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overlay-boot(8)
===============
:doctype: manpage
:revdate: {sys:date "+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"}
:COLON: :
:EQUALS: =
NAME
----
overlay-boot - Start a subhost with overlay root filesystem.
SYNOPSIS
--------
*overlay-boot* _conf_
DESCRIPTION
-----------
*overlay-boot* is the main script in a small collection of
administration scripts for containerizing services with minimal ado.
It starts a "subhost" with a dedicated network namespace, and the
mount and pid namespaces separated from the main host by means of
_unshare_, and the subhost root file system may be set up as an
overlay of the main host filesystem, for keeping the subhost services
distinctly separate from the main host.
A subhost is started by nominating its _configuration file_ on the
command line for *overlay-boot*. This is a plain text file with a
small collection of "variables" that tell how the subhost is set up.
*overlay-boot* spawns a subprocess that invokes a command shell within
an chroot into "unshared" subhost root filesystem, all similar to the
bootup of any odd computer, and therafter the subhost "runs" in the
way of a virtual machine or container environment.
The administrator may "enter" the subhost execution environment to
perform adminstrative tasks by means of *overlay-go*, which starts an
interactive shell within the subhost namespaces. The subhost may also
be set up with users and an _sshd_ service as needed.
Subhost execution is stopped with *overlay-stop*.
OPTIONS
-------
An *overlay-boot* subhost is defined in a configuration file that is a
plain text file with a number of variable assignments. Each assignment
is written with the varable name flush left and immediately followed
by an equal sign, The rest of that line (ignoring leading and trailing
spaces) is its value. But if that value startes with an exclamation
mark, then the line is a command to run during start-up so as to
generate the value. See examples below.
*NAME*::
This variable declares a short name for the subhost, and should be no
more than 12 printable ascii characters. The base name of the
configuration file is used by default. I.e., a configuration file
named +foo.conf+ by default names its subhost +foo+ unless there is a
+NAME+ variable says differently.
*BASE*::
This variable declares a pathname for a directory that is considered
to be a "base" for the subhost setup. This is the only required
variable.
+
A typical subhost setup is defined by a dedicated directory that
contains the configuration file and the three mount points "root",
"work" and "live".
*CABLES*::
This variable declares the subhost networking in terms of its virtual
cables. The value is a space separated list of "virtual cable
specifiers", each consisting of an equal sign optionally with a bridge
name to the left and optionally a MAC address to the right. See the
section on Networking below for more details.
INIT::
This variable is a command to run (with environment variable CONFIG
set) that outputs on its standard output the series of commands for
the running subhost. The default value for this variable is
+/var/lib/overlay-boot/overlay-init+.
*LIVE*::
This variable nominates the mount point for the running subhost's root
file system. It defaults to +$BASE/live+ The nominated directory must
exist, and depending on the directory pathnames in the +UPPER+ and
+LOWER+ variables, the subhost root filesystem is one of
+
1. a pre-mounted directory,
2. bind mounted with UPPER, or
3. and overlay mount of UPPER (and WORK) over LOWER. See also the
UPPER variable below.
*LOG*::
This variable nominates the logfile to use by +overlay-boot+ when
running the subhost. The default is +/tmp/overlay-$NAME.log+.
*LOWER*::
This variable nominates the "lower" filesystem of an overlay mount.
This will be accessed read-only, and it is intended to be the
operating system root file system. The default is +/+, i.e. the main
host root filesystem. When overlay is not desired, then LOWER should
be the smae as UPPER.
*POSTMOUNT*::
This variable is a command line to run (with environment variable
CONFIG set) following the setup of the subhost root filesystem and
before the services are started. The default for this variable is
+/var/lib/overlay-mount/overlay-postmount+. Note that this command is
executed within the mount namespace of the subhost, and still with the
main host as root filesystem. The POSTMOUNT command is executed for
all of the three different root filesystem setup variants.
