UEFI support for Ironic deploy drivers


This spec proposes to add support for UEFI based deployments on baremetal nodes.

Problem description

Most of the new hardware comes with UEFI boot mode, which has several technical advantages over the traditional BIOS system. The new servers also have a compatibility support module(CSM), which provides BIOS compatibility.

Currently there is no provision in Ironic to let a user select and deploy a baremetal node having capability to boot in UEFI boot mode.

Proposed change

Preparing the environment

  1. The operator sets the baremetal node to boot in the desired mode - bios or uefi.

  2. The operator can inform the boot mode to ironic using the capabilities property of the node. The operator may add a new capability boot_mode=uefi or boot_mode=bios in capabilities within properties of the node.

Preparing flavor for boot mode selection

The extra_specs field in the nova flavor may be used for selection of a machine with the desired boot mode. The operator may create a flavor with boot_mode=bios or boot_mode=uefi to select a baremetal node set to exactly same boot_mode.

If boot_mode is not present in extra_specs of nova flavor, then nova scheduler may give a baremetal node configured in any boot mode.

Pxe deploy driver changes

Changes required in PXE deploy driver to perform UEFI boot mode deploy:

  • Add new pxe config options:

    • uefi_pxe_bootfile_name: specify the efi bootloader to be used.

    • uefi_pxe_config_template: specify the respective efi bootloader config template.

  • Prepare pxe config for UEFI, by reading uefi_pxe_bootfile_name and its corresponding uefi_pxe_config_template.

    • As of now I will use elilo.efi boot loader.

    • elilo.efi bootloader requires the configuration to be named after the ip-address assigned by the DHCP server. It does not recognize mac-address named config files.

  • Update neutron port DHCP extra opts with correct boot file for UEFI boot:

    • bootfile-name: value should be fetched from uefi_pxe_bootfile_name

Other deploy driver changes

Other deploy drivers may handle the uefi boot option in their deploy driver code to support UEFI boot mode.

Some deploy drivers (like iLO driver which uses proliantutils library) will be able to change the boot mode itself, rather than relying on admin to change the boot mode. Such deploy drivers may add functionality to change the boot mode dynamically on a request. Admin will just need to document the boot_mode that the machine is supposed to be used (Admin need not do #1 in the section “Preparing the environment” above).

Overall flow

  1. Ironic virt driver picks up boot_mode (if available) from the capabilities field of the Ironic node and registers it as a capability of the hypervisor. (NOTE: The functionality to do this is already available in the proposed nova-ironic virt driver).

  2. User may select a flavor having boot_mode specified in its extra_specs.

  3. ComputeCapabilities filter of nova scheduler matches the boot_mode (if available) against the boot_mode of the node.

  4. The deploy driver reads the boot_mode from the capabilities property of the node and then makes appropriate changes to deploy process to deploy and boot the baremetal node in the required boot_mode.


  • Pxe driver can support different efiboot loaders: syslinux.efi, grub, etc.

    • Different bootloaders will have different ways of preparing their configuration files.

    • Though pxelinux and syslinx.efi have same configuration changes, but syslinux.efi is not yet available on ubuntu 12/13/14. syslinux.efi is scheduled for ubuntu utopic release.

    • We will support only elilo.efi at the moment. We can later add support to other efi bootloader.

  • There could be other vendor specific boot modes, or other boot options with-in BIOS/UEFI boot modes. We can support them incrementally on top of these standard boot modes.

  • UEFI with local HDD boot:

    • As of now there is no support for local HDD boot with pxe driver.

    • When the deploy driver add support for local HDD boot with BIOS mode, they have to consider adding support for UEFI as well, if the driver support UEFI boot mode.

  • Selecting a partition vs whole-disk image for deploy:

    • A partition image can be installed using both bios and UEFI boot mode, where as a whole-disk image may ask for a specific boot_mode for deploy.

    • With a partition image we need not specify the required boot_mode.

    • As of now pxe driver supports only partition images, when we add support for deploy with whole-disk image, we need to specify the required boot mode for that image and pass it on to deploy driver.

  • Using IronicBootModeFilter to schedule both uefi and bios boot mode requests:

    • with “ComputeCapabilities” filter we can schedule predefined boot_mode on a node, which is capable of both uefi and bios boot modes. For example, if we set boot_mode:uefi in “capabilities” node property, on a node which is capable of both uefi and bios boot modes, then scheduler will not pick this node if user has specified “bios” in nova flavor.

    • With IronicBootMode filter, we can schedule both uefi and bios boot mode request on the same node which is capable of both boot_modes.

Data model impact


REST API impact


Driver API impact


Nova driver impact


Security impact

This feature will enable a later enhancement to support uefi secure boot.

Other end user impact

  • User can trigger a UEFI boot mode deploy by selecting a flavor with boot_mode in the extra_specs field.

  • Ironic nodes should have additional properties to support UEFI based deploy.

Scalability impact


Performance Impact


Other deployer impact

  • Operator may to set the boot mode of baremetal node to the desired one manually.

  • Operator may set a new capability boot_mode in capabilities within properties of the ironic node. For example, the user may add capabilities:boot_mode=uefi for a baremetal node which is configured for uefi boot mode.

  • Copy UEFI bootloader (elilo.efi) under tftp root directory.

  • Set pxe configuration parameters: uefi_pxe_bootfile_name and uefi_pxe_config_template

Developer impact

Other deploy drivers may handle the uefi boot option in their deploy driver code to support UEFI boot mode.



Faizan Barmawer.

Work Items

  1. Implement the code changes for supporting uefi boot mode in pxe driver.

  2. Other drivers can implement changes required to support UEFI mechanism.




Unit tests will be added for the code.

Documentation Impact

Documentation should be modified to instruct admin to place efi bootloader in tftp root and ironic node property updation.


http://sourceforge.net/projects/elilo/ http://webapp5.rrz.uni-hamburg.de/SuSe-Dokumentation/packages/elilo/netbooting.txt