N30 Using LXD with Juju

When your computer has LXD installed, Juju can operate the “localhost” cloud. The localhost cloud provides the experience of working with a public cloud without needing to incur any financial cost.

Reasons to use Juju on localhost:

  • creating a repeatable deployment: Juju enables you to quickly iterate to construct the optimal deployment for your situation, then distribute that across your team
  • local development: Juju’s localhost cloud can mirror the production ops environment (without incuring the costs involved with duplicating it)
  • learning Juju: LXD is a lightweight tool for exploring Juju and how it operates
  • rapid prototyping: LXD is great for when you’re creating a new charm and want to be able to quickly provision capacity and tear it down

Info: If you would like to run Kubernetes workloads on your computer with Juju, we recommend MicroK8s with the MicroK8s cloud.

Info: If you are looking to connect to a LXD server, rather than accessing LXD installed locally, then read Adding a remote LXD cloud.

About LXD

Juju uses LXD is an hypervisor that provides secure system containers that are secure, lightweight, and aims to be easy to use.

Info: Need to install LXD? Visit the LXD docs for installation instructions.

Why not Docker?

Juju expects to see an operating system-like environment, so a LXD system container fits the bill. Docker containers are laid out for a singular application process, with a self-contained filesystem rather than a base userspace image.

Setting up the localhost cloud

Configure LXD

Juju speaks directly to the local LXD daemon, which also requires lxd group membership.

newgrp lxd
sudo adduser $USER lxd

If you have not already done so, you will need to run lxd init to carry out from post-installation tasks. For most environments, using the default parameters is usually preferred:

lxd init --auto

There are several options, however. See the Getting Started with LXD webpage and the output from lxd init --help for more details.

Configure Networking

Currently, Juju does not support IPv6. Therefore, you will need to request that LXD does not allocate IPv6 addresses for containers and virtual machine instances that it creates.

lxc network set lxdbr0 ipv6.address none

Verify that the localhost cloud is available

Our localhost cloud is now established. We can verify that by running juju clouds:

juju clouds

Juju should have detected the presence of LXD and has added it as the localhost cloud:

localhost             1  localhost        lxd         LXD Container Hypervisor

Deploying workloads

Workloads live within a “model” that is managed by the “Juju controller”.

Creating a controller

Use the juju bootstrap command to provision a machine within LXD and create a controller running within it.

juju bootstrap localhost overlord

Info: localhost and lxd can be use interchangeably.
Standard practice is to also name your controller, in this instance we called it “overlord”

The bootstrap process is highly configurable, but changing the settings is rarely required while evaluating Juju. See the Creating a controller page for further details.

During the bootstrap process, Juju connects with the LXD daemon, then provisions a machine to install the controller on.

Creating Juju controller "overlord" on localhost/localhost
Looking for packaged Juju agent version 2.6.8 for amd64

Deploying a workload

The juju deploy command deploys a charm as an application. To explore how this works, consider following through 1 or more of these tutorials:

Juju machines and LXC containers

There is a 1:1 correspondence between machine and container.

Adding a machine without any workload is possible, by doing the following:

juju add-machine -n 1

Querying the available machines will list the newly created machine from the previous command:

juju machines

The output from the machines query:

Machine  State    DNS            Inst id        Series  AZ  Message
0        started  juju-c795fe-0  bionic      Running

Notice the “Inst id” column corresponds to the “NAME” column from LXC’s output:

lxc list
|     NAME      |  STATE  |         IPV4         | IPV6 |    TYPE    | SNAPSHOTS |
| juju-c795fe-0 | RUNNING | (eth0) |      | PERSISTENT |           |


Juju constraints can be applied per controller or model workloads in the same way as other clouds. See Constraints and LXD containers for further details.

Info: It’s important to note that with LXD system containers, constraints are interpreted as resource maximums as opposed to minimums.

Additional information

To help with LXC integration with Juju, additional information and resources about LXC can be found on the topic.

Add resilience via LXD clustering

LXD clustering provides the ability for applications to be deployed in a high-availability manner. In a clustered LXD cloud, Juju will deploy units across its nodes.

Using LXD profiles from a charm

LXD Profiles allows the defining of a configuration that can be applied to any instance. Juju can apply those profiles during the creation or modification of a LXD container.

LXD Images

LXD is image based: all LXD containers come from images and any LXD daemon instance (also called a “remote”) can serve images. When LXD is installed a locally-running remote is provided (Unix domain socket) and the client is configured to talk to it (named ‘local’). The client is also configured to talk to several other, non-local, ones (named ‘ubuntu’, ‘ubuntu-daily’, and ‘images’).

An image is identified by its fingerprint (SHA-256 hash), and can be tagged with multiple aliases.

For any image-related command, an image is specified by its alias or by its fingerprint. Both are shown in image lists. An image’s filename is its full fingerprint while an image list displays its partial fingerprint. Either type of fingerprint can be used to refer to images.

Juju pulls official cloud images from the ‘ubuntu’ remote (http://cloud-images.ubuntu.com) and creates the necessary alias. Any subsequent requests will be satisfied by the LXD cache (/var/lib/lxd/images).

Image cache expiration and image synchronization mechanisms are built-in.

Non-admin user credentials

To grant a regular user access to a LXD-based controller a certificate credential is required. This certificate is generated and shared with the user who will then use it as a credential. See Working with multiple users for details on adding users, granting them permissions, and registering controllers.

On the LXD host generate the certificate with the autoload-credentials command. Use the below sample session as a guide:

Looking for cloud and credential information locally...

1. LXD credential "localhost" (new)
Select a credential to save by number, or type Q to quit: 1

Select the cloud it belongs to, or type Q to quit []: localhost

Saved LXD credential "localhost" to cloud localhost

1. LXD credential "localhost" (existing, will overwrite)
Select a credential to save by number, or type Q to quit: Q

A certificate credential will have been created. Export it to a file, say localhost-credentials.yaml, by typing the following:

juju credentials localhost --format=yaml > localhost-credentials.yaml

Now transfer the file to the user that requires access to the cloud. Once done, on that user’s system, the credential can be added:

juju add-credential localhost -f localhost-credentials.yaml

See Credentials for more details on how credentials are used.

Juju-specific advice

Juju can make use of several advanced features within LXD. They are explained on the Using LXD with Juju - Advanced page. It includes:

  • Add resilience to your models through LXD clustering
  • Registering a remote LXD server as a LXD cloud
  • Charms and LXD profiles

Next steps

Learn Juju’s core commands

Juju includes lots of functionality (see juju help commands for a full list). Here is a brief list of the most helpful commands to use when you are getting started:

  • juju dashboard provides a real-time web dashboard of all the models managed by the controller
  • juju status provides a view of a model, its applications, their units and other resources
  • juju deploy deploys a new charm (or bundle) as application(s) within a model
  • juju ssh allows you to access a secure shell into any machine or unit within the model
  • juju switch allows you to switch between models and controllers

Use juju help <command> for detailed usage instructions on every command provided by Juju.

Learn Juju’s concepts

Becoming familiar with Juju involves learning some new terminology:

  • Models house applications
  • Applications are “instances” of charms that are comprised of units. A unit occupies a machine. That machine may be also be used by other units.
  • Relations are a data exchange system between applications facilitated by the Juju controller