 now mostly relies on HTTP

As of 2.5, physical systems booting from MAAS would rely on TFTP to download lpxelinux.0, all required roms and the configuration. Starting from 2.6, machines will now only rely on TFTP to download lpxelinux.0, after which all the remaining roms and configuration files will be obtained from an HTTP endpoint.

What about EFI?

MAAS 2.6 will support UEFI HTTP boot. The first step will be to allow machines to get the grub rom via TFTP, and the kernel and initrd over HTTP. Once that’s done, MAAS will also attempt to support full HTTP boot for those firmware versions that can do so.

What about other arches?

As of MAAS 2.6, ppc64el has supported HTTP boot to download the kernel/initird. The configuration file continues to be obtained over TFTP.

As far as arm64, given that it uses grub, we leverage the same HTTP boot support.

ESXi Storage configuration

In 2.5, MAAS introduced the ability to deploy ESXi. This involved only having the ability to deploy on the root disk, and didn’t provide the ability to use the others from MAAS. Starting from 2.6, however, MAAS is now able to configure advanced storage for ESXi deployments. This means that admins are able to select the root, and create datastores (for VM storage) directly from MAAS. This feature, however, does require a newer version of the image generation scripts.

Please note that this feature is currently only available over the API. The UI will come at a later cut. For more information about ESXi in MAAS, please contact Canonical at https://maas.io/contact-us .

Stats and metrics gathering

MAAS is adding support to collect metrics and stats about the environment and performance. This will all users to have more insight about usage and performance, as well as help developers use this data to further improve performance.

Stats

The following are the available stats:

  • Machine counts by status
  • Machine counts by type
  • Machine counts by architecture
  • Counts of network elements
    • spaces
    • fabrics
    • VLANs
    • IPv4 subnets
    • IPv6 subnets
  • Combined memory size for all machines
  • Combined number of CPUs for all machines
  • Combined storage size all machines
  • Number of KVM pods
  • Number of KVM virtual machines
  • Number of KVM cores
  • Memory for KVM pods
  • Storage size for KVM pods

Performance metrics

The following are the available performance metrics:

  • CPU usage counters
  • Memory usage counters
  • HTTP requests latency
  • HTTP requests response size
  • HTTP requests query count
  • HTTP requests query latency
  • Websocket calls latency
  • RPC calls latency
  • TFTP files transfer latency

OpenBMC power driver

MAAS 2.6 has added a new power driver. This is the OpenBMC REST power driver, which allows MAAS to power manage machines via the REST interface.

Ability to suppress failed test result (API only)

When a hardware tests fails, MAAS provides visual cues that highlight the machine to ensure that admins know that there’s been a problem with a specific machine. However, in some situations, admins have noted that they would like a mechanism to suppress the error notice of the given test. As such, this release introduces the ability to suppress this error over the API only.

In a subsequent release of MAAS 2.6, this will be added to the UI.

Add description field to the node model (API only)

MAAS adds a new admin-editable field to the node model in MAAS. This field is to allow admins to write notes or provide descriptions for a machine. This is informational only and only supported over the API.

In the subsequent release of MAAS 2.6 this will be added to the UI.

Work in progress

Apart from the given features, MAAS has other various features that are being develop concurrently. These include:

Web UI

Add drop down menus for owner, pool, zone in machine listing page.

MAAS 2.6a2 introduces drop-down menus to be able to execute some actions in-table in the machine listing page. These new drop-downs are for owner, pool and zone.

Add status actions dropdown on machine listing page

MAAS 2.6a2 provides the ability to change the status of a machine from the machine listing page, complementing the above feature. This is done under the status section in-table.

Re-design DHCP management

2.6a2 introduces a better design to enable DHCP over the WebUI and improves the overall user experience moving the process in-section rather than as an action in the VLAN details page.

Add search and filters to dashboard

This release also introduces a new search and filter to the dashboard where all discovered devices are available.

Bug fixes

For other issues or bugs fixed in this release, please refer to:

https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.6.0alpha2

Availability

MAAS 2.6.0~alpha2 is available in the following PPA:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:maas/next
sudo apt install maas

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