Setting up a LAVA instance

The LAVA design designates the machine running Django and PostgreSQL as the lava-master and all other machines connected to that master which will actually be running the jobs are termed lava-slave machines.

Dependencies and recommends

Debian has the concept of Dependencies which must be installed and Recommends which are optional but expected to be useful by most users of the package in question. Opting out of installing Recommends is supported when installing packages, so if admins have concerns about extra packages being installed on the slaves (e.g. if using ARMv7 slaves or simply to reduce the complexity of the install) then Recommends can be omitted for the installation of these dependencies,

The 2016.6 release added a dependency on python-guestfs. The Recommends for GuestFS can be omitted from the installation, if admins desire, but this needs to be done ahead of the upgrade to 2016.6:

$ sudo apt --no-install-recommends install python-guestfs

Installing lava-dispatcher

If this machine is only meant to be a dispatcher for connected devices, then just install lava-dispatcher. The lava-server package is only needed on the master in each LAVA instance.

$ sudo apt install lava-dispatcher
  1. Change the dispatcher configuration in /etc/lava-dispatcher/lava-slave to allow the init script for lava-slave (/etc/init.d/lava-slave) to connect to the relevant lava-master instead of localhost. Change the port numbers, if required, to match those in use on the lava-master:

    # Configuration for lava-slave daemon
    # URL to the master and the logger
    # MASTER_URL="tcp://<lava-master-dns>:5556"
    # LOGGER_URL="tcp://<lava-master-dns>:5555"
    # Enable IPv6 to connect to the master and logger
    # IPV6="--ipv6"
    # Slave hostname
    # Should be set for host that have random hostname (containers, ...)
    # The hostname can be any unique string, except "lava-logs" which is reserved
    # for the lava-logs daemon.
    # HOSTNAME="--hostname <hostname.fqdn>"
    # Logging level should be uppercase (DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR)
    # Encryption
    # If set, will activate encryption using the master public and the slave
    # private keys
    # ENCRYPT="--encrypt"
    # MASTER_CERT="--master-cert /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/<master.key>"
    # SLAVE_CERT="--slave-cert /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/<slave.key_secret>"
  2. Restart lava-slave once the changes are complete:

    $ sudo service lava-slave restart
  3. The administrator of the master will then be able to allocate pipeline devices to this slave.


For security reasons, the slave does not declare the devices connected to it to the master. The LAVA configuration on the slave actually needs no knowledge of what is connected or where as long as services like ser2net are configured. All the LAVA configuration data is stored solely in the database of the master. Once this data is entered by the admin of the master, the slave then needs to connect and the admin can then select that slave for the relevant devices. Once selected, the slave can immediately start running pipeline jobs on those devices.

The administrator of the master will require the following information about the devices attached to each slave:

  1. Confirmation that a suitable template already exists, for each device i.e. Adding support for a device of a known type
  2. A completed and tested device dictionary for each device.

This information contains specific information about the local network setup of the slave and will be transmitted between the master and the slave in clear text over ZMQ. Any encryption would need to be arranged separately between the slave and the master. Information typically involves the hostname of the PDU, the port number of the device on that PDU and the port number of the serial connection for that device. The slave is responsible for ensuring that these ports are only visible to that slave. There is no need for any connections to be visible to the master.

Configuring apache2 on a worker

Some test job deployments will require a working Apache2 server to offer deployment files over the network to the device:

$ sudo cp /usr/share/lava-dispatcher/apache2/lava-dispatcher.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/
$ sudo a2ensite lava-dispatcher
$ sudo service apache2 restart
$ wget http://localhost/tmp/
$ rm index.html

You may also need to disable any existing apache2 configuration if this is a default apache2 installation:

$ sudo a2dissite 000-default
$ sudo service apache2 restart

Adding workers to the master

A new worker needs to be manually added to the master so that the admins of the master have the ability to assign devices in the database and enable or disable the worker.

