Summary of 26th Quattor workshop (2018-10-29 to 2018-10-31, University of Gent)

29 October 2018
Michel Jouvin

Quattor Workshop - UGent - 29-31/10/2018

Site Reports


Considering looking at Aquilon but for the time being still will SCDB

  • Tweaked it more in the meantime…

OpenStack: wrote a component that can manage/configure most of OpenStack services


More and more Quattor/Aquilon usage

  • HPC on board
  • Other system groups suggested to use it: want to promote commonality across the department

Aquilon: working well but with a few local tweaks

Ceph: less and less configuration to do at each new release, easier to support in Quattor

Work in progress with FreeIPA but still a long journey…

  • Need to cleanup LDAP and NIS services first…

James now more involved in HTC configuration/management

  • Batch system: HTCondor
  • Also managing the teams in charge of grid GOCDB and APEL


Big challenge: integrate new teams, teach them best practices

  • Code review is a key (Gerrit)
  • panlint helps
  • More documentation on how to right proper pan would help

Looking at integrating Docker/Kubernetes as the provisioning infrastructure for grid

Move out of AFS impacts Kerberos: which alternatives? FreeIPA? Active Directory?

Still has to support RHEL5: impacts ability to upgrade AII servers

  • Plan to look at RHEL8 impact on Quattor when it is available: hopefully nothing disruptive (based on Fedora)…

Working on pushing upstream MS modifications to components.


Still running SCDB but Aquilon production instance started!

  • Manages a few nodes: need time to review/migrate site templates
  • Using Active Directory as the Kerberos infrastructure
  • Deployment server shared with SCDB
  • Very impressed by Aquilon quality
  • Documentation updated on should be pretty complete to start
    • A preliminary SCDB migration guide available

Aquilon: several contributions… and open issues

  • Good collaboration with MS after initial definition of the process

Open question: how to model/integrate the cloud infrastructure in Aquilon

  • Don’t want to track in Aquilon what is tracked in the cloud, like VM placement
  • The OpenStack cloud is our base infrastructure: more and more virtualised services with system image managed with Quattor
    • Service data in a persistent disk
    • Image built from a base image + Quattor customisation

Another wish for Aquilon: be able to define site-specific key/value pairs in Aquilon that will be passed to the plenary templates in some ways

Debian Support

No progress since last workshop. Basically working except the network configuration.

  • Debian packaging done from RPM after unpacking them: hacky at this time, limited functionality (no pre and post script support)
    • Files are properly relocated to be at the standard place in Debian
  • No initial install support
    • Debian said to support Kickstart files: is it worth exploring?
    • RAL focus: management of (CumulusOS) switches where initial install is not an issue.
    • Same use case at UGent: currently using metaconfig to generate the appropriate config file and push them manually to the switch

Main issue currently: a bug in ncm-spma apt back-end leading to packages not installed or with the wrong version.

  • See

OpenStack Support

2 approaches currently for OpenStack configuration

  • The template library based on metaconfig to produce the required configuration
    • Makes easy to support different OpenStack version with a different branch of the templates, like it was done for grid middleware
    • Used by RAL, LAL and Strasbourg
  • ncm-openstack by UGent that does everything: used to support Ocata, now supports Pike
    • Internally based on CAFRender and Template Toolkit files: makes easy to add a new service (highly based on metaconfig code)
    • The component is sensitive to OpenStack configuration changes with new versions: often significant changes
    • Endpoints managed by Quattor
    • Keystone users for the OpenStack services managed by Quattor

It would be good to see if the configuration module could be used with the template library

  • Main challenge is the support of multiple versions in the configuration module: impact on the schema and Template Toolkit files
  • Alex interested to have a look

Work in progress at UGent on OpenID support but it will remain necessary to create users manually in OpenStack

Also started with Manilla: some issues related to the fact that the NFS server needs to be managed outside OpenStack

  • Need to ensure that network routing is properly configured from the VM network to the NFS server
  • UGent: NFS server is based on Ganesha in front of Ceph
    • No performance figures yet

Quattor Releases

Next one planned: 18.12

  • By Christmas
  • 3 releases a year seems a good rhythm
    • 18.9 will not happen: not enough availability during summer

New layout for template library repositories: need to experiment with several ideas first, no planned soon…

  • See
  • Also needed to configuration modules
  • Approach foreseen: pull request from the source repository to the destination one, possibly after moving a branch content in a directory (in the source repository?)
  • Also need to move open issues and pull requests to new repository (will not preserve numbers)
    • A tool exists at GitHub for doing it (with cross references in both repositories)