# Boot a persistent RancherOS to RAM

# Location of Kernel/Initrd images
set base-url http://releases.rancher.com/os/latest

kernel ${base-url}/vmlinuz rancher.state.dev=LABEL=RANCHER_STATE rancher.state.autoformat=[/dev/sda] rancher.state.wait rancher.cloud_init.datasources=[url:http://example.com/cloud-config]
initrd ${base-url}/initrd

If you want to autoformat the disk when booting by iPXE, you should add the rancher.state.autoformat part to kernel cmdline. However, this does not install the bootloader to disk, so you cannot upgrade RancherOS.

If you don’t add rancher.state.autoformat, RancherOS will run completely in memory, you can execute ros install to install to disk.

Hiding sensitive kernel commandline parameters

From RancherOS v0.9.0, secrets can be put on the kernel parameters line afer a -- double dash, and they will be not be shown in any /proc/cmdline. These parameters will be passed to the RancherOS init process and stored in the root accessible /var/lib/rancher/conf/cloud-init.d/init.yml file, and are available to the root user from the ros config commands.

For example, the kernel line above could be written as:

kernel ${base-url}/vmlinuz rancher.state.dev=LABEL=RANCHER_STATE rancher.state.autoformat=[/dev/sda] -- rancher.cloud_init.datasources=[url:http://example.com/cloud-config]

The hidden part of the command line can be accessed with either sudo ros config get rancher.environment.EXTRA_CMDLINE, or by using a service file’s environment array.

An example service.yml file:

  image: alpine
  command: echo "tell me a secret ${EXTRA_CMDLINE}"
    io.rancher.os.scope: system

When this service is run, the EXTRA_CMDLINE will be set.

cloud-init Datasources

Valid cloud-init datasources for RancherOS.

type default
ec2 Default metadata address
digitalocean Default metadata address
packet Default metadata address
cloudstack Default metadata address
aliyun Default metadata address
gce Default metadata address
file Path
cmdline Kernel command line: cloud-config-url=http://link/user_data
configdrive /media/config-2
url URL address
vmware Set guestinfo cloud-init or interface data as per VMware ESXi
* This will add [“configdrive”, “vmware”, “ec2”, “digitalocean”, “packet”, “gce”] into the list of datasources to try

The vmware datasource was added as of v1.1.


When booting via iPXE, RancherOS can be configured using a cloud-config file.