Referencing dynamic data

Overview

Sometimes it can be useful to refer to data in a Container Linux Config that isn't known until a machine boots, like its network address. This can be accomplished with coreos-metadata. coreos-metadata is a very basic utility that fetches information about the current machine and makes it available for consumption. By making it a dependency of services which requires this information, systemd will ensure that coreos-metadata has successfully completed before starting these services. These services can then simply source the fetched information and let systemd perform the environment variable expansions.

As of version 0.2.0, ct has support for making this easy for users. In specific sections of a config, users can enter in dynamic data between {}, and ct will handle enabling the coreos-metadata service and using the information it provides.

The available information varies by provider, and is expressed in different variables by coreos-metadata. If this feature is used a --provider flag must be passed to ct. Currently, the etcd and flannel sections are the only ones which support this feature.

Supported data by provider

This is the information available in each provider.

HOSTNAME PRIVATE_IPV4 PUBLIC_IPV4 PRIVATE_IPV6 PUBLIC_IPV6
Azure
Digital Ocean
EC2
GCE
Packet
OpenStack-Metadata
Vagrant-Virtualbox

Custom metadata providers

ct also supports custom metadata providers. To use the custom platform, modify the coreos-metadata service unit to execute your own custom metadata fetcher. The custom metadata fetcher must write an environment file /run/metadata/coreos defining a COREOS_CUSTOM_* environment variable for every piece of dynamic data used in the specified Container Linux Config. The environment variables are the same as in the Container Linux Config, but prefixed with COREOS_CUSTOM_.

Example

Assume https://example.com/metadata-script.sh is a script which communicates with a metadata service and then writes the following file to /run/metadata/coreos:

COREOS_CUSTOM_HOSTNAME=foobar
COREOS_CUSTOM_PRIVATE_IPV4=<The instance's private ipv4 address>
COREOS_CUSTOM_PUBLIC_IPV4=<The instance's public ipv4 address>

The following Container Linux Config downloads the metadata fetching script, replaces the ExecStart line in coreos-metadata service to use the script instead, and configures etcd using the metadata provided. Use the --platform=custom flag when transpiling.

storage:
  files:
    - filesystem: "root"
      path: "/opt/get-metadata.sh"
      mode: 0755
      contents:
        remote:
          url: "https://example.com/metadata-script.sh"

systemd:
  units:
    - name: "coreos-metadata.service"
      dropins:
       - name: "use-script.conf"
         contents: |
           [Service]
           # Empty ExecStart= prevents the previously defined ExecStart from running
           ExecStart=
           ExecStart=/opt/get-metadata.sh

etcd:
  version:                     "3.0.15"
  name:                        "{HOSTNAME}"
  advertise_client_urls:       "http://{PRIVATE_IPV4}:2379"
  initial_advertise_peer_urls: "http://{PRIVATE_IPV4}:2380"
  listen_client_urls:          "http://0.0.0.0:2379"
  listen_peer_urls:            "http://{PRIVATE_IPV4}:2380"
  initial_cluster:             "{HOSTNAME}=http://{PRIVATE_IPV4}:2380"

Behind the scenes

For a more in-depth walk through of how this feature works, let's look at the etcd example from the examples document.

etcd:
  version:                     "3.0.15"
  name:                        "{HOSTNAME}"
  advertise_client_urls:       "http://{PRIVATE_IPV4}:2379"
  initial_advertise_peer_urls: "http://{PRIVATE_IPV4}:2380"
  listen_client_urls:          "http://0.0.0.0:2379"
  listen_peer_urls:            "http://{PRIVATE_IPV4}:2380"
  initial_cluster:             "{HOSTNAME}=http://{PRIVATE_IPV4}:2380"

If we give this example to ct with the --platform=ec2 tag, it produces the following drop-in:

[Unit]
Requires=coreos-metadata.service
After=coreos-metadata.service

[Service]
EnvironmentFile=/run/metadata/coreos
Environment="ETCD_IMAGE_TAG=v3.0.15"
ExecStart=
ExecStart=/usr/lib/coreos/etcd-wrapper $ETCD_OPTS \
  --name="${COREOS_EC2_HOSTNAME}" \
  --listen-peer-urls="http://${COREOS_EC2_IPV4_LOCAL}:2380" \
  --listen-client-urls="http://0.0.0.0:2379" \
  --initial-advertise-peer-urls="http://${COREOS_EC2_IPV4_LOCAL}:2380" \
  --initial-cluster="${COREOS_EC2_HOSTNAME}=http://${COREOS_EC2_IPV4_LOCAL}:2380" \
  --advertise-client-urls="http://${COREOS_EC2_IPV4_LOCAL}:2379"

This drop-in specifies that etcd should run after the coreos-metadata service, and it uses /run/metadata/coreos as an EnvironmentFile. This enables the coreos-metadata service, and puts the information it discovers into environment variables. These environment variables are then expanded by systemd when the service starts, inserting the dynamic data into the command-line flags to etcd.