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Frequently asked questions

Is it like cloning?

Not exactly, cloning requires taking machines offline for cloning process and you can not perform incremental updates. Even now we support receive functionality which pulls changed files from the server. By the end of summer of 2015 we're planning to have online incremental updates, which means that the machine can download and apply new snapshot while the machine is up, running and in use.

What operating systems are supported

Current LXC based template preparation supports major distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Gentoo, OpenSUSE, Arch. List of distributions which have prepared root filesystem tarballs available can be found on Linux containers server.

My Ubuntu 15.04 container doesn't start up!

There are currently issues with systemd based containers. In order to prepare Debian 8 jessie, Ubuntu 15.04 or anything that requires systemd please use host that already is running systemd.

Why not Puppet, Salt, Chef, Ansible?

Butterknife is not substitute for your favourite configuration management tool, it complements it. You can use the configuration management tool to set up the template, then use Butterknife to deploy the template and continue managing the workstations with the remote management system you already have in place. Using just Puppet etc means that all the workstations have to pull the individual packages causing whole lot of traffic on the network not to talk about the time spent on bootstrapping a machine.

Can I run the infrastructure on my own?

Absolutely, that was the plan - to provide tools to set up template machine, template versioning and deployment on bare metal. We've put extra effort into the naming scheme so you can mix templates from different servers, run a downstream server with your templates etc.

Isn't Btrfs unstable?

Btrfs support in Linux 3.16 has proven to be pretty reliable. We haven't faced any issues like we did with 3.14 and earlier kernels.

Why not ZFS?

ZFS is great for network attached storage and servers. To use ZFS at least 1GB of memory is reccommended, which most often means that you're not running ZFS on a workstation or laptop. Also ZFS was designed for 64-bit systems, at the moment ZFS builds for 32-bit Linuces but it's not considered stable [1]. Due to licensing issues it is not possible to merge the original ZFS driver in Linux upstream, meaning it's tricky to install any Linux-based OS on ZFS root filesystem.


Why not use CoreOS, Ubuntu Core, Docker, etc?

Most systems which provide atomic root filesystem updates are designed for headless servers and don't even have video drivers bundled with the operating system and even if they did it would be very tricky to use video hardware from within the containers. Butterknife attempts to provide atomic updates for workstations and at the same time remain compatible with already existing operating systems such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat etc and configuration management systems such as Puppet, Salt, etc.