CentOS AltArch SIG status

Recently I had (from an Infra side) to start deploying KVM guests for the ppc64 and ppc64le arches, so that AltArch SIGs contributors could start bootstrapping CentOS 7 rebuild for those arches. I'll probably write a tech review about Power8 and the fact you can just use libvirt/virt-install to quickly provision new VMs on PowerKVM , but I'll do that in a separate post.

Parallel to ppc64/ppc64le, armv7hl interested some Community members, and the discussion/activity about that arch is discussed on the dedicated mailing list. It's slowly coming and some users already reported having used that on some boards (but still unsigned and no updates packages -yet- )

Last (but not least) in this AltArch list is i686 : Johnny built all packages and are already publicly available on , each time in parallel to the x86_64 version. It seems that respinning the ISO for that arch and last tests would be the only things to do.

If you're interested in participating in AltArch (and have special interesting a specific arch/platform), feel free to discuss that on the centos-devel list !

CentOS Dojo in Barcelona

So, thanks to the folks from Opennebula, we'll have another CentOS Dojo in Barcelona on Tuesday 20th October 2015. That even will be colocated with the Opennebulaconf happening the days after that Dojo. If you're attending the OpennebulaConf, or if you're just in the area and would like to attend the CentOS Dojo, feel free to register

Regarding the Dojo content, I'll be myself giving a presentation about Selinux : covering a little bit of intro (still needed for some folks afraid of using it , don't know why but we'll change that ...) about selinux itself, how to run it on bare-metal, virtual machines and there will be some slides for the mandatory container hype thing. But we'll also cover managing selinux booleans/contexts, etc through your config management solution. (We'll cover puppet and ansible as those are the two I'm using on a daily basis) and also how to build and deploy custom selinux policies with your config management solution.

On the other hand, if you're a CentOS user and would like yourself to give a talk during that Dojo, feel free to submit a talk ! More informations about the Dojo ...

Ext4 limitation with GDT blocks number

In the last days, I encountered a strange issue^Wlimitation with Ext4 that I wouldn't have thought of. I've used ext2/ext3/ext4 for quite some time and so I've been used to resize the filesystem "online" (while "mounted"). In the past you had to use ext2online for that, then it was integrated into resize2fs itself.

The logic is simple and always the same : extend your underlaying block device (or add another one), then modify the LVM Volume Group (if needed), then the Logical Volume and finally the resize2fs operation, so something like

lvextend -L +${added_size}G /dev/mapper/${name_of_your_logical_volume} 
resize2fs /dev/mapper/${name_of_your_logical_volume}

I don't know how much times I've used that, but this time resize2fs wasn't happy :

resize2fs: Operation not permitted While trying to add group #16384

I remember having had in the past an issue because of the journal size not being big enough. But this wasn't the case here.

FWIW, you can always verify your journal size with dumpe2fs /dev/mapper/${name_of_your_logical_volume} |grep "Journal Size"

Small note : if you need to increase the journal size, you have to do it "offline" as you have to remove the journal and ...

Implementing TLS for postfix

As some initiatives (like Let's Encrypt as one example) try to force TLS usage everywhere. We thought about doing the same for the infra. Obviously we already had some x509 certificates, but not for every httpd server that was serving content for CentOS users. So we decided to enforce TLS usage on those servers. But TLS can be used obviously on other things than a web server.

That's why we considered implementing something for our Postfix nodes. The interesting part is that it's really easy (depending of course at the security level one may want to reach/use). There are two parts in the postfix that can be configured :

  • outgoing mails (aka your server sends mail to other SMTPD servers)
  • incoming mails (aka remote clients/servers send mail to your postfix/smtpd server)

Let's start with the client/outgoing part : just adding those lines in your will automatically configure it to use TLS when possible, but otherwise fall back on clear if remote server doesn't support TLS :

# TLS - client part
smtp_tls_security_level = may
smtp_tls_loglevel = 1
smtp_tls_session_cache_database = btree:/var/lib/postfix/smtp_scache 

The interesting ...

CentOS 7 armv7hl build in progress

As more and more people were showing interest in CentOS on the ARM platform, we thought that it would be a good idea to start trying building CentOS 7 for that platform. Jim started with arm64/aarch64 and got an alpha build ready and installable.

On my end, I configured some armv7hl nodes, "donated" to the project by Scaleway. The first goal was to init some Plague builders to distribute the jobs on those nodes, which is now done. Then working on a "self-contained" buildroot , so that all other packages can be rebuilt only against that buildroot. So building first gcc from CentOS 7 (latest release, better arm support), then glibc, etc, etc ... That buildroot is now done and is available here.

Now the fun started (meaning that 4 armv7hl nodes are currently (re)building a bunch of SRPMS) and you can follow the status on the Arm-dev List if you're interested, or even better, if you're willing to join the party and have a look at the build logs for packages that failed to rebuild. The first target would be to have a "minimal" install working, so basically having sshd/yum working. Then try other things like ...