*PREMOUNT*::
This variable is a command line to run (with environment variable
CONFIG set) just before the setup of the subhost root filesystem and
before the services are started. The default for this variable is
+overlay-premount+ Note that this command is executed within the mount
namespace of the subhost, and still with the main host as root
filesystem. The PREMOUNT command is executed for both the overlay and
bind mount variants of root filesystem setup but not for plain root
filesystem, which does not involve mounting LIVE.
*RAM_SIZE*::
This variable configures the subhost +/run+ directory which by default
is mounted as a +tmpfs+ of 50M. Use +none+ to avoid that mount, and
otherwise the desired +tmpfs+ size.
*START*::
This variable names the services to be started on the overlay-boot
startup. The default value is +networking ssh+.
+
Note that if no services are started, then +overlay-init+ starts a
+dummy_service+ so as to keep +/.reaper+ from running out of child
processes, as it otherwise will exit and thereby terminate
+overlay-boot+.
*UPPER*::
This variable nominates the "upper" filesystem for an overlay mount.
This will be accessed read-write and it constitutes the "private"
files of the subhost.
8 months ago
+
If UPPER is different from LOWER, then the root file system is set up
as an overlay mount. In that case WORK (below) must be defined as a
directory outside of but on the same mount as UPPER.
8 months ago
+
If UPPER is the same as LOWER, then the subhost root filesystem is not
setup as an overlay. Rather, if UPPER is different from LIVE, the root
filesystem is set up as a bind mount, and if UPPER and LIVE are also
the same, then LIVE is used as root filesystem without additional
mounting.
*WORK*::
This variable nominates the "work" directory for an overlay mount. It
has to be a writable directory on the same mount device as the UPPER
directory.
*SHARE*::
This variable nominates a pathname under $LOWER to bind-mount onto the
same pathname under $LIVE so as to share that directory tree into the
overlay. The SHARE variable is a special configuration variable in
that the value does not allow exclamation mark evaluation, and that it
may occur many times for declaring multiple shared subdirectories.
Networking
----------
*overlay-boot* sets up a nework namespace named by the subhost
+$NAME+, and uses the +CABLES+ variable to set up _veth_ type virtual
cables. The host end of such cables are named by +$NAME+ followed by a
number from 0 and up while the subhost end are named by +eth+ followed
by the same number.
As mentioned above, +CABLES+ is a space separated list of cable
specifiers, each consisting of an optional bridge interface name, an
optional MAC adddress and with a required equal sign ("=") between
them.
The bridge interface name, when given, will be given control of the
host end cable interface. When the bridge interface name is omitted
(empty) then the host end interface attracts an _ifup $IF_ attempt
instead.
The MAC address, if given, is used for the subhost end cable
interface, which otherise gets its MAC address from the kernel,
possibly a different one upon each start.
EXAMPLES
--------
=== /opt/subhost/mta/mta.conf
****
8 months ago
----
BASE=.
CABLES= =
START= rsyslog networking ssh saslauthd postfix dovecot
8 months ago
----
****
The above example assumes a directory +/opt/subhost/mta+ that contains
the configuration file +mta.conf+ and directories +root+, +work+ and
+live+. *overlay-boot* will set up an overlay mount on +live+ with
+root+ as UPPER, +work+ as WORK and +/+ as LOWER, i.e. an overlay of
the main host filesystem. Further, the running subhost will feature a
virtual cable to the main host, where the subhost end is named +eth0+
and the main host end is named +mta0+, and upon start, an +ifup mta0+
is attempted at the host end while the subhost end is handled via its
neworking service.
=== /opt/subhost/tiny/tiny.conf
****
----
BASE=.
CABLES= =
START= none
LOWER= !mkdir -p base work root live ; echo base
WORK= work
UPPER= root
LIVE= live
----
****
The +tiny+ subhost would be for overlaying a separate +debootstrap+
root filesystem, without any services (since +START+ is empty). This
gets started with a +dummy_service+ to hold the overlay for access via
+overlay-go+. The +dummy_service+ sets up and listens on a pipe at
+/run/dummy_service+, and exits when anything is written to that.
SEE ALSO
--------
*overlay-stop*, *overlay-go*