Time to try MAAS! We wanted to make it easier to go hands on with MAAS, so we created this tutorial to enable people to do that, right on their own PC or laptop. Below, we’ll explain a bit about how MAAS works and then dive straight into it.
Hang in there, because you’ll be up and running in no time, installing operating systems with ease and without breaking a sweat!
Installing MAAS itself is easy, but building an environment to play with it is more involved. MAAS works by detecting servers that attempt to boot via a network (called PXE booting). This means that MAAS needs to be on the same network as the servers.
Having MAAS on the same network as the servers can be problematic at home or the office, because MAAS also provides a DHCP server and it can (will) create issues if target servers and MAAS try to interact on your usual network.
A potential MAAS test setup
One way to try MAAS is to have a separate network, such as a simple switch+router, with several servers attached. One of these servers runs MAAS, and the others are target servers that MAAS can provision. Such a setup might look like this:
In this tutorial, we’re going to build all of this automatically for you inside a virtual machine, using multipass. No need to build all of this infrastructure just to try MAAS, we’ll take care of it for you.
Multipass is a tool from Canonical that can help you easily create VMs (Virtual Machines). This tutorial uses Multipass to create a self-contained Virtual Machine that includes MAAS and an LXD host right on your desktop or laptop.
Inside the VM, Multipass will use LXD and Linux configuration to build a virtual private switch and router, and provide a way to create what are called “nested VMs”, or virtual machines inside the virtual machine made by Multipass. These nested VMs will represent servers that MAAS can provision.
When we’re finished, you’ll be able to log in to the MAAS server running inside the VM on your computer, compose nested VMs using LXD, and then commission and deploy them. It will then be simple to spin up a quick MAAS environment without needing to build a complete real environment.