vendordata reboot, remaining work in Ocata

In Newton, the Nova team implemented a new way for deployers to provide vendordata to instances via configdrive and metadata server. There were a few smaller items that didn’t land in Newton, which we need to finalize.

You can read the spec from Newton for more detail about vendordata. It is at:

Problem description

Please see the Newton specification for a complete description of the work that was proposed for Newton. In general terms, the following was implemented:

  • the initial implementation of vendordata v2

  • functional testing

  • support for SSL certificate verification

Use Cases

The items below will be implemented in Ocata, in the order listed in this document.

Proposed change

Keystone token changes

There are some concerns about how the keystone verification between the Nova metadata service and the vendordata HTTP servers was implemented. As implemented in Newton, the requesting user’s keystone token is passed through to the external vendordata server if available, otherwise no token is passed.

Why would the token sometimes not be available? Many metadata operations are initiated by the instance without a user being associated with them – for example cloud-init calling the metadata server on first boot to determine configuration information. In these cases no keystone token is provided to the metadata service.

This implementation is flawed because of how the keystone middleware works. If no token is passed and the keystone middleware is enabled, then the request will be rejected before the external vendordata server has a chance to process the request at all.

Additionally, we’re authenticating the wrong thing. What we should be ensuring is that its the Nova metadata service which is calling the external vendordata server. To do this we should use a Nova service account.

To resolve these issues we will move to passing a Nova service token to the external vendordata server. This will be a new service token created specifically for this purpose. This change is considered a bug fix and will be backported to Newton to ensure a consistent interface for implementators of external vendordata servers.

Role information from the user’s token

The only place where we need to use the user’s token is for role information. So that this is available later (and doesn’t change if the user’s roles change), we will store this information from the boot request in the Nova database as system metadata, and then pass that through to the external vendordata service with each request.

During the summit session it was considered important that we store this role information so that the results returned for metadata requests do not change over time – for example if a user has a role that allows them to start a mail server at the time of the boot request, the instance should remain a mail server for all time, regardless of if that user has that role removed from them.

This is not a bug fix and will not be backported.

Hard failure mode

Operators at the summit also requested that they’d like a mode where if an external vendordata server fails to return a valid response to a request the instance should be placed into an error state. This is for use cases where the instance requires configuration information from an external service to be able to operate correctly.

This is not a bug fix and will not be backported.


The original specification envisaged caching of responses from the external vendordata service, but this was not implemented. If time allows in the Ocata release, we will add this support.

This is not a bug fix and will not be backported.


This work is as discussed at the summit as a follow on. The alternative would be to leave the new vendordata implementation incomplete.

Data model impact

None, apart from extra data being stored in the system metadata table.

REST API impact


Security impact


Notifications impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact


Other deployer impact

Deployers will need to configure an additional service token in order to use authenticated calls to external metadata services.

Developer impact




Primary assignee:


Work Items

See proposed changes above.




Unit test

Documentation Impact

These changes are of most interest to deployers, so we should make sure they are documented in the admin guide.



The first implementation of this work was in Newton.