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Cepheus - Build and Manage Ceph Clusters


If you're like me then you just want to start going and you may read later :). Cepheus will do a full automated build of Ceph for any size cluster. To jump right in and build a Vagrant version of Ceph do the following:

./CEPH_UP -b -v

  1. The Vagrant version will allow you to build a 4 node system using VBox.
  2. It can take up to an hour depending on the machine your building this on!
  3. It's doing A LOT!
  4. You can test different versions of Ceph or whatever you can dream up.
  5. It's doing A WHOLE LOT!

Details are below TL;DR...


Powerful and flexible automated build/maintenance and management environment for Ceph based on the following tools:


Chef and Ansible (orchestration)


CollectD (optional)

Graphite (optional)

Zabbix (optional)

HAProxy (optional)

KeepAliveD (optional)

Bird (optional)

Klaus - Hybrid Web Server/Agent (optional)

Redis (optional)

Solr (optional)

Integrations into Splunk (optional)

The optional items above are set in the JSON file for the Chef environment. For example, the Vagrant development build uses a file called vagrant.json. In your production environment you may name it something like production.json.

How to use Cepheus to build Ceph

There are multiple ways to use Cepheus to build Ceph. Most all environments only show you the most basic and easiest way to build out a Ceph cluster which doesn't really help when it comes to your bare-metal environment.

Build using Cepheus repo - Simplest

Build using PXE Booting - Advanced

Building - Base Requirements (all methods)

No matter which way you decide to build out your Ceph cluster you will need to know what servers you're going to use and their basic information which makes up the Inventory of your cluster. For example, you need to know the following:

Most of the items below in this section may not be required if not using PXE booting or LAG (network bonding)

  1. Host names
  2. NIC MAC Addresses (public and private if using two NICs or ports)
  3. Ceph Role(s) you want the given host represent (i.e., Ceph Monitor, Ceph OSD, Ceph RGW, etc)
  4. IP addresses of each host (2 per host if using different public/private NICs or 1 if using combined public/private or 1 Ceph Monitor or Ceph RGW since "clients" only use the public interface)
  5. Operations user name. Most enterprises use a default operations like account so use it or create one. It should link to the key in the next step. This use MUST have sudo rights
  6. Private SSH Key needed to access each host in the cluster. Create one if you do not have a default one you already use
  7. (Advanced) If each rack is on a different subnet then you also need to know that
  8. (Advanced - PXE) IPMI addresses if you plan on using PXE booting
  9. (Advanced - PXE) Make sure the PXE boot option is enabled on the bios of each NIC in each host. If the bios on the NICs are not set correctly to PXE boot then nothing will happen
  10. (Advanced - PXE) Depending on how your racks are setup (i.e., different subnets) then you may have to setup an option on your ToRs (Top of Rack Switches) to initially route PXE traffic to your bootstrap node since it will be the PXE boot server. Not required if not PXE booting
  11. (Advanced) If your nodes are using bonding (LAG) then you need to know that too. This is very important if PXE booting because most people do the initial PXE boot in a non-bond and then run a recipe that bonds the NICs on those nodes where bonding will be used. Important, make sure that your ToRs are set for bonding at that phase or you will not be able to see your nodes
  12. (Advanced) Required IF you use RHEL and use a Satellite server to manage your licenses and repo then this information is needed too along with any RPM keys. If you are also PXE booting then the initial ISO will automatically use this information and setup your nodes for you
  13. (Advanced) Required IF you use Ubuntu. Need the repo keys and repo addresses that act as the master repo to the Ceph cluster
  14. IMPORTANT - Make sure all of your enterprise firewall rules have been updated to allow the Ceph cluster access to your enterprise git repo and other package managers used by your enterprise. This is unique to your environment
  15. IMPORTANT - Make sure your internal DNS is setup to know about all of your Ceph host names (both A and PTR records)
  16. IMPORTANT - Applies to all methods. Setup two private git repos in your Enterprise git environment that can be accessed:

cepheus - Mirror of the public Cepheus repo (keep updated)

cepheus-private - Cepheus private repo that holds all of your private data. There is a public version that we have that shows you how to do this at

Most Enterprise environments for storage are not allowed direct access to the outside world. Because of this there needs to be ways to get Ceph and other packages that are used for the Ceph cluster. The most common is an internal GIT server or Github Enterprise server. This works for the private repos like Cepheus but it may not be good for large packages and files (some versions of Enterprise Github support Large Files). In these cases you can use a common repo (like those stated in #12 and #13 above) or a universal package manager like Artifactory from jfrog.

