Feature pages are design documents that developers have created while collaborating on oVirt.

Most of them are outdated, but provide historical design context.

They are not user documentation and should not be treated as such.

Documentation is available here.

CoreOS ignition support


From ignition documentation:

Ignition is a new provisioning utility designed specifically for CoreOS Container Linux. At the most basic level, it is a tool for manipulating disks during early boot. This includes partitioning disks, formatting partitions, writing files (regular files, systemd units, networkd units, etc.), and configuring users. On first boot, Ignition reads its configuration from a source-of-truth (remote [URL, network metadata service, hypervisor bridge, etc.) and applies the configuration.


This feature will enable us to bootstrap ignition-enabled distros, like RHCOS, FCOS, which are optimized for running containerized workloads, and by that be a platform provider for OKD 4.x . OKD 4 is heavily reliant on RHCOS to manage nodes lifecycle. While being very important for OKD, it is not exclusively for it - ignition has several notable adavantages over cloud-init, it lets you customize your OS fully, and fear-free update it, with the ability to rollback.


Roy Golan

Detailed Description

The main driver of this feature is making oVirt a platform provider for OKD 4.X installation. OKD 4.x is a release which is operator-centric and one which allows managing the openshift cluster using openshift. ‘master’ and ‘worker’ nodes are added using openshift api, and its lifecycle is controlled by a cluster-api specific controller, and the machine configuration is server by another operator machine-config-operator. This means that when you want to roll-out updates to your cluster workers, you do that with the cluster, its all native. What enables that is RHCOS OS and its ignition-enabled customization capability.


The VM in hand must be based on an RHCOS images which has openstack provider enabled in the kernel args, in order to read the ignition config from cloud-init disk /dev/disk/by-label/config-2 If you are using a custom made image make sure to include openstack provider in your ignition provider, and tweak the kernel args to include it


There are small differences between the user experience in 4.3 to 4.4.


At the moment the extra argument in Initial Boot or the ‘VM.initialization’ API object are not inserted into the ignition config, except for ‘hostname’ - which will drop the hostname value in /etc/hostname and ‘custom script’ - which contains the full ignition JSON.


The extra arguments in ‘VM.initialization’ API object that are not - ‘hostname’, user details and ‘custom script’ are not inserted into the ignition config.

Benefit to oVirt

Make oVirt a viable platform provider for Openshift or Kubernetes deployments.

Entity Description

No change to entities, the VmInit internal object is reused.


To start working with ignition first import the Fedora CoreOS image as a template from the ovirt glance provider, call the template ‘fcos’.

Now create a VM from that template using this python snippet. It will ignite the VM and change the password of user core to changeme:

mport time
import ovirtsdk4 as sdk
import ovirtsdk4.types as types

connection = sdk.Connection(

system_service = connection.system_service()
sds_service = system_service.storage_domains_service()
templates_service = connection.system_service().templates_service()
sd = sds_service.list(search='name=ovirt-image-repository')[0]
sd_service = sds_service.storage_domain_service(
images_service = sd_service.images_service()

if len(templates_service.list(search='name=fcos')) == 0:
    images = images_service.list()
    image = next(
        (i for i in images if == 'Fedora CoreOS 30.337 for x86_64'),
    # Import the fcos image as template named 'fcos' to domain 'mydata;
    image_service = images_service.image_service(


    ok = False
    while not ok:
        templates = templates_service.list(search='name=fcos')
        for t in templates:
            if t.status == types.TemplateStatus.OK:
              ok = True

vms_service = connection.system_service().vms_service()
vm = vms_service.add(

vm_service = vms_service.vm_service(
while True:
    vm = vm_service.get()
    if vm.status == types.VmStatus.DOWN:

# ignition file to boot coreos with user core and password changeme
  "ignition": { "version": "3.0.0" },
  "passwd": {
    "users": [
        "name": "core",
        "passwordHash": "$y$j9T$skCa2x5kFis7p58gYjz3C1$ykelHfCckRToZKAVYK7GDdLOCi3pcF2WMioI.vmYkj5"


How to create and validate ignition configurations?

Configuration documentation and examples are in

See the Fedora CoreOS config transpiler

To validate a config use Ignition config validator

User work-flows

User creates a VM from RHCOS/FCOS image, and pastes a valid ignition configuration into the ‘custom script’ section of Initial Boot section Boot the VM When the VM finishes booting all the changes made by ignition shall be applied.

Differences between 4.3 to 4.4:


See limitations for 4.3 and the above work-flow.


In 4.4, the only way to enable ignition to a VM is by selecting the RedHat CoreOS Operation System Type. As a result, the section of Initial Boot will changed to ignition and show only the available options for ignition. It is not required to insert custom script if it is not needed. A ignition version will be automatically added from the engine.

  • In case the user added user in the Web-Admin Initial Boot section and the user is different from users in the custom script, it will configure all of them.
  • If the user configured hostname in the Web-Admin Initial Boot section and in the custom script, the UI will be ignored.
  • Sending custom script will always be “the stronger” entity and will win in cases of collusion with the engine.
  • The same changes apply to API use.

For 4.4, use_ignition is added to the API to force select initialization with ignition. Note that use_cloud_init won’t work in 4.4.

  • In both 4.3 and 4.4 use_initialization flag added, selecting ‘RedHat CoreOS’ Operation System for the VM and using this flag will automatically select the initialization type for the VM.

Event Reporting

There are no special ovirt-engine events for this activity.

Documentation & External references

CoreOS ignition docs

Ignition example configs

Ignition config validator

Add RHCOS to the list of operating systems

Have a generic way to initialize a VM in run-once


  • Prepare a FCOS or RHCOS template. An image can be found here:
  • Create a VM from that template, like shown in section CRUD
  • Verify that a file name /foo/bar exists with content ‘example file’

For a negative test, make sure that cloud-init keep working for Centos or any other cloud-init ready OS.

Future work

  • This feature doesn’t support all the VM.initialization properties, and we would certainly want to include some of them, without letting the admin specifying an ignition config.
  • Network configuration which are currently cloud-init specific protocol will not work with ignition. Ignition simply manipulate the disk therefore the desired network state will be achieved through laying configuration files.
  • Better user experience with the Web-Admin UI. Currently we made some changes to make it more friendly but, we would like to add JSON validator to the custom script section.