Create Host

The create host page can be accessed via the hosts menu, as well as the all hosts page:

Hosts > Create host

Hosts > All hosts > Create host

Creating hosts (also referred to as provisioning hosts) is one of the core features of orcharhino. With its own menu entry in the host menu, the create host page is given a prominent position within the orcharhino management UI.

Successfully provisioning hosts using orcharhino presupposes a properly configured provisioning setup. This provisioning setup will provide various options, (like what operating system to use), for the creation of new hosts. The create hosts page is then used to choose a concrete set of provisioning options for an actual host that is to be created.


The create hosts page is organized into several tabs as follows:

Tabs on the create host page

The create hosts page includes a Cancel and a Submit button (irrespective of what tab is selected):

Submit button on the create host page
  • The Cancel button (1) will take you to the hosts page. Any selections made in any tab will be lost.

  • The Submit button (2) instructs orcharhino to create a host using the current settings.

  • Clicking the Submit button (2) only makes sense once all settings in all relevant tabs have been chosen, though many of these settings can be changed later on by editing a host.

  • In case orcharhino is still missing information necessary to creating a new host, when the Submit button (2) is clicked, it will provide a relevant warning, and allow the user to make adjustments as needed.

Host Tab

The host tab with example settings selected:

Options on the host tab
  • In the Name (1) field, enter a descriptive name for your new host. Ensure it follows the rules for host names, which means it must only contain lower case letters, numbers, and dashes and not start with a dash.

  • The button (2) next to the Name field (1) can be used to generate a random unused host name. Use a descriptive name if possible.

  • Every host requires context in form of an Organization and Location (3). Hosts always belong to exactly one organization and one location, whereas users, user groups, and host groups may be part of multiple organizations and locations. By default, new hosts belong to the same context that the currently logged in user has selected. The context is displayed at the very top of each page and can be changed by clicking on the organization or location.

  • Selecting a Host Group (4) will automatically fill any fields configured for that host group with the appropriate values. This is the most convenient way to create a host, as a fully configured host group will contain preset values for most of the fields on the host tab as well as other tabs. Predefined values can be overwritten for individual hosts without touching the selected host group.

  • The Deploy on field (5) is set to bare metal by default. Select a compute resource to deploy virtual machines. The Virtual Machine tab will only be visible if a compute resource is selected.

    The host must be assigned to the same organization and location context that the compute resource provider is part of.

  • The Compute profile field (6) (only visible if a compute resource is selected) will let you choose the compute profile of the host’s virtual machine.

  • The content management options (7) are usually set by the Host Group (4).

  • The Puppet options (8) are usually set by the Host Group (4).

This example uses VMware as compute resource provider. Using any other compute resource may result in different information and options presented.

Puppet Classes Tab

The Puppet classes tab with some tomcat Puppet classes manually selected:

Options on the Puppet classes tab
  • The Available Classes area (1) will list Puppet classes that can be used for the new host. The available classes are grouped. Clicking on the blue plus signs will fold out all classes in a grouping. The white pluses on the black circles will add their corresponding class to the Included Classes area (2).

  • The Included Classes area (2) will list Puppet classes manually selected for inclusion in the new host. The white minuses on the black circles will remove their corresponding class.

  • The Inherited Classes from Puppet area (3) lists Puppet classes that will be added to the host by virtue of the selected host group.

Interfaces Tab

The interfaces tab with one example network interface:

Options on the interface tab
  • The primary network interface may be preconfigured if a corresponding host group was selected on the host tab. It can be edited via the Edit button (1).

  • The Add Interface button (2) can be used to add additional interfaces.

Operating System Tab

The operating system tab with example settings selected:

Options on the operating system tab
  • Various operating system provisioning options (1) can be chosen on this tab. In particular, this includes architectures, operating systems, installation media, and various templates.

  • The new host’s Root password (2) may be chosen on this tab. (Alternatively, the root password may also be set via the host group.)

  • Clicking the Resolve button (3) will list each template that will be used by the new host.

Virtual Machine Tab

A sample part of the virtual machine tab:

Options on the virtual machine tab
  • The virtual machine tab will only be visible if the host is selected for deployment on a VM type compute resource on the host tab.

  • This tab allows you to override the settings from the currently selected compute profile (also on the host tab). Compute profiles are used to configure virtual machine properties (1).

Parameters Tab

The parameters tab:

Options on the parameters tab
  • The Puppet class parameters area (1) will list any Puppet class parameters set for any Puppet classes included on the Puppet classes tab. These parameters may be overridden using the provided editing buttons (2).

  • Any global parameters will be displayed in the Global parameters area (3). They may be overridden using the override buttons (4).

  • The Host parameters area (5) will allow you to set additional parameters exclusively for the host being created. Use the Add Parameter button (6) to do so.

Additional Information Tab

The additional information tab is used to set various oddball settings:

Options on the additional information tab
  • The Owned By field (1) will allow you to associate an orcharhino user with the host being created.

  • The Hardware Model field (3) (only present if the host is selected for bare metal deployment) allows you to record what physical hardware the host will run on. For a host being deployed on a compute resource the corresponding information may be set automatically some time after the host was deployed. (Generally to something generic like VMware Virtual Platform).

  • Finally you may add an arbitrary Comment (4) in the field provided.

You may also assign the host to a group of users by choosing a user group as follows:

Assigning the new host to a user group

Boot Disk Provisioning

Boot disk provisioning is a part of the boot disk plugin and will only be available if this plugin is installed on your orcharhino.

Boot disk provisioning allows users to provision hosts without using the PXE Network boot facilities. To do so, the option boot disk must be used as the provisioning method in the operating system tab of the create host page. When provisioning to a VMware Compute Resource, the generated boot disk image is automatically configured as the boot device for the new virtual machine.

However, if deploying on bare metal for example, the boot disk images can be downloaded in the boot disk drop down menu:

Boot disk menu

Those images are bootable if burned on CD, or dumped to floppy or USB-drive (with dd). Four flavours of boot disks are available:

  • The Host image (1) contains the full static network configuration for the host. After booting, it fetches the bootloader of the operating system installer via tftp and chainloads into it. From there, the usual installation process continues. Those boot disks can be used without any DHCP service.

  • The Full host image (2) additionally contains the kernel and initrd of the operating system installer. This image is provided for cases, where either chainloading is impossible, or the tftp service is unavailable.

  • The Generic image (3) does not contain any host or network specific configuration. It can be used to provision hosts in a network with basic DHCP and DNS services that can reach orcharhino directly. After booting, it fetches the hosts configuration and operating system installer via tftp. This boot disk image is reusable for all hosts provisioned this way.

  • The Subnet generic image (4) is similar to the generic image with the difference that it is preconfigured to use the orcharhino proxy for the corresponding subnet to fetch the configuration and installer. In this scenario, the orcharhino proxy must be equipped with the templates module.

Remove the boot disk from the host after the installation.

The generic behaviour of the boot disk creation process can be configured in the Boot disk section of the settings page. Further customization is possible by providing specialised boot disk creation templates.