Following guide covers setting up a developement environment for HIL on a CentOS/RHEL based system.


There are a few things that HIL expects the operating system to have:

yum install epel-release bridge-utils  gcc  httpd  ipmitool libvirt \
libxml2-devel  libxslt-devel  mod_wsgi net-tools python-pip python-psycopg2 \
python-virtinst python-virtualenv qemu-kvm telnet vconfig virt-install

HIL requires a database server and currently supports only SQLite and PostgreSQL. If you choose to use PostgreSQL database it is recommended to create a new system user with a separate home directory. This user will be configured to control the hil database. The development environment will be created in its home directory.

Setting PostgreSQL for development environment:

If you choose to use sqlite database, skip this section and go to Getting Started with HIL Installation.

For setting up PostgreSQL, you will have to install the requisite packages on your system. Make sure your account can sudo to execute the following commands.

Part 1: Install PostgreSQL server.

Initialize the system. Configure PostgreSQL to allow password authentication.

Install the requisite packages on your server:

sudo yum install postgresql-server postgresql-contrib -y

Initialize postgresql:

sudo postgresql-setup initdb

Replace the term ident from following lines in file /var/lib/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf with md5.


# "krb5", "ident", "peer", "pam", "ldap", "radius" or "cert".  Note that
host    all             all               ident
host    all             all             ::1/128                 ident
#host    replication     postgres            ident
#host    replication     postgres        ::1/128                 ident


# "krb5", "ident", "peer", "pam", "ldap", "radius" or "cert".  Note that
host    all             all               md5
host    all             all             ::1/128                 md5
#host    replication     postgres            ident
#host    replication     postgres        ::1/128                 ident

Start postgresql service:

$ sudo systemctl start postgresql
$ sudo systemctl enable postgresql

Part 2: Create a system user, database and database role.

Setting up development environment with PostgreSQL backend becomes easy with a dedicated user controlling the database as well as the development environment.

Let that username be hil_dev. For simplicity we will use the same name for database and database role.

Create a new user on your system:

useradd --system -m -d /home/hil_dev -s /bin/bash -c "for HIL development" hil_dev

This will create a hil_dev user with following attributes:

hil_dev:x:1002:1002:for HIL development:/home/hil_dev:/bin/bash

exact uid/gid may vary depending on your system.

Switch to the hil_dev user:

sudo -u hil_dev -i

Setup database and role to control it.

Create database named hil_dev owned by user also named as hil_dev.

  1. Create a database role named hil_dev with privileges to:

    -r create roles
    -d create databases and
    -P will prompt for the password of the new user.

This is necessary since we have configured PostgreSQL to use password authentication:

sudo -i -u postgres
$ createuser -r -d -P hil_dev
Enter password for new role:  <Input password for database role hil>
Enter it again: <Retype password for role hil>

Confirm that the role with requisite privileges is created as postgres user:

$ psql -c '\dg'
                           List of roles
 Role name |                   Attributes                   | Member of
 hil_dev   | Create role, Create DB                         | {}
 postgres  | Superuser, Create role, Create DB, Replication | {}

If you wish to delete the user. do the following as postgres user:

dropuser hil_dev

Note: Make sure that the database role you create corresponds to an existing system user. eg. There has to be a system user hil to access database named hil as database role named hil.

Create database hil_dev owned by database role hil_dev:

$ sudo -i -u hil_dev
$ createdb hil_dev

Confirm it created a database named hil_dev and it is owned by hil_dev:

$ psql -c '\l'
                                List of databases
  Name     |  Owner   | Encoding |   Collate   |    Ctype    |   Access privileges
 hil_dev   | hil_dev  | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 |
 postgres  | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 |
 template0 | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 | =c/postgres          +
           |          |          |             |             | postgres=CTc/postgres
 template1 | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 | =c/postgres          +
           |          |          |             |             | postgres=CTc/postgres

switch to user hil_dev. All subsequent installation steps assumes you are in the home directory of hil_dev

