Configuring RancherOS

There are two ways that RancherOS can be configured.

  1. A cloud-config file can be used to provide configuration when first booting RancherOS.

  2. Manually changing configuration with the ros config command.

Typically, when you first boot the server, you pass in a cloud-config file to configure the initialization of the server. After the first boot, if you have any changes for the configuration, it’s recommended that you use ros config to set the necessary configuration properties. Any changes will be saved on disk and a reboot will be required for changes to be applied.


Cloud-config is a declarative configuration file format supported by many Linux distributions and is the primary configuration mechanism for RancherOS.

A Linux OS supporting cloud-config will invoke a cloud-init process during startup to parse the cloud-config file and configure the operating system. RancherOS runs its own cloud-init process in a system container. The cloud-init process will attempt to retrieve a cloud-config file from a variety of data sources. Once cloud-init obtains a cloud-config file, it configures the Linux OS according to the content of the cloud-config file.

When you create a RancherOS instance on AWS, for example, you can optionally provide cloud-config passed in the user-data field. Inside the RancherOS instance, cloud-init process will retrieve the cloud-config content through its AWS cloud-config data source, which simply extracts the content of user-data received by the VM instance. If the file starts with “#cloud-config”, cloud-init will interpret that file as a cloud-config file. If the file starts with #!<interpreter> (e.g., #!/bin/sh), cloud-init will simply execute that file. You can place any configuration commands in the file as scripts.

A cloud-config file uses the YAML format. YAML is easy to understand and easy to parse. For more information on YAML, please read more at the YAML site. The most important formatting principle is indentation or whitespace. This indentation indicates relationships of the items to one another. If something is indented more than the previous line, it is a sub-item of the top item that is less indented.

Example: Notice how both are indented underneath ssh_authorized_keys.

  - ssh-rsa AAA...ZZZ example1@rancher
  - ssh-rsa BBB...ZZZ example2@rancher

In our example above, we have our #cloud-config line to indicate it’s a cloud-config file. We have 1 top-level property, ssh_authorized_keys. Its value is a list of public keys that are represented as a dashed list under ssh_authorized_keys:.

Manually Changing Configuration

To update RancherOS configuration after booting, the ros config set <key> <value> command can be used. For more complicated settings, like the sysctl settings, you can also create a small YAML file and then run sudo ros config merge -i <your yaml file>.

Getting Values

You can easily get any value that’s been set in the /var/lib/rancher/conf/cloud-config.yml file. Let’s see how easy it is to get the DNS configuration of the system.

$ sudo ros config get

Setting Values

You can set values in the /var/lib/rancher/conf/cloud-config.yml file.

Setting a simple value in the /var/lib/rancher/conf/cloud-config.yml

$ sudo ros config set rancher.docker.tls true

Setting a list in the /var/lib/rancher/conf/cloud-config.yml

$ sudo ros config set "['','']"

Exporting the Current Configuration

To output and review the current configuration state you can use the ros config export command.

$ sudo ros config export
    tls: true

Validating a Configuration File

To validate a configuration file you can use the ros config validate command.

$ sudo ros config validate -i cloud-config.yml