The choice is yours on how to pull in files but you will need someway. Some enterprises will temporarily allow access to the outside long enough to pull everything in and then close it back. This works for the initial build but getting updates will be a challenge. Just keep this in mind because there are many ways to solve it.

The /data/manifest.yaml contains a list of GEMs, RPMs or DEBs and tarballs that are required for the build environment. Those items can be compressed to be moved onto the bootserver if not using the PXE Boot method. The PXE Boot method bundles up everything in the custom ISO.

Building - Cepheus Repo (Simplest)

This process is similar to the Vagrant Local Build seen below except that all nodes are actual bare-metal and all of the nodes used by Cepheus has already been built by another process. This is common in Enterprises where a different group is responsible for building out all base nodes according to enterprise specs. In this case the build group will provide the hardware information needed in the Base Requirements section above such as NIC MAC addresses, IPs and maybe operations like user and ssh keys. It's very important to have SSH Keys for the primary user that will do all Ceph operations (not Ceph user in Jewel and later) but an operations like user account. Ansible needs this to orchestrate commands to all of the nodes.

  1. Login to bootstrap node using the operations like user (vagrant user on Vagrant) (assumes you have information requested above)
  2. Have sudo rights, installed GIT on bootstrap node and ssh keys on all nodes
  3. Copy and paste the following bash shell block into a file called
# Cepheus
git clone && ./cepheus-build/

Clone the two private repos cepheus and cepheus-private that you mirrored and created above

Building - PXE Booting (Advanced)

The most automated is the PXE booting method. This process pulls down all dependencies and the OS ISO you want to use. It reads in the yaml data files from /data/private where all of the host information is held that was collected in the previous step.

Based on the data this process will build a custom ISO of your OS along with kickstart files and packages needed to build out your cluster. Once the ISO is built you simply move it to an area that the initial bootstrap node can find it via it's IPMI interface (some hardware vendors call it iLO or something else). Once in the IPMI interface simply virtually mount the ISO via the menu options and start the host.

The custom ISO will automatically start the process and lay down the OS and everything needed for the bootstrap node. Once the bootstrap node is built then you can SSH into it using the SSH Key you collected in the previous step.

By default there will be a build script in the home directory of the operations user from the previous step. Launch it and it will start the process of PXE booting your entire Ceph cluster based on the data in /data/private.

After the PXE booting is complete you should be able to ssh into each machine using the operations account collected in the previous step. Ceph should be fully setup.

Cepheus - Ceph Management and Update Process

Building - Development and Testing (local) - Prerequisites for local build

  1. Vagrant - (for development or just spinning up VM version of cluster - not needed for bare metal cluster)
  2. VirtualBox -
  3. Git


  1. Fork/clone repo
  2. Launch Vagrant version to see how it works and to do development and testing by issuing ./CEPH_UP command in the root of this project.

Process (Vagrant)

To start a normal build simply do the following (no proxy):


NB: If you want to test the upstream ceph-chef cookbook then clone that repo, make your changes, copy your cloned repo into the cookbooks section of this cloned repo and then run the following command to start the build and test:

./CEPH_UP -d 0 <-- Run in debug mode

NB: Behind firewall:

./CEPH_UP -p [whatever your http(s) proxy url]


./CEPH_UP -d 0 -p [whatever your http(s) proxy url] <-- Run in debug mode behind firewall

What happens...