To add a new worker:

$ sudo lava-server manage workers add <HOSTNAME>

To add a worker with a description:

$ sudo lava-server manage workers add --description <DESC> <HOSTNAME>

To add a worker in a disabled state:

$ sudo lava-server manage workers add --description <DESC> --disabled <HOSTNAME>

Workers are enabled or disabled in the Django admin interface by changing the display field of the worker. Jobs submitted to devices on that worker will fail, so it is also recommended that the devices would be made offline at the same time. (The django admin interface has support for selecting devices by worker and taking all selected devices offline in a single action.)


lava-logs is a reserved hostname. Any worker connecting with that hostname will be rejected by lava-master.

Using ZMQ authentication and encryption

lava-master and lava-slave use ZMQ to pass control messages and log messages. When using a slave on the same machine as the master, this traffic does not need to be authenticated or encrypted. When the slave is remote to the master, it is strongly recommended that the slave authenticates with the master using ZMQ curve so that all traffic can then be encrypted and the master can refuse connections which cannot be authenticated against the credentials configured by the admin.

To enable authentication and encryption, you will need to restart the master and each of the slaves. Once the master is reconfigured, it will not be possible for the slaves to communicate with the master until each is configured correctly. It is recommended that this is done when there are no test jobs running on any of the slaves, so a maintenance window may be needed before the work can start. ZMQ is able to cope with short interruptions to the connection between master and slave, so depending on the particular layout of your instance, the changes can be made on each machine before the master is restarted, then the slaves can be restarted. Make sure you test this process on a temporary or testing instance if you are planning on doing this for a live instance without using a maintenance window.

Encryption is particularly important when using remote slaves as the control socket (which manages starting and ending testjobs) needs to be protected when it is visible across open networks. Authentication ensures that only known slaves are able to connect to the master. Once authenticated, all communication will be encrypted using the certificates.

Protection of the secret keys for the master and each of the slaves is the responsibility of the admin. If a slave is compromised, the admin can delete the certificate from /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/ and restart the master daemon to immediately block that slave.

Create certificates

Encryption is supported by default in lava-master and lava-slave but needs to be enabled in the init scripts for each daemon. Start by generating a master certificate on the master:

$ sudo /usr/share/lava-dispatcher/ master

Now generate a unique slave certificate on each slave. The default name for any slave certificate is just slave but this is only relevant for testing. Use a name which relates to the hostname or location or other unique aspect of each slave. The admin will need to be able to relate each certificate to a specific slave machine:

$ sudo /usr/share/lava-dispatcher/ foo_slave_1

Distribute public certificates

Copy the public component of the master certificate to each slave. By default, the master public key will be /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/master.key and needs to be copied to the same directory on each slave.

Copy the public component of each slave certificate to the master. By default, the slave public key will be /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/slave.key.

Admins need to maintain the set of slave certificates in /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d - only certificates declared by active slaves will be used but having obsolete or possibly compromised certificates available to the master is a security risk.


Once enabled, the master will refuse connections from any slave which are either not encrypted or lack a certificate in /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/. So before restarting the master, stop each of the slaves:

$ sudo service lava-slave stop

Enable master encryption

The master will only authenticate the slave certificates if the master is configured with the --encrypt option. Edit /etc/lava-server/lava-master to enable encryption:

# Encryption
# If set, will activate encryption using the master public and the slave
# private keys

Also edit /etc/lava-server/lava-logs to enable encryption:

# Encryption
# If set, will activate encryption using the master public and the slave
# private keys

If you have changed the name or location of the master certificate or the location of the slave certificates, specify those locations and names explicitly, in each file:

# MASTER_CERT="--master-cert /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/<master.key_secret>"
# SLAVES_CERTS="--slaves-certs /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d"


Each master needs to find the secret key for that master and the directory containing all of the public slave keys copied onto that master by the admin.

See also


Enable slave encryption

See also


Edit /etc/lava-dispatcher/lava-slave to enable encryption by adding the enabling the --encrypt argument:

# Encryption
# If set, will activate encryption using the master public and the slave
# private keys

If you have changed the name or location of the master certificate or the location of the slave certificates, specify those locations and names in /etc/lava-dispatcher/lava-slave explicitly:

# MASTER_CERT="--master-cert /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/<master.key>"
# SLAVE_CERT="--slave-cert /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/<slave.key_secret>"


Each slave refers to the secret key for that slave and the public master key copied onto that slave by the admin.

