Deploy whole disk images by default

This blueprint tracks the tasks required to switch to whole-disk overcloud images by default instead of the current overcloud-full partition image.

Whole disk images vs partition images

The current overcloud-full partition image consists of the following:

  • A compressed qcow2 image file which contains a single root partition with all the image contents

  • A kernel image file for the kernel to boot

  • A ramdisk file to boot with the kernel

Whereas the overcloud-hardened-uefi-full whole-disk image consists of a single compressed qcow2 image containing the following:

  • A partition layout containing UEFI boot, legacy boot, and a root partition

  • The root partition contains a single lvm group with a number of logical volumes of different sizes which are mounted at /, /tmp, /var, /var/log, etc.

When a partition image is deployed, ironic-python-agent does the following on the baremetal disk being deployed to:

  • Creates the boot and root partitions on the disk

  • Copies the partition image contents to the root partition

  • Populates the empty boot partition with everything required to boot, including the kernel image, ramdisk file, a generated grub config, and an installed grub binary

When a whole-disk image is deployed, ironic-python-agent simply copies the whole image to the disk.

When the partition image deploy boots for the first time, the root partition grows to take up all of the available disk space. This mechanism is provided by the base cloud image. There is no equivalent partition growing mechanism for a multi-volume LVM whole-disk image.

Problem Description

The capability to build and deploy a whole-disk overcloud image has been available for many releases, but it is time to switch to this as the default. Doing this will avoid the following issues and bring the following benefits:

  • As of CentOS-8.4, grub will stop support for installing the bootloader on a UEFI system. ironic-python-agent depends on grub installs to set up EFI boot with partition images, so UEFI boot will stop working when CentOS 8.4 is used.

  • Other than this new grub behaviour, keeping partition boot working in ironic-python-agent has been a development burden and involves code complexity which is avoided for whole-disk deployments.

  • TripleO users are increasingly wanting to deploy with UEFI Secure Boot enabled, this is only possible with whole-disk images that use the signed shim bootloader.

  • Partition images need to be distributed with kernel and ramdisk files, adding complexity to file management of deployed images compared to a single whole-disk image file.

  • The requirements for a hardened image includes having separate volumes for root, data etc. All TripleO users get the security benefit of hardened images when a whole-disk image is used.

  • We currently need dedicated CI jobs both in the upstream check/gate (when the relevant files changed) but also in periodic integration lines, to build and publish the latest ‘current-tripleo’ version of the hardened images. In the long term, only a single hardend UEFI whole-disk image needs to be built and published, reducing the CI footprint. (in the short term, CI footprint may go up so the whole-disk image can be published, and while hardened vs hardened-uefi jobs are refactored.

Proposed Change


Wherever the partition image overcloud-full.qcow2 is built, published, or used needs to be updated to use overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2 by default.

This blueprint will be considered complete when it is possible to follow the default path in the documentation and the result is an overcloud deployed with whole-disk images.

Image upload tool

The default behaviour of openstack overcloud image upload needs to be aware that overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2 should be uploaded by default when it is detected in the local directory.

Reviewing image build YAML

Once the periodic jobs are updated, image YAML defining overcloud-hardened-full can be deleted, leaving only overcloud-hardened-uefi-full. Other refactoring can be done such as renaming -python3.yaml back to -base.yaml.

Reviewing partition layout

Swift data is stored in /srv and according to the criteria of hardened images this should be in its own partition. This will need to be added to the existing partition layout for whole-disk UEFI images.

Partition growing

On node first boot, a replacement mechanism for growing the root partition is required. This is a harder problem for the multiple LVM volumes which the whole-disk image creates. Generally the /var volume should grow to take available disk space because this is where TripleO and OpenStack services store their state, but sometimes /srv will need to grow for Swift storage, and sometimes there may need to be a proportional split of multiple volumes. This suggests that there will be new tripleo-heat-templates variables which will specify the volume/proportion growth behaviour on a per-role basis.

A new utility is required which automates this LVM volume growing requirement. It could be implemented a number of ways:

  1. A new project/package containing the utility, installed on the image and run by first-boot or early tripleo-ansible.

  2. A utility script installed by a diskimage-builder/tripleo-image-elements element and run by first-boot or as a first-boot ansible task (post-provisioning or early deploy).

