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Re: Hosting a GuixSD server on commodity hosting platforms, a journey

From: Marius Bakke
Subject: Re: Hosting a GuixSD server on commodity hosting platforms, a journey
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:08:03 +0100
User-agent: Notmuch/0.23.3 ( Emacs/25.1.1 (x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu)

Christopher Allan Webber <address@hidden> writes:

> Christopher Allan Webber writes:
>> What am I doing wrong?  I'm not totally sure... I feel like I'm
>> navigating a jungle out here in the OpenStack / Rackspace docs.  Here's
>> one thing I found:
>> So I probably need to execute this "import" command.  I guess that's
>> what's next...
> Well, I did a bit more exploration tonight with *some* progress, but
> still not success.  I followed the above link and got a task to generate
> an image based off my file.  Looks like the task took!  And it showed up
> in "image-list" with the glance command line client.  Sounds like
> progress!
> And hey, if I try to create the server now via the web UI... if I look
> to create an image based off the images list from
> "Saved -> Deleted Servers (!!!)" menu, I indeed see my image listed.
> Cool!  So I select that and click "create server".
> Ok... I wait a bit.  It says it's initializing it!
> Uhoh, suddenly the status turns to ERROR.  What's ERROR?  I don't know.
> It says ERROR, and it's red.  Hovering over it suggests I ask support.
> Hm.
> I wonder if I used the Nova command line client if I'd get more
> information, or if there's a way to query the API to get more info.
> Still, that's *some* progress... I kicked off generating an image
> generated via GuixSD, even if it didn't work at all... :)
> Relatedly!  User dvc in #guix on freenode suggests looking at
> which looks quite affordable and hey!  It has a
> "custom ISO" option.  If we can convert our USB boot stick thingy
> (presumably via xorriso) we could try generating a base server image
> from there.  I'd prefer to have a workflow where I go from handing off
> something made with "guix system vm-image" to some API, but maybe in the
> meanwhile Vultr would be a lower barrier to entry.
> In the meanwhile, anyone familiar enough with Nova or Rackspace want to
> give me hints on how to find out more about what ERROR means, more
> specifically? ;)

I've had the questionable privilege of working on Openstack for some
time, and indeed have a GuixSD system running on it. I can tell you that
any errors you see are not necessarily representative of what's
happening in the back-end, although it does sound like the Rackspace GUI
just spits out a generic message, instead of a flat-out lie..

The image I used was created by installing a bare-bones GuixSD to an LVM
device (e.g. with Qemu), then dumping this with `dd` before first boot
to create a "RAW" image. RAW is supported (required, actually) by Glance
if Ceph is used as the backing storage, but Rackspace only supports VHD.

I haven't looked into the fstab of the generated VM image, but it may be
hard-coded to '/dev/vda' whereas Xen creates '/dev/xvda' (IIRC). Though
it should at least try to boot if that was the case.

My best advice is to try doing a normal install in a VM from the USB
image (qcow2 probably works) and then convert it to the format your
cloud platform expects, instead of booting the VM image directly. I used
GPT with a "bios_grub" partition FWIW.

Make sure to use (title 'label) and appropriate FS labels, since the
root device path may vary between cloud platforms.

On a vaguely related note, I'm slowly working on a "native" GuixSD
hosting platform, where you will be able to submit (and share!)
configuration files and get a VM and/or disk image back. It's still a
long way off, but I could use some help building the web front-end once
the back-end is ready. Feel free to contact me for more details :)

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