Restarting master and slaves

For minimal disruption, the master and each slave can be prepared for encryption and authentication without restarting any of the daemons. Only upon restarting the master will the slaves need to authenticate.

Once all the slaves are configured restart the master and check the logs for a message showing that encryption has been enabled on the master. e.g.

2018-02-05 11:33:55,933    INFO [INIT] Marking all workers as offline
2018-02-05 11:33:55,983    INFO [INIT] Starting encryption
2018-02-05 11:33:55,984   DEBUG [INIT] Opening master certificate: /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/master.key_secret
2018-02-05 11:33:55,985   DEBUG [INIT] Using slaves certificates from: /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/
2018-02-05 11:33:55,986    INFO [INIT] LAVA master has started.
2018-02-05 11:33:55,986    INFO [INIT] Using protocol version 2

Now restart each slave in turn and watch for equivalent messages in the logs:

2018-02-05 11:34:42,035    INFO [INIT] LAVA slave has started.
2018-02-05 11:34:42,036    INFO [INIT] Using protocol version 2
2018-02-05 11:34:42,037    INFO [INIT] Starting encryption
2018-02-05 11:34:42,037   DEBUG Opening slave certificate: /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/codehelp.key_secret
2018-02-05 11:34:42,038   DEBUG Opening master certificate: /etc/lava-dispatcher/certificates.d/master.key
2018-02-05 11:34:42,038    INFO [INIT] Connecting to master as <codehelp>
2018-02-05 11:34:42,038    INFO [INIT] Greeting the master => 'HELLO'
2018-02-05 11:34:42,050    INFO [INIT] Connection with master established
2018-02-05 11:34:42,050    INFO Master is ONLINE
2018-02-05 11:34:42,053    INFO Waiting for instructions

Adding devices to a worker

Admins use the Django admin interface to add devices to workers using the worker drop-down in the device detail page.


A worker may have a description but does not have a record of the IP address, uptime or architecture in the Worker object.

Disabling V1 on pipeline dispatchers

Existing remote workers with both V1 and V2 device support will need to migrate to supporting V2 only. Once all devices on the worker can support V2, the admin can disable V1 test jobs on that worker.


Due to the way that V1 remote workers are configured, it is possible for removal of V1 support to erase data on the master if these steps are not followed in order. It is particularly important that the V1 SSHFS mountpoint is handled correctly and that any operations on the database remain local to the remote worker by using psql instead of any lava-server commands.

  1. All device types on the dispatcher must have V2 health checks configured.

  2. Remove V1 configuration files from the dispatcher. Depending on local admin, this may involve tools like salt or ansible removing files from /etc/lava-dispatcher/devices/ and /etc/lava-dispatcher/device-types/

  3. Ensure lava-slave is pinging the master correctly:

    tail -f /var/log/lava-dispatcher/lava-slave.log
  4. Check for existing database records using psql


    Do not use lava-server manage shell for this step because the developer shell has access to the master database, use psql.

    Check the LAVA_DB_NAME value from /etc/lava-server/instance.conf. If there is no database with that name visible to psql, there is nothing else to do for this stage.

    $ sudo su postgres
    $ psql lavaserver
    psql: FATAL:  database "lavaserver" does not exist

    If a database does exist with LAVA_DB_NAME, it should be empty. Check using a sample SQL command:

    =# SELECT count(id) from lava_scheduler_app_testjob;

    If records exist, it is up to you to investigate these records and decide if something has gone wrong with your LAVA configuration or if these are old records from a time when this machine was not a worker. Database records on a worker are not visible to the master or web UI.

  5. Stop the V1 scheduler:

    sudo service lava-server stop
  6. umount the V1 SSHFS which provices read-write access to the test job log files on the master.