  3. Implement entirely in an ansible role, either in its own repository, or as part of tripleo-ansible. It would be run by early tripleo-ansible.

This utility will also be useful to other cloud workloads which use LVM based images, so some consideration is needed for making it a general purpose tool which can be used outside an overcloud image. Because of this, option 2. is proposed initially as the preferred way to install this utility, and it will be proposed as a new element in diskimage-builder. Being coupled with diskimage-builder means the utility can make assumptions about the partition layout:

  • a single Volume Group that defaults to name vg

  • volume partitions are formatted with XFS, which can be resized while mounted


Because of the grub situation, the only real alternative is dropping support for UEFI boot, which means only supporting legacy BIOS boot indefinitely. This would likely have negative feedback from end-users.

Security Impact

  • All deployments will use images that comply with the hardened-image requirements, so deployments will gain these security benefits

  • Whole disk images are UEFI Secure Boot enabled, so this blueprint brings us closer to recommending that Secure Boot be switched on always. This will validate to users that they have deployed boot/kernel binaries signed by Red Hat.

Upgrade Impact

Nodes upgraded in-place will continue to be partition image based, and new/replaced nodes will be deployed with whole-disk images. This doesn’t have a specific upgrade implication, unless we document an option for replacing every node in order to ensure all nodes are deployed with whole-disk images.

Other End User Impact

There is little end-user impact other than:

  • The change of habit required to use overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2 instead of overcloud-full.qcow2

  • The need to set the heat variable if custom partition growing behaviour is required

Performance Impact

There is no known performance impact with this change.

Other Deployer Impact

All deployer impacts have already been mentioned elsewhere.

Developer Impact

There are no developer impacts beyond the already mentioned deployer impacts.



Primary assignee:

Steve Baker <>

Work Items

  • python-tripleoclient: image upload command, handle overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2 as the default if it exists locally

  • tripleo-ansible/cli-overcloud-node-provision.yaml: detect overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.(qcow2|raw) as the default if it exists in /var/lib/ironic/images

  • RDO jobs: * add periodic job for overcloud-hardened-uefi-full * remove periodic job for overcloud-hardened-full * modify image publishing jobs to publish overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2

  • tripleo-image-elements/overcloud-partition-uefi: add /srv logical volume for swift data

  • tripleo-quickstart-extras: Use the whole_disk_images=True variable to switch to downloading/uploading/deploying overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2

  • tripleo-ci/featureset001/002: Enable whole_disk_images=True

  • diskimage-builder: Add new element which installs utility for growing LVM volumes based on specific volume/proportion mappings

  • tripleo-common/image-yaml: * refactor to remove non-uefi hardened image * rename -python3.yaml back to -base.yaml * add the element which installs the grow partition utility

  • tripleo-heat-templates: Define variables for driving partition growth volume/proportion mappings

  • tripleo-ansible: Consume the volume/proportion mapping and run the volume growing utility on every node in early boot.

  • tripleo-docs: * Update the documentation for deploying whole-disk images by default * Document variables for controlling partition growth


Unless diskimage-builder require separate tracking to add the partition growth utility, all tasks can be tracked under this blueprint.


Image building and publishing

Periodic jobs which build images, and jobs which build and publish images to downloadable locations need to be updated to build and publish overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2. Initially this can be in parallel with the existing overcloud-full.qcow2 publishing, but eventually that can be switched off.

overcloud-hardened-full.qcow2 is the same as overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2 except that it only supports legacy BIOS booting. Since overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2 supports both legacy BIOS and UEFI boot, the periodic jobs which build overcloud-hardened-full.qcow2 can be switched off from Wallaby onwards (assuming these changes are backported as far back as Wallaby).

CI support

CI jobs which consume published images need to be modified so they can download overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2 and deploy it as a whole-disk image.

Documentation Impact

The TripleO Deployment Guide needs to be modified so that overcloud-hardened-uefi-full.qcow2 is referred to throughout, and so that it correctly documents deploying a whole-disk image based overcloud.