There are many options when it comes to server providers, configuration management tools, and distros. The bootmachine’s goal is to reduce maintenance and overhead when managing a server stack, but through its pluggable api it also simplifies exploring new options.

The bootmachine is written in PEP8 compliant Python and is at its most basic, simply a specialized Fabric libary.


  • Rackspace Openstack API v2
  • Rackspace Openstack API v1 (deprecated)
  • Amazon EC2 (forthcoming)
  • Write your own..



  • Arch Linux
  • Fedora 16+17
  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Debian 6
  • Gentoo 11.0 (forthcoming)
  • OpenSUSE 12 (forthcoming)
  • CentOS 6.2 (forthcoming)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (forthcoming)
  • write your own...

First, the bootmachine boots each new server as defined in its using the distro and provider of your choice. Next it bootstaps setting up the distro and installs the configuration management tool of your choice. Finally it uses the configuration management tool to provision the server to a secure state. The supplied states/recipes handle iptables, ssh, users, and not much more. The idea is to keep things simple, but it is up to you to customize the stack to your preferences.

For example, you could create a new stack with four Arch Linux servers using the Rackspace api. After defining your settings and running fab bootmachine. Salt is installed and the server is configured as the states tell it to be. The stack could contain a loadbalancer, cache, application, and database server. It is up to you to define the individual roles, but the bootmachine gets you as close as it can to a secure and ready system before personalization takes over.


Bootmachine simplifies the initial boot phase of creating new servers, by reading configuration from settings.SERVERS. Choose from the built-in cloud providers, or write a custom settings.PROVIDER_MODULE.


Write a custom backed if your intention is to support local virtual machines, an not yet included cloud provider, or hardware in a private datacenter. If your module is generic enough to share with others, please consider contributing it back to the bootmachine.

Provisioning with Configuration Management Tools

The bootmachine reads the settings file and checks for servers that are not yet booted. It will then boot each new server, with its defined distro and size, and next bootstrap the configuration management tool of your choice.


The bootmachine supports a stack with multiple distros, but it is assumed that only one provider and one configuration management tool will be used per stack.

Although you may boot a mixture of distro types, it is advised against because this will most likely create unnecessary complexity down the road. Mainly because the configuration management tools could have conflicting versions per distro. If you know what your doing than go ahead, otherwise be warned.

After your configuration management tool of choice is bootstrapped on the new servers, the last step is provisioning the server to a secure state. For this it following community approved best-practices in the supplied salt-states, chef/puppet recipes, etc.

Bootmachine adheres to the Slicehost provisioning documentation and the Arch Linux wiki:

What’s Next

The function of the bootmachine is to create a new server, or cluster of servers, based on a configuration file and provision them into a secure state. It is the job of a configuration management tool to setup the server for its real task, such as application server, database server, loadbalancer, etc.

Every application is different, have fun.