    • Check the output of mount and /etc/lava-server/instance.conf for the value of LAVA_PREFIX. The SSHFS mount is ${LAVA_PREFIX}/default/media. The directory should be empty once the SSHFS mount is removed:

      $ sudo mountpoint /var/lib/lava-server/default/media
      /var/lib/lava-server/default/media is a mountpoint
      $ sudo umount /var/lib/lava-server/default/media
      $ sudo ls -a /var/lib/lava-server/default/media
      .  ..
  7. Check if lavapdu is required for the remaining devices. If not, you may choose to stop lavapdu-runner and lavapdu-listen, then remove lavapdu:

    sudo service lavapdu-listen stop
    sudo service lavapdu-runner stop
    sudo apt-get --purge remove lavapdu-client lavapdu-daemon
  8. Unless any other tasks on this worker, unrelated to LAVA, use the postgres database, you can now choose to drop the postgres cluster on this worker, deleting all postgresql databases on the worker. (Removing or purging the postgres package does not drop the database, it continues to take up space on the filesystem).

    sudo su postgres

    The output of pg_lsclusters is dependent on the version of postgres. Check for the Ver and Cluster columns, these will be needed to identify the cluster to drop, e.g. 9.4 main.

    To drop the cluster, specify the Ver and Cluster to the pg_dropcluster postgres command, for example:

    pg_dropcluster 9.4 main --stop
  9. If lava-coordinator is installed, check the local config is not localhost in /etc/lava-coordinator/lava-coordinator.conf and then stop lava-coordinator:

    sudo service lava-coordinator stop


    lava-coordinator will typically be uninstalled in a later step. Ensure that the working coordinator configuration is retained by copying /etc/lava-coordinator/lava-coordinator.conf to a safe location. It will need to be restored later. The coordinator process itself is not needed on the worker for either V1 or V2 was installed as a requirement of lava-server, only the configuration is actually required.

  10. Remove lava-server:

    sudo apt-get --purge remove lava-server
  11. Remove the remaining dependencies required for lava-server:

    sudo apt-get --purge autoremove

    This list may include lava-coordinator, lava-server-doc, libapache2-mod-uwsgi, libapache2-mod-wsgi, postgresql, python-django-auth-ldap, python-django-restricted-resource, python-django-tables2, python-ldap, python-markdown, uwsgi-core but may also remove others. Check the list carefully.

  12. Check lava-slave is still pinging the master correctly.

  13. Check for any remaining files in /etc/lava-server/ and remove.

  14. Create the /etc/lava-coordinator directory and restore /etc/lava-coordinator/lava-coordinator.conf to restore MultiNode operation on this worker.

  15. Check for any remaining lava-server processes - only lava-slave should be running.

  16. Check if apache can be cleanly restarted. You may need to run sudo a2dismod uwsgi and sudo a2dissite lava-server:

    sudo service apache2 restart
  17. Copy the default apache2 lava-dispatcher configuration into /etc/apache2/sites-available/ and enable:

    cp /usr/share/lava-dispatcher/apache2/lava-dispatcher.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/
    $ sudo a2ensite lava-dispatcher
    $ sudo service apache2 restart
    $ sudo apache2ctl -M
    $ wget http://localhost/tmp/
    $ rm index.html
  18. Undo fuse configuration

    V1 setup required editing /etc/fuse.conf on the worker and enabling the user_allow_other option. This can now be disabled.

  19. Run healthchecks on all your devices.

Disabling V1 support on the master

Once all workers on an instance have had V1 support disabled, there remain tasks to be done on the server. V1 relies on read:write database access from each worker supporting V1 as well as the SSHFS mountpoint. For the security of the data on the master, this access needs to be revoked now that V1 is no longer in use on this master.

The changes below undo the Distributed deployment setup of V1 for remote workers. The master continues to have a worker available and this worker is unaffected by the removal of remote worker support.


There was a lot of scope in V1 for admins to make subtle changes to the local configuration, especially if the instance was first installed before the Debian packaging became the default installation method. (Even if the machine has later been reinstalled, elements such as system usernames, database names and postgres usernames will have been retained to be able to access older data.) Check the details in /etc/lava-server/instance.conf on the master for information on LAVA_SYS_USER, LAVA_DB_USER and LAVA_PREFIX. In some places, V1 setup only advised that certain changes were made - admins may have adapted these instructions and removal of those changes will need to take this into account. It is, however, important that the V1 support changes are removed to ensure the security of the data on the master.

