Supporting your cloud or platform

The upstream cloud-init project regularly accepts code contributions for new platforms that wish to support cloud-init.

Ways to add platform support

To add cloud-init support for a new platform, there are two possible approaches:

  1. Provide platform compatibility with one of the existing datasource definitions, such as nocloud via Several platforms, including Libvirt and Proxmox use this approach.

  2. Add a new datasource definition to upstream cloud-init. This provides tighter integration, a better debugging experience, and more control and flexibility of cloud-init’s interaction with the datasource. This option is more sensible for clouds that have a unique architecture.

Platform requirements

There are some technical and logistical prerequisites that must be met for cloud-init support.

Technical requirements

A cloud needs to be able to identify itself to cloud-init at runtime, and that the cloud be able to provide configuration to the instance.

A mechanism for self-identification

Each cloud platform must positively identify itself to the guest. This allows the guest to make educated decisions based on the platform on which it is running. On the x86 and arm64 architectures, many clouds identify themselves through DMI data. For example, Oracle’s public cloud provides the string '' in the DMI chassis-asset field.

Cloud-init-enabled images produce a log file with details about the platform. Reading through this log in /run/cloud-init/ds-identify.log may provide the information needed to uniquely identify the platform. If the log is not present, one can generate the log by running ds-identify manually.

The mechanism used to identify the platform will be required for ds-identify and the datasource module sections below.

A mechanism for cloud-init to retrieve configuration

There are different methods that cloud-init can use to retrieve cloud-configuration for configuring the instance. The most common method is a webserver providing configuration over a link-local network.

Logistical requirements

As with any open source project, multiple logistal requirements exist.

Testing access

A platform that isn’t available for testing cannot be independently validated. You will need to provide some means for community members and upstream developers to test and verify this platform. Code that cannot be used cannot be supported.

Maintainer support

A point of contact is required who can answer questions and occasionally provide testing or maintenance support. Maintainership is relatively informal, but there is an expectation that from time to time upstream may need to contact a the maintainer with inquiries. Datasources that appear to be unmaintained and/or unused may be considered for eventual removal.

Adding cloud-init support

There are multiple ways to provide user data, metadata, and vendor data, and each cloud solution prefers its own way. A datasource abstract base class defines a single interface to interact with the different clouds. Each cloud implementation must inherit from this base class to use this shared functionality and interface. See cloud-init/sources/ to see this class.

If you are interested in adding a new datasource for your cloud platform you will need to do all of the following:

Add datasource module cloudinit/sources/DataSource<CloudPlatform>.py

We suggest you start by copying one of the simpler datasources such as DataSourceHetzner.

Re-run datasource detection

While developing a new datasource it may be helpful to manually run datasource detection without rebooting the system.

To re-run datasource detection, you must first force ds-identify to re-run, then clean up any logs, and finally, re-run cloud-init:

sudo DI_LOG=stderr /usr/lib/cloud-init/ds-identify --force
sudo cloud-init clean --logs
sudo cloud-init init --local
sudo cloud-init init

Add tests for datasource module

Add a new file with some tests for the module to cloudinit/sources/test_<yourplatform>.py. For example, see cloudinit/sources/tests/

Update ds-identify

In systemd systems, ds-identify is used to detect which datasource should be enabled, or if cloud-init should run at all. You’ll need to make changes to tools/ds-identify.

Add tests for ds-identify

Add relevant tests in a new class to tests/unittests/ You can use TestOracle as an example.

Add your datasource name to the built-in list of datasources

Add your datasource module name to the end of the datasource_list entry in cloudinit/

Add your cloud platform to apport collection prompts

Update the list of cloud platforms in cloudinit/ This list will be provided to the user who invokes ubuntu-bug cloud-init.

Enable datasource by default in Ubuntu packaging branches

Ubuntu packaging branches contain a template file, config/cloud.cfg.tmpl, which ultimately sets the default datasource_list that is installed by distros that use the upstream packaging configuration.

Add documentation for your datasource

You should add a new file in doc/rtd/reference/datasources/<cloudplatform>.rst and reference it in doc/rtd/reference/datasources.rst

Benefits of including your datasource in upstream cloud-init

Datasources included in upstream cloud-init benefit from ongoing maintenance, compatibility with the rest of the codebase, and security fixes by the upstream development team.