Hacking initrd.img for fun and profit

During my presentation at Loadays 2015 , I was mentioning some tips and tricks around Anaconda and kickstart, and so how to deploy CentOS , fully automated. I asked the audience about where to store the kickstart, that would be used then by anaconda to install CentOS (same works for RHEL/Fedora), and I got several answers, like "on the http server", or "on the ftp server", which is where most people will put their kickstart files. Some would generate those files files "dynamically" (through $cfgmgmt - I use Ansible with Jinja2 template for this - ) as a bonus point.

But it's not mandatory to host your kickstart file on a publicly available http/ftp/nfs server, and surely not when having to reinstall nodes not in the same DC. Within the infra, I sometimes have to reinstall remote nodes ("donated" to the Project) that are running CentOS 5 or 6 to 7. That's how injecting your ks file directly into the initrd.img really helps. (yes, so network server needed). Just as an intro, here is how you can remotely trigger a CentOS install, without any medium/iso/pxe environment : basically you just need to download the pxeboot images ...

More builders available for Koji/CBS

As you probably know, the CentOS Project now hosts the CBS effort, (aka Community Build System), that is used to build all packages for the CentOSSIGs.

There was already one physical node dedicated to Koji Web and Koji Hub, and another node dedicated to the build threads (koji-builder). As we have now more people building packages, we thought it was time to add more builders to the mix, and here we go: lists now two added machines that are dedicated to Koji/CBS.

Those added nodes have 2 * Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 0 @ 2.00GHz with 8cores/sockets (+ Hyperthreading activated)  , and 32Gb of RAM. Let's see how the SIGs members will keep those builders busy and throwing a bunch of interesting packages for the CentOS Community :-) . Have a nice week-end

Provisioning quickly nodes in a SeaMicro chassis with Ansible

Recently I had to quickly test and deploy CentOS on 128 physical nodes, just to test hardware and that all currently "supported" CentOS releases could be installed quickly when needed. The interesting bit is that it was a completely new infra, without any traditional deployment setup in place, so obviously, as sysadmin, we directly think about pxe/kickstart, which is so trivial to setup. That was the first time I had to "play" with SeaMicro devices/chassis though, and so understanding how they work (the SeaMicro 15K fabric chassis, to be precise). One thing to note is that those seamicro chassis don't provide remote VGA/KVM feature (but who cares, as we'll automate the whole thing, right ? ) but they instead provide either cli (ssh) or rest api access to the management interface, so that you can quickly reset/reconfigure a node, changing vlan assignement, and so on.

It's not a secret that I like to use Ansible for ad-hoc tasks, and I thought that it would be (again) a good tool for that quick task. If you have used Ansible already, you know that you have to declare nodes and variables (not needed, but really useful) in ...

Switching from Ethernet to Infiniband for Gluster access (or why we had to ...)

As explained in my previous (small) blog post, I had to migrate a Gluster setup we have within Infra. As said in that previous blog post too, Gluster is really easy to install, and sometimes it can even "smells" too easy to be true. One thing to keep in mind when dealing with Gluster is that it's a "file-level" storage solution, so don't try to compare it with "block-level" solutions (so typically a NAS vs SAN comparison, even if "SAN" itself is wrong for such discussion, as SAN is what's *between* your nodes and the storage itself, just a reminder.)

Within infra, we have a multiple nodes Gluster setup, that we use for multiple things at the same time. The Gluster volumes are used to store some files, but also to host (different gluster volumes with different settings/ACLs) KVM virtual-disks (qcow2). People knowing me will say : "hey, but for performances reasons, it's faster to just dedicate for example a partition , or a Logical Volume instead of using qcow2 images sitting on top a filesystem for Virtual Machines, right ?" and that's true. But with our limited amount of machines, and a ...

Updating to Gluster 3.6 packages on CentOS 6

I had to do yesterday some maintenance yesterday on our Gluster nodes used within infra. Basically I had to reconfigure some gluster volumes to use Infiniband instead of Ethernet. (I'll write a dedicated blog post about that migration later).

While a lot of people directly consume packages from (for example, you'll be able (soon) to also install directly those packages on CentOS, through packages built by the Storage SIG. At the moment I'm writing this blog post, gluster 3.6.1 packages are built and available on our Community Build Server Koji setup , but still in testing (and unsigned).

"But wait, there are already glusterfs packages tagged 3.6 in CentOS 6.6, right ? " will you say. Well, yes, but not the full stack. What you see in the [base] (or [updates]) repository are the client packages, as for example a base CentOS 6.x can be a gluster client (through fuse, or libgfapi - really interesting to speed up qemu-kvm instead of using the default fuse mount point ..) , but the -server package isn't there. So the reason why you ...