Getting Started with HIL Installation

First you will need to fork and clone the HIL repo into your dev VM.:

git clone**username**/hil
cd hil

The first time you start working in the repository, set up a clean test environment:

virtualenv .venv

Enter the environment (do this every time you start working with HIL dev environment):

source .venv/bin/activate

Then, proceed with installing the HIL and its dependencies into the virtual environment:

pip install -e .[tests]

The [tests] part pulls in dependencies only needed for running the test suite. There are several other “extras” you can specify, which pull in dependencies needed for optional HIL features:

  • postgres to use a PostgreSQL database.
  • keystone-auth-backend for the keystone auth backend.
  • keystone-client for keystone support in the client library and command line tool.

For older systems:

On systems with older versions of pip, such as Debian Wheezy and Ubuntu 12.04, this install will fail with the following error:

AttributeError: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'skip_requirements_regex'

Fix this by upgrading pip within the virtual environment:

pip install --upgrade pip

Versions of python prior to 2.7 don’t have importlib as part of their standard library, but it is possible to install it separately. If you’re using python 2.6 (which is what is available on CentOS 6, for example), you may need to run:

pip install importlib

Setting up the Database:

The default dev environment uses SQLite as a database, so if you’re using it you can skip this section.

If you wish to use PostgreSQL instead, you may get an error psycopg2 package not found, when you do hil-admin db create in the next step. To avoid that problem, you may need to install some packages based on your system type:


sudo yum install postgresql-devel


sudo apt-get install libpq-dev

After these packages have been installed, you’ll then need the python postgres driver in your HIL virtualenv:

pip install -e .[postgres]

Configuring HIL

Now the hil executable should be in your path. First, create a configuration file hil.cfg because if it’s not found then hil would refuse to run and exit. There are two examples for you to work from, examples/, which is oriented towards development, and examples/hil.cfg which is more production oriented. These config files are well commented; read them carefully.

HIL can be configured using hil.cfg to not perform state-changing operations on nodes, headnodes and networks, allowing developers to run and test parts of a hil server without requiring physical hardware. To suppress actual node and headnode operations, set dry_run = True in the [devel] section.

If using PostgreSQL as a database backend

If you choose to use PostgreSQL and did the necessary steps as described above, put following string in hil.cfg under section [database]:

uri = postgresql://hil_dev:<clear text password>@localhost:5432/hil_dev

It follows the format: postgresql://<user>:<password>@<address>/<dbname> where <user> is the name of the postgres user you created, <password> is its password, <dbname> is the name of the database you created, and <address> is the address which hil should use to connect to postgres (In a typical default postgres setup, the right value is localhost).

Setting up extensions

Most customizations require including extension names within the [extensions] section.

For suppressing actual network switch operations, use the mock switch driver ::
hil.ext.switches.mock =

You can choose to disable authentication mechanism by enabling the null auth driver

hil.ext.auth.null =

Database auth

To enable an authentication mechanism, an appropriate authentication backend will need to be selected and enabled. Note that auth backends are mutually exclusive. For the database method (which stores users/passwords in the DB), add

hil.ext.auth.database =

Next initialize the database with the required tables:

hil-admin db create

Start the server

Run the server with the port number as defined in hil.cfg:

hil-admin run-dev-server --port <port no>

and in a separate window terminal:

hil-admin serve-networks

Finally, hil help lists the various API commands one can use. Here is an example session, testing headnode_delete_hnic:

hil project_create proj
hil headnode_create hn proj img1
hil headnode_create_hnic hn hn-eth0
hil headnode_delete_hnic hn hn-eth0


Additionally, before each commit, run the automated test suite with py.test tests/unit. If at all possible, run the deployment tests as well (py.test tests/deployment), but this requires access to a specialized setup, so if the patch is sufficiently unintrusive it may be acceptable to skip this step.

Testing contains more information about testing HIL. Migrations dicsusses working with database migrations and schema changes.