Virsh provisioner is explicitly designed to be used for setup of virtual environments. Such environments are used to emulate production environment like tripleo-undercloud instances on one baremetal machine. It requires one prepared baremetal host (designated hypervisor) to be reachable through SSH initially.


First, Libvirt and KVM are installed and configured to provide a virtualized environment. Then, virtual machines are created for all requested nodes.


The first thing you need to decide before you deploy your environment is the Topology. This refers to the number and type of VMs in your desired deployment environment. If we use OpenStack as an example, a topology may look something like:

  • 1 VM called undercloud
  • 1 VM called controller
  • 1 VM called compute

To control how each VM is created, we have created a YAML file that describes the specification of each VM. For more information about the structure of the topology files and how to create your own, please refer to Topology.

Please see Bootstrap guide where usage is demonstrated.

  • --host-memory-overcommit
    By default memory overcommitment is false and provision will fail if Hypervisor’s free memory is lower than required memory for all nodes. Use –host-memory-overcommit True to change default behaviour.

Network layout

Baremetal machine used as host for such setup is called hypervisor. The whole deployment is designed to work within boundaries of this machine and (except public/natted traffic) shouldn’t reach beyond. The following layout is part of default setup defined in plugins defaults:

          +--------+ nic0 - public IP
          +--------+ nic1 - not managed
            ...                                              Libvirt VM's
          |                                                        |
    ------+--------+ data bridge (ctlplane, 192.0.2/24)            +------+ data (nic0)
    |     |                                                        |
libvirt --+--------+ management bridge (nat, dhcp, 172.16.0/24)    +------+ managementnt (nic1)
    |     |                                                        |
    ------+--------+ external bridge (nat, dhcp, 10.0.0/24)        +------+ external (nic2)

On hypervisor, there are 3 new bridges created with libvirt - data, management and external. Most important is data network which does not have DHCP and NAT enabled. This network can later be used as ctlplane for OSP director deployments (tripleo-undercloud). Other (usually physical) interfaces are not used (nic0, nic1, …) except for public/natted traffic. External network is used for SSH forwarding so client (or Ansible) can access dynamically created nodes.

NAT Forwarding

By default, all networks above are NATed, meaning that they private networks only reachable via the hypervisor node. infrared configures the nodes SSH connection to use the hypervisor host as proxy.

Bridged Network

Some use-cases call for direct access to some of the nodes. This is achieved by adding a network with forward: bridge in its attributes to the network-topology file, and marking this network as external network on the relevant node files.

The result will create a virtual bridge on the hypervisor connected to the main NIC by default. VMs attached to this bridge will be served by the same LAN as the hypervisor.

To specify any secondary NIC for the bridge, the nic property should be added to the network file under the bridge network:

    name: br1
    forward: bridge
    nic: eth1


Be careful when using this feature. For example, an undercloud connected in this manner can disrupt the LAN by serving as an unauthorized DHCP server.

Fore example, see tripleo node used in conjunction with 3_net_1_bridge network file:

infrared virsh [...] --topology-nodes ironic:1,[...] --topology-network 3_net_1_bridge [...]


  1. Setup libvirt and kvm environment
  2. Setup libvirt networks
  3. Download base image for undercloud (--image-url)
  4. Create desired amount of images and integrate to libvirt
  5. Define virtual machines with requested parameters (--topology-nodes)
  6. Start virtual machines

Environments prepared such in way are usually used as basic virtual infrastructure for tripleo-undercloud.


Virsh provisioner has idempotency issues, so infrared virsh ... --kill must be run before reprovisioning every time to remove libvirt resources related to active hosts form workspace inventory or infrared virsh ... --cleanup to remove ALL domains and nettworks (except ‘default’) from hypervisor.

Topology Extend

  • --topology-extend: Extend existing deployment with nodes provided by topology. If --topology-extend is True, all nodes from --topology-nodes will be added as new additional nodes

    infrared virsh [...] --topology-nodes compute:1,[...] --topology-extend yes [...]

Topology Shrink

  • --remove-nodes: Provide option for removing of nodes from existing topology:

    infrared virsh [...] --remove-nodes compute-2,compute3


If try to extend topology after you remove node with index lower than maximum, extending will fail. For example, if you have 4 compute nodes (compute-0,compute-1,compute-2,compute-3), removal of any node different than compute-3, will cause fail of future topology extending.

Multiply environments

In some use cases it might be needed to have multiply environments on the same host. Virsh provisioner currently supports that with --prefix parameter. Using it user can assign a prefix to created resources such as virtual instances, networks, routers etc.


--prefix shouldn’t be more than 4 characters long because of libvirt limitation on resources name length.

infrared virsh [...] --topology-nodes compute:1,controller1,[...] --prefix foo [...]

Will create resource with foo prefix. Resources from different environments could be differebtiaited using prefix, and virsh plugin will take care so they will not interfere with each other in terms of networking, virtual instances etc.

Cleanup procedure also supports --prefix parameter allowing to cleanup only needed environment, if --prefix is not given all resources on hypervisor will be cleaned.

Advanced Settings

  • --serial-files: When true, redirect the serial output to files that can be found under ‘/var/log/sfiles’ on the Hypervisor.