  1. Download CentOS 7.1 box version from Chef Bento upstream (7.2 and 7.3 versions of the bento/centos have sshd issues)
  2. Download required cookbooks including ceph-chef which is the most important
  3. Issue vagrant up that creates 4 VMs (dynamic and part of yaml file in /bootstrap/vagrant directory)
  4. Spins down VMs and adds network adapters and interfaces, sets up folder sharing and start VMs again
  5. Mounts shared folders (makes it easy to move cookbooks etc to VMs) and sets network and then setups up the bootstrap node ceph-bootstrap as a Chef Server
  6. Sets up chef-client on all other VMs
  7. Adds roles for specific Ceph types such as ceph-mon and ceph-osd etc for the given VM
  8. Updates the environment json file (contains all of your override values of the defaults - different one for vagrant.json, staging.json and/or production.json) [Only vagrant.json is used in this repo. You will need to create the specific environment json file for your targeted environment]
  9. Creates the Ceph Monitors first (ceph-mon role)
  10. Creates the Ceph OSD nodes (ceph-osd role)
  11. Creates the Ceph RGW node (ceph-radosgw role)
  12. Creates the Ceph restapi node (ceph-restapi role)
  13. Finishes the cluster simply by enabling the services

Nodes (Vagrant) - Creates an S3 Ceph Object Store Example Cluster

These are the default names. You can can call them anything you want. The main thing is to keep them numbered and not named like a pet but instead, named like cattle :)

ceph-bootstrap - Bootstrap node that acts as the Chef Server, Repo Mirror (in some cases) and Cobbler Server

ceph-vm1 - VM that has the ceph-mon, ceph-osd and ceph-radosgw roles applied

ceph-vm2 - VM that has the ceph-mon and ceph-osd roles applied

ceph-vm3 - VM that has the ceph-mon and ceph-osd roles applied

NOTE: ceph-bootstrap does NOT contain any ceph functionality

RADOS Gateway (RGW) uses civetweb as the embedded web server. You can login to any VM and issue a simple curl command (i.e., curl localhost or curl or curl ceph-vm1). The hosts file is updated on all three VMs to support FQDN and short names.

Login to VMs (Vagrant)

Must be located in the [wherever root dir]/bootstrap/vagrant directory (vagrant keeps a .vagrant directory with node information in it)


vagrant ssh ceph-bootstrap

vagrant ssh ceph-vm1

vagrant ssh ceph-vm2

vagrant ssh ceph-vm3

NOTE: These names can be changed in the [wherever root dir]/bootstrap/vagrant/servers_config.yaml file.

Sidebar: Vagrant uses port forwarding on the first network adapter of a given VM it manages. It then uses ssh port on the localhost to make it simple on itself.

Helper Scripts (used in development to break tasks into smaller units of work)



Note: The only one you must call is CEPH_UP which starts the whole process from creation of VMs to running Ceph cluster

For documentation on how to use this cookbook, refer to the USAGE section.

Note: The documentation is a WIP along with a few other features. This repo is actively managed.

If there are issues then please go to the ISSUES section in this repo.



>= 12.8+


Tested as working:

  • Ubuntu Trusty (16.04) [Still verifying updates work]
  • CentOS (7.3)
  • RHEL (7.3)


[IMPORTANT - Cookbook that everything else is based on]

The ceph cookbook requires the following cookbooks from Chef:


The following two GEMS will need to be pulled down and loaded onto the production nodes for envrionments that can't reach the outside. The does this automatically.

  • chef-sugar-3.4.0


The following templates are Jinja2 based templates. The template_engine found in data/templates reads the production yaml data files and runs through these files and builds the production.json, kickstart, linux grub and operations key files. The erb are Chef templates but the template_engine script builds and puts those erb files in the template/default area of the cookbook as part of the preprocess.

  • base_environment.json.j2
  • cepheus_bootstrap_rhel.ks.j2
  • cepheus_node_rhel_nonosd.ks.erb.j2
  • cepheus_node_rhel_osd.ks.erb.j2
  • linux.cfg.j2


Ceph cluster design is beyond the scope of this README, please turn to the public wiki, mailing lists, visit our IRC channel, or contact Red Hat:

This cookbook can be used to implement a chosen cluster design. Most of the configuration is retrieved from node attributes, which can be set by an environment or by a wrapper cookbook. A basic cluster configuration will need most of the following attributes:

  • node['ceph']['config']['fsid'] - the cluster UUID
  • node['ceph']['config]'['global']['public network'] - a CIDR specification of the public network
  • node['ceph']['config]'['global']['cluster network'] - a CIDR specification of a separate cluster replication network
  • node['ceph']['config]'['global']['rgw dns name'] - the main domain of the radosgw daemon

Most notably, the configuration does NOT need to set the mon initial members, because the cookbook does a node search to find other mons in the same environment.