SSH authorized keys

The SSH public keys need to be removed from the LAVA_SYS_USER account on the master. Check the contents of /etc/lava-server/instance.conf - the default for recent installs is lavaserver. Check the details in, for example, /var/lib/lava-server/home/.ssh/authorized_keys:

$ sudo su lavaserver
$ vim /var/lib/lava-server/home/.ssh/authorized_keys


V1 used the same comment for all keys. ssh key used by LAVA for sshfs. Once all V1 workers are disabled, all such keys can be removed from /var/lib/lava-server/home/.ssh/authorized_keys.

Prevent postgres listening to workers

V1 setup advised that postgresql.conf was modified to allow listen_addresses = '*'. Depending on your version of postgres, this file can be found under the /etc/postgresql/ directory, in the main directory for that version of postgres. e.g. /etc/postgresql/9.4/main/postgresql.conf

There is no need for a V2 master to have any LAVA processes connecting to the database other than those on the master. listen_addresses can be updated, according to the postgres documentation. The default is for listen_addresses to be commented out in postgresql.conf.

Revoke postgres access

V1 setup advised that pg_hba.conf was modified to allow remote workers to be able to read and write to the postgres database. Depending on your version of postgres, this file can be found under the /etc/postgresql/ directory, in the main directory for that version of postgres. e.g. /etc/postgresql/9.4/main/pg_hba.conf A line similar to the following may exist:

host    lavaserver      lavaserver               md5

Some instances may have a line similar to:

host    all             all                 md5

For V2, only the default postgres configuration is required. For example:

local   all             all                                     peer
local   all             all                                     peer
host    all             all               md5
host    all             all             ::1/128                 md5

Check the entries in your own instance (in this example, 9.4) using:

sudo grep -v '#' /etc/postgresql/9.4/main/pg_hba.conf

Restart postgres

For these changes to take effect, postgres must be restarted:

sudo service postgresql restart

Support for a V1 archive

After the 2017.10 release of LAVA, V1 jobs will no longer be supported. Beyond that point, some admins might want to keep an archive of their old V1 test data to allow their users to continue accessing it.

The recommended way to do that is to create a read-only archive instance for that test data, alongside the main working LAVA instance. Take a backup of the test data in the main instance, then restore it into the new archive instance.

To set up an archive instance:

  • Configure a machine to run Debian 9 (Stretch) or 8 (Jessie), which are the supported targets for LAVA 2017.10.


    Remember that rendering the V1 test data can still be very resource-heavy, so be careful not to configure an archive instance on a server or virtual machine that’s too small for the expected level of load.

  • Restore a backup of the database and /etc/lava-server/instance.conf on a clean installation of lava-server. Do not be tempted to optimise or delete data from this backup; this is completely unnecessary and may cause the deletion of V1 test data from the archive.

  • Make changes in the django admin interface:

    • First, disable all the configured workers - the archive instance will not be running any test jobs. These workers will only exist in the restored database and will have no relevance to the archived test data.

    • Remove permissions from all users except a few admins - this will stop people from attempting to modify any of the test data.

    • Retire all devices. This will prevent new V2 submissions being accepted whilst allowing the archive to present the V1 test data.


      Do not simply delete the database objects for the devices - this may cause problems.

  • Make changes in /etc/lava-server/settings.conf (JSON syntax):

    • Set the ARCHIVED flag to True.
    • Add text in the BRANDING_MESSAGE (which will show on your LAVA instance home page) to inform users that this is an archived instance.
  • Install lava-server 2017.10 from the Archive repository, and ensure that the archive instance will not upgrade past that version using apt-mark hold. It’s also a good plan to stop any upgrades to lava-server’s direct dependencies python-django and python-django-tables2:

    $ sudo apt-mark hold lava-server python-django python-django-tables2

    This step is important for your archived data! Later releases will deliberately remove access to the test data which is meant to be preserved in this archive.

  • lava-server 2017.10 will make the dashboard objects read-only; new Filters, Image Reports and Image Reports 2.0 cannot be created and existing ones cannot be modified.


The support for an archive of V1 test data will be removed in 2017.11, so be very careful of what versions are installed. 2017.11 will include more invasive changes to make V1 test data invisible - be very careful not to upgrade to that version if that data matters to you.