This document is for a development version of Ceph.

Continuous Integration Architecture

In Ceph, we rely on multiple CI pipelines in our development. Most of these pipelines are centered around Jenkins. And their configurations are generated using Jenkins Job Builder.

Let’s take the make check performed by Jenkins as an example.


ceph-pull-requests is a jenkins job which gets triggered by a GitHub pull request or a trigger phrase like:

jenkins test make check

There are multiple parties involved in this jenkins job:

digraph { rankdir="LR"; github [ label="<git> git_repo | <webhooks> webhooks | <api> api"; shape=record; href=""; ]; subgraph cluster_lab { label="Sepia Lab"; href=""; shape=circle; apt_mirror [ href=""; ]; shaman [ href=""; ]; chacra [ peripheries=3; href=""; ]; subgraph cluster_jenkins { label="jenkins"; href=""; jenkins_controller [ label = "controller" ]; jenkins_agents [ label = "agents", peripheries=3 ]; }; }; { rank=same; package_repos [ peripheries=3 ]; pypi; npm; } github:webhooks -> jenkins_controller [ label = "notify", color = "crimson" ]; jenkins_controller -> jenkins_agents [ label = "schedule jobs" ]; jenkins_agents -> github:git [ label = "git pull" ]; jenkins_agents -> shaman [ label = "query for chacra repo URL" ]; jenkins_agents -> chacra [ label = "pull build dependencies" ]; jenkins_agents -> package_repos [ label = "pull build dependencies" ]; jenkins_agents -> pypi [ label = "pull Python packages" ]; jenkins_agents -> npm [ label = "pull JavaScript packages" ]; jenkins_agents -> apt_mirror [ label = "pull build dependencies" ]; jenkins_agents -> github:api [ label = "update", color = "crimson" ]; }


Sepia Lab

Sepia Lab is a test lab used by the Ceph project. This lab offers the storage and computing resources required by our CI infra.

Jenkins agents

are a set of machines which perform the CI jobs. In this case, they

  1. pull the git repo from GitHub and

  2. rebase the pull request against the latest master

  3. set necessary environment variables

  4. run


is a server offering RESTful API allowing the clients to store and retrieve binary packages. It also creates the repo for uploaded packages automatically. Once a certain repo is created on chacra, the configured shaman server is updated as well, then we can query shaman for the corresponding repo address. Chacra not only hosts Ceph packages, it also hosts quite a few other packages like various build dependencies.


is a server offering RESTful API allowing the clients to query the information of repos hosted by chacra nodes. Shaman is also known for its Web UI. But please note, shaman does not build the packages, it just offers information on the builds.

As the following shows, chacra manages multiple projects whose metadata are stored in a database. These metadata are exposed via Shaman as a web service. chacractl is a utility to interact with the chacra service.

digraph { libboost [ shape=cylinder; ]; libzbd [ shape=cylinder; ]; other_repos [ label="..."; shape=cylinder; ]; postgresql [ shape=cylinder; style=filled; ] shaman -> postgresql; chacra -> postgresql; chacractl -> chacra; chacra -> libboost; chacra -> libzbd; chacra -> other_repos; }

build dependencies

Just like lots of other software projects, Ceph has both build-time and run-time dependencies. Most of time, we are inclined to use the packages prebuilt by the distro. But there are cases where

  • the necessary dependencies are either missing in the distro, or

  • their versions are too old, or

  • they are packaged without some important feature enabled.

  • we want to ensure that the version of a certain runtime dependency is identical to the one we tested in our lab.

No matter what the reason is, we either need to build them from source, or to package them as binary packages instead of using the ones shipped by the distro. Quite a few build-time dependencies are included as git submodules, but in order to avoid rebuilding these dependencies repeatedly, we pre-built some of them and uploaded them to our own repos. So, when performing make check, the building hosts in our CI just pull them from our internal repos hosting these packages instead of building them.

So far, following packages are prebuilt for ubuntu focal, and then uploaded to chacra:


packages boost. The packages’ names are changed from libboost-* to ceph-libboost-*, and they are instead installed into /opt/ceph, so they don’t interfere with the official libboost packages shipped by distro. Its build scripts are hosted at See for an example of how to bump the version number. The commands used to build 1.79 on a vanilla Ubuntu Focal OS are below.

sudo apt install debhelper dctrl-tools chrpath libbz2-dev libicu-dev bison \
  flex docbook-to-man help2man xsltproc doxygen dh-python python3-all-dev graphviz
git clone
tar xjf boost_1_79_0.tar.bz2
cp -ra ceph-boost/debian boost_1_79_0/
pushd boost_1_79_0
export DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS='parallel=6 nodoc'
dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc -b
BOOST_SHA=$(git ls-remote main | awk '{ print $1 }')
ls *.deb | chacractl binary create \

packages libzbd . The upstream libzbd includes debian packaging already.


packages pmdk . Please note, ndctl is one of the build dependencies of pmdk, for an updated debian packaging, please see .


please ensure that the package version and the release number of the packaging are properly updated when updating/upgrading the packaging, otherwise it would be difficult to tell which version of the package is installed. We check the package version before trying to upgrade it in

But in addition to these libraries, ceph-mgr-dashboard’s frontend uses lots of JavaScript packages. Quite a few of them are not packaged by distros. Not to mention the trouble of testing different combination of versions of these packages. So we decided to include these JavaScript packages in our dist tarball using make-dist.

Also, because our downstream might not want to use the prepackaged binaries when redistributing the precompiled Ceph packages, we also need to include these libraries in our dist tarball. They are

  • boost

  • liburing

  • pmdk

make-dist is a script used by our CI pipeline to create dist tarball so the tarball can be used to build the Ceph packages in a clean room environment. When we need to upgrade these third party libraries, we should

  • update the CMake script

  • rebuild the prebuilt packages and

  • update this script to reflect the change.

Uploading Dependencies

To ensure that prebuilt packages are available by the jenkins agents, we need to upload them to either or chacra. To upload packages to the former would require the help of our lab administrator, so if we want to maintain the package repositories on regular basis, a better choice would be to manage them using chacractl. chacra represents packages repositories using a resource hierarchy, like:


In which:


in general, it is used for denoting a set of related packages. For instance, libboost.


branch of project. This mirrors the concept of a Git repo.


a unique id of a given version of a set packages. This id is used to reference the set packages under the <project>/<branch>. It is a good practice to version the packaging recipes, like the debian directory for building DEB packages and the spec for building RPM packages, and use the SHA1 of the packaging recipe for the ref. But you could also use a random string for ref, like the tag name of the built source tree.


the distro name for which the packages are built. Currently, following distros are supported:

  • centos

  • debian

  • fedora

  • rhel

  • ubuntu


the version of the distro. For instance, if a package is built on ubuntu focal, the distro-version should be 20.04.


the architecture of the packages. It could be:

  • arm64

  • amd64

  • noarch

So, for example, we can upload the prebuilt boost packages to chacra like

ls *.deb | chacractl binary create \


We also need to update to point the built script to the new repo. Please refer to the script, for more details.

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