The other set of attributes that this recipe needs is node['ceph']['osd_devices'], which is an array of OSD definitions, similar to the following:

  • {'device' => '/dev/sdb'} - Use a full disk for the OSD, with a small partition for the journal
  • {'type' => 'directory', 'device' => '/src/node/sdb1/ceph'} - Use a directory, and have a small file for the journal
  • {'device' => '/dev/sde', 'dmcrypt' => true} - Store the data encrypted by passing --dmcrypt to ceph-disk-prepare
  • {'device' => '/dev/sdc', 'journal' => '/dev/sdd2'} - use a full disk for the OSD with a custom partition for the journal

Using a Policy Wrapper Cookbook

To automate setting several of these node attributes, it is recommended to use a policy wrapper cookbook. This allows the ability to use Chef Server cookbook versions along with environment version restrictions to roll out configuration changes in an ordered fashion.

It also can help with automating some settings. For example, a wrapper cookbook could peek at the list of harddrives that ohai has found and populate node['ceph']['osd_devices'] accordingly, instead of manually typing them all in:

node.override['ceph']['osd_devices'] = node['block_device'].each.reject{ |name, data| name !~ /^sd[b-z]/} { |name, data| {'journal' => "/dev/#{name}"} }

For best results, the wrapper cookbook's recipe should be placed before the Ceph cookbook in the node's runlist. This will ensure that any attributes are in place before the Ceph cookbook runs and consumes those attributes.

Ceph Monitor

Ceph monitor nodes should use the ceph-mon role.


  • ceph-chef::default

Ceph Metadata Server

Ceph metadata server nodes should use the ceph-mds role.


  • ceph-chef::default

Ceph OSD

Ceph OSD nodes should use the ceph-osd role


  • ceph-chef::default

Ceph RADOS Gateway

Ceph RADOS Gateway nodes should use the ceph-radosgw role



  • node['ceph']['search_environment'] - a custom Chef environment to search when looking for mon nodes. The cookbook defaults to searching the current environment

  • node['ceph']['branch'] - selects whether to install the stable, testing, or dev version of Ceph

  • node['ceph']['version'] - install a version of Ceph that is different than the cookbook default. If this is changed in a wrapper cookbook, some repository urls may also need to be replaced, and they are found in attributes/repo.rb. If the branch attribute is set to dev, this selects the gitbuilder branch to install

  • node['ceph']['extras_repo'] - whether to install the ceph extras repo. The tgt recipe requires this

  • node['ceph']['config']['fsid'] - the cluster UUID

  • node['ceph']['config']['global']['public network'] - a CIDR specification of the public network

  • node['ceph']['config']['global']['cluster network'] - a CIDR specification of a separate cluster replication network

  • node['ceph']['config']['config-sections'] - add to this hash to add extra config sections to the ceph.conf

  • node['ceph']['user_pools'] - an array of pool definitions, with attributes name, pg_num and create_options (optional), that are automatically created when a monitor is deployed

Ceph MON

  • node['ceph']['config']['mon'] - a hash of settings to save in ceph.conf in the [mon] section, such as 'mon osd nearfull ratio' => '0.70'

Ceph OSD

  • node['ceph']['osd_devices'] - an array of OSD definitions for the current node
  • node['ceph']['config']['osd'] - a hash of settings to save in ceph.conf in the [osd] section, such as 'osd max backfills' => 2
  • node['ceph']['config']['osd']['osd crush location'] - this attribute can be set on a per-node basis to maintain Crush map locations

Ceph MDS

  • node['ceph']['config']['mds'] - a hash of settings to save in ceph.conf in the [mds] section, such as 'mds cache size' => '100000'
  • node['ceph']['cephfs_mount'] - where the cephfs recipe should mount CephFS
  • node['ceph']['cephfs_use_fuse'] - whether the cephfs recipe should use the fuse cephfs client. It will default to heuristics based on the kernel version

