Discover ironic nodes

This spec proposes auto-discovery of Ironic nodes feature.

Problem description

A large network might consist of hundreds of servers. Keeping track of these servers can be a time-consuming process. Auto-discovery could simplify the addition of new servers into Ironic. It will identifies a resource automatically so it’s possible to manage it. For now, Ironic is unable to automatically detect nodes. Operators have to create nodes manually and provide driver info for them.

Proposed change

Nodes that don’t exist in the inspector node cache may still be booted and return inspection information to process, the node-not-found-hook hook is run by the inspector when it receives information from a node it can not identify. For auto-discovery a new hook that will plugin at this point will be written, called enroll.

The hook will enroll the unknown node into Ironic with the fake driver (this driver is a configurable option, set enroll_node_driver in the configuration file allows to change the Ironic driver). Also the enroll hook will set the ipmi_address property on the new node, if its available in the introspection data we received.

To customize discovery, introspection rules will be used, it allows operators to control the discovery process. A simple rule to match all new nodes and enroll them in Ironic with the agent_ipmitool driver will looks like:

"description": "Set IPMI driver_info if no address or credentials",
"actions": [
    {'action': 'set-attribute', 'path': 'driver', 'value': 'agent_ipmitool'},
    {'action': 'set-attribute', 'path': 'driver_info/ipmi_address',
     'value': '{data[ipmi_address]}'},
    {'action': 'set-attribute', 'path': 'driver_info/ipmi_username',
     'value': 'username'},
    {'action': 'set-attribute', 'path': 'driver_info/ipmi_password',
     'value': 'password'}
"conditions": [
    {'op': 'eq', 'field': 'node://driver_info/ipmi_password',
     'multiple': 'all', 'value': None},
    {'op': 'eq', 'field': 'node://driver_info/ipmi_username',
     'multiple': 'all', 'value': None}

"description": "Set deploy info if not already set on node",
"actions": [
    {'action': 'set-attribute', 'path': 'driver_info/deploy_kernel',
     'value': '<glance uuid>'},
    {'action': 'set-attribute', 'path': 'driver_info/deploy_ramdisk',
     'value': '<glance uuid>'},

"conditions": [
    {'op': 'eq', 'field': 'node://driver_info.deploy_ramdisk',
     'multiple': 'all', 'value': None},
    {'op': 'eq', 'field': 'node://driver_info.deploy_kernel',
     'multiple': 'all', 'value': None}

Rule changes:

  • condition changes: extend field field, for now it’s represent a JSON path to the field in the introspection data to use in comparison. But sometimes it’s needed to compare data from node(deploy_ramdisk compared with None in example), so to get data from node, node:// and data:// scheme proposed to add. It will allow to fetch data using path from the nodes info and introspection(data:// is default scheme to keep backward compatibility):

    node://driver_info.deploy_ramdisk - ``deploy_ramdisk`` attribute from
                                          node's driver_info.
    data://memory_mb                  - ``memory_mb`` attribute from
                                          introspection data.
  • actions changes: for now it’s impossible to assign values from inspection data to node, to address this disadvantage it’s proposed to add standard python formatting Python format to value field. For example, set-attribute sets an attribute on an Ironic node. It’s required the path field, which is the path to the attribute in Ironic, e.g.``driver_info/ipmi_username``, and a value to set. Where value is simple value, which assigned to path:

    {data[ipmi_address]} - ``ipmi_address`` attribute from introspection
                           data will be fetched.

All nodes discovered and enrolled via the enroll hook, will contain an auto_discovered flag in the introspection data, this flag makes it possible to distinguish between manually enrolled nodes and auto-discovered nodes in the introspection rules using the rule condition eq:

"description": "Enroll auto-discovered nodes with fake driver",
"actions": [
    {'action': 'set-attribute', 'path': 'driver', 'value': 'fake'}
"conditions": [
    {'op': 'eq', 'field': 'data://auto_discovered', 'value': True}

Creating new actions will allow the node info to be consumed in different ways. Proposed approach is pretty flexible, so more sophisticated conditions and actions could be added here based on operators specifications.

Operator steps for achieve auto-discovery would be following:
  • Operator creates a new rule or uses the predefined discovery rule;

  • Operator import rule to Inspector;

  • All nodes after rule is imported will be discovered with it.


Continue enroll nodes manually and run inspection. But it’s not appropriate approach for big significant environments.

API impact


Performance and scalability impact


Security impact


Deployer impact

Note: before discovery, the config option node_not_found_hook should be assigned to the enroll_node_not_found_hook value; deployers will be required to create rules, so they should be familiar with rules, rules conditions and actions; for simple cases example rules could be used.

Developer impact

Developers can create additional conditions and actions regarding their needs to extend the discovery process.



  • Anton Arefiev(aarefiev)

Work Items

  • Extend conditions and actions to support proposed format;

  • Cover new functionality with unit and integration tests;

  • Add example rules;

  • Update docs.




Unit, functional and integration tests will be added.