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Assisted Installer Based Installation

The Assisted Installer (AI for short in this doc) is yet another method DCI OCP agent can use to install OpenShift clusters. If you're curious about the Assisted Installer you can read several resources already out there. This document will focus on explaining how the AI can be used to install an OpenShift cluster through the DCI agent.

Table of contents


You can consult the upstream documentation on the prerequisites needed for a cluster, but they are basically the same as with any other OCP cluster you intend to run, to summarize, for a baremetal cluster you will need:

  • 3 nodes minimum with:
  • 8 CPU cores
  • 16G RAM
  • 100GB Storage

AI does not use a dedicated bootstrap node, instead it re-purposes the bootstrap node into a control plane node when it completes the installation.

For the DCI Jumpbox you will need:

  • A RHEL 8 provisioned server with:
  • 8G of RAM just to run the AI service
  • 100G of disk space in the location where you configure the service to store the ISO files

An explanation of the process

The installation is a little different from the default IPI install. First of all, we leverage the crucible project to perform the installation. Crucible is entirely based on ansible, so that's why we're able to integrate it so seamlessly with the OCP agent.

Most of the heavy lifting is done by crucible, we "decorate" the process around by having the DCI specific bits trigger in the proper places. Here's more or less a breakdown of the whole process

  1. Process starts, the agent creates a new job in the DCI dashboard
  2. Some checks are performed to make sure the installation can proceed
  3. NTP server is installed/configured
  4. If this is a disconnected / restricted network environment:
    1. The OCP release artifacts are downloaded
    2. A container registry is created
    3. Container/operator images are mirrored to the local registry
    4. An HTTP server is created
    5. Configuration is put in place so the Assisted Installer uses the locally cached resources
  5. VM are created if defined in the inventory file
  6. DNS server is installed/configured
  7. The Assisted Installer service is setup and started
  8. Sushy tools service is configured
  9. A Discovery ISO file is created and mounted on all nodes in the cluster via sushy tools / virtual media over HTTP
  10. A new cluster is created in the Assisted Installer service
  11. Nodes are rebooted, they will use the discovery ISO previously mounted to talk to the Assisted Installer service and fetch their installation / configuration
  12. Installation process is monitored until completion
  13. The KUBECONFIG file is fetched and used to perform some connectivity checks on the OCP cluster
  14. Process ends, the job is completed in the DCI dashboard


The first change you will notice right away is that the inventory file has a completely different format: instead of the INI-style format default configuration shows, it is a YAML file. Take a look at the contents of samples/assisted/ file in the source repo and adjust as needed. This file comes ready to work in a connected environment, if this fits your use case you only need to adjust your node details e.g. your cluster node details.


Under the nodes section where each master and worker is defined you will see a vendor variable. If it's not specified at the node level it's probably specified at the parent and inherited.

Types of vendors:

  • KVM
  • PXE
  • DELL
  • HPE
  • ZT

KVM will generate virtual hosts in libvirt and PXE will setup dhcp and tftpboot so that your systems can netboot. All the other types are vendor specific and use redfish to attach virtual media for discovery.

Disconnected environment

This setup is a little bit different from the regular disconnected environment from the IPI method mainly because of the changes in the underlying mechanism that performs the installation and the inventory format change.

If you need to setup a disconnected environment, there's a couple more things you'll have to adjust:

  • Set dci_disconnected to true, this can be done in the inventory file or the settings.yml file
  • Adjust the section called Restricted Network configuration as shown in samples/assisted/ file. Here's a brief explanation of each var:
  • setup_registry_service: Creates a container registry in the jumpbox
  • setup_http_store_service: Creates an HTTP cache in the jumpbox
  • use_local_registry: Tells the Assisted Installer to use the previously configured container registry
  • The Local Cache configuration sub section serves to tell the agent where in the jumpbox we're going to store the cached files. Make sure wherever you put them there's enough space (at least 200G) to hold your cached files, and routinely monitor for disk consumption:
    • downloads_path where the OCP files (ISO files, RAW images, client tools, etc) will be downloaded
    • assisted_installer_dir where the data needed by the Assisted Installer service(s) will be stored such as database files, etc
    • registry_dir where the locally configured container registry layers will be stored
    • sushy_dir stores the files needed by the sushy service, this directory may grow indiscriminately if left unchecked, as it creates boot ISO files for every node install
    • http_dir will store the files served over HTTP e.g. the discovery ISO
    • vm_create_scripts_dir for a virtual environment only: holds the shell scripts that tell libvirt how to create the VMs
    • images_dir for a virtual environment only: where the generated libvirt OS images will be stored

Virtual Lab Quick Start

If you want to get started quickly with the OCP Agent to test the Assisted Installer the path is fairly easy, assuming you have a jumpbox that meets the requirements. Here's a quick step by step list of what you need to do:

  1. Create an SSH key for the dci-openshift-agent user and add it to its own ~/.ssh/authorized_keys and to root's authorized keys, in such a manner that you can ssh dci-openshift-agent@localhost and ssh root@localhost
  2. Generate the libvirt test inventory file from the sample template, there are 3 templates to choose from: sno (single node openshift), controlplane (only 3 control plane nodes), and split (3+3 control and data plane nodes). To generate the inventory file, login to your jumpbox and execute the following as the dci-openshift-agent user:

    bash INSTALL_TYPE=sno # or 'controlplane' or 'split' cd ~/samples/assisted_on_libvirt ansible-playbook -i $PWD/dev/$INSTALL_TYPE parse-template.yml

  3. Copy the generated file from ~dci-openshift-agent/hosts to /etc/dci-openshift-agent/hosts

  4. Start the agent with dci-openshift-agent-ctl -s

That's it, after the process is complete, you should be left with a ~dci-openshift-agent/clusterconfigs-dciokd/kubeconfig file which you can use to interact with your OCP cluster.

!!! note The name of the cluster is prepended to the clusterconfigs directory, if you change the cluster name then the path to the kubeconfig file will need to be adjusted

Single Node Openshift

If you want to test SNO with Assisted Installer in your local/development environment, there's a few changes you need to make to your inventory:

  1. Remove all workers from the inventory file and leave a single master in the inventory file
  2. Point both the api_vip and ingress_vip values to the same IP address you gave the single master
  3. Because SNO requires a minimum of 8 cores on the single master, make sure your vm_spec in your vm_nodes section for your master has cpu_cores: 8 (it is possible to adjust the memory and disk size in this section too)

That should be all that is required to install in SNO mode, the playbooks will install a SNO cluster and leave you with a kubeconfig/access to the cluster once finished.

!!! note One of the inventory files in the samples directory creates a single node openshift cluster, take a look at it for reference