Ceph RADOS Gateway (RGW)

Note: Only supports the newer 'civetweb' version of RGW (not Apache)
  • node['ceph']['radosgw']['api_fqdn'] - what vhost to configure in the web server
  • node['ceph']['radosgw']['admin_email'] - the admin email address to configure in the web server
  • node['ceph']['radosgw']['port'] - if set, connects to the radosgw fastcgi over this port instead of a unix socket
  • node['ceph']['config']['global']['rgw dns name'] - the main domain of the radosgw daemon, to calculate the bucket name from a subdomain



The ceph_client LWRP provides an easy way to construct a Ceph client key. These keys are needed by anything that needs to talk to the Ceph cluster, including RGW, CephFS, and RBD access.


  • :add - creates a client key with the given parameters


  • :name - name attribute. The name of the client key to create. This is used to provide a default for the other parameters
  • :caps - A hash of capabilities that should be granted to the client key. Defaults to { 'mon' => 'allow r', 'osd' => 'allow r' }
  • :as_keyring - Whether the key should be saved in a keyring format or a simple secret key. Defaults to true, meaning it is saved as a keyring
  • :keyname - The key name to register in Ceph. Defaults to client.#{name}.#{hostname}
  • :filename - Where to save the key. Defaults to /etc/ceph/ceph.client.#{name}.#{hostname}.keyring if as_keyring and /etc/ceph/ceph.client.#{name}.#{hostname}.secret if not as_keyring
  • :owner - Which owner should own the saved key file. Defaults to root
  • :group - Which group should own the saved key file. Defaults to root
  • :mode - What file mode should be applied. Defaults to '00640'


The ceph_cephfs LWRP provides an easy way to mount CephFS. It will automatically create a Ceph client key for the machine and mount CephFS to the specified location. If the kernel client is used, instead of the fuse client, a pre-existing subdirectory of CephFS can be mounted instead of the root.


  • :mount - mounts CephFS
  • :umount - unmounts CephFS
  • :remount - remounts CephFS
  • :enable - adds an fstab entry to mount CephFS
  • :disable - removes an fstab entry to mount CephFS


  • :directory - name attribute. Where to mount CephFS in the local filesystem
  • :use_fuse - whether to use ceph-fuse or the kernel client to mount the filesystem. ceph-fuse is updated more often, but the kernel client allows for subdirectory mounting. Defaults to true
  • :cephfs_subdir - which CephFS subdirectory to mount. Defaults to '/'. An exception will be thrown if this option is set to anything other than '/' if use_fuse is also true


The ceph_pool LWRP provides an easy way to create and delete Ceph pools.

It assumes that connectivity to the cluster is setup and that admin credentials are available from default locations, e.g. /etc/ceph/ceph.client.admin.keyring.


  • :add - creates a pool with the given number of placement groups
  • :delete - deletes an existing pool


  • :name - the name of the pool to create or delete
  • :pg_num - number of placement groups, when creating a new pool
  • :create_options - arguments for pool creation (optional)
  • :force - force the deletion of an exiting pool along with any data that is stored in it


Style Guide

This cookbook requires a style guide for all contributions. Travis will automatically verify that every Pull Request follows the style guide.

  1. Install ChefDK
  2. Activate ChefDK's copy of ruby: eval "$(chef shell-init bash)"
  3. bundle install
  4. bundle exec rake style


This cookbook uses Test Kitchen to verify functionality. A Pull Request can't be merged if it causes any of the test configurations to fail.

  1. Install ChefDK
  2. Activate ChefDK's copy of ruby: eval "$(chef shell-init bash)"
  3. bundle install
  4. bundle exec kitchen test aio-debian-74
  5. bundle exec kitchen test aio-ubuntu-1204
  6. bundle exec kitchen test aio-ubuntu-1404


  • Author: Hans Chris Jones - Original creator of Chef-BCS for Bloomberg and Maintainer of Ceph-Chef and Ceph-Rust for Ceph

  • Copyright 2018, LambdaStack.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


Build Ceph clusters of any size - fast and simple





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