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Re: Building cloud images on Debian infrastructure

On Tue, 29 Mar 2016 14:54:51 +0200
Bastian Blank <waldi@debian.org> wrote:

> Hi folks
> As already known, Steve, Martin and me talked about how we could build
> Azure and all the other images on Debian infrastructure.  The results
> of this meeting were posted by Martin and Steve already.
> We didn't talk much about the technical stuff, as overall policy was
> the priority.  I want to start this part here.
> My requirements for building the images would be:
> - one set of tools used for all images

See Riku's talk at DebConf Heidelberg - there are many tools and
it would be generally better for customized tools to give way to
generalist tools which can use wrappers or enhancements to provide the
remaining functionality.

> - result includes not only images, but also tars

vmdebootstrap has the support to put the content into a tar instead of
an image - it won't take much to add support / wrapper to then deploy
that tar into an empty image instead of doing the entire deployment
into an image at the start.

> - images are built only using the tar as input

It's also worth considering using staging of tarballs - i.e. identify a
common base set that underpins many final images, build one tarball
that represents the largest overlap of that set for a maximal testing
surface, then customise that deployment for variants and flavours. How
well that works depends on the granularity of the dependency chain, it
might not be suitable for all use cases.

> - optional utilize current Linux features like user namespaces

I'm open to adding support for that into vmdebootstrap providing that
the patches include test cases that can prove that the support actually
works. If there is a simple way of determining that the feature is in
place by checking for the presence of a file in the image, without
booting the image, that will be useful as a test case. Boot testing
checks can also be done.
> I don't know if we have such a toolset available already.

I would, of course, offer vmdebootstrap as the tool for the job.
Customisation script support can be used to insert tokens or
certificates where those are required as well as other one-off tasks.
> Any thoughts on this?  Any things I missed?

Yes, a test suite should be a requirement. Quick sanity tests, slower
build tests and the option of fully automated boot tests.

vmdebootstrap has the quick sanity tests and the slower build tests and
support is being pursued for automated boot testing as well as
automated build tests. (Just needs a bit of x86 hardware to be made
available to lava.debian.net.)


Neil Williams

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