Project Atomic is now sunset

The Atomic Host platform is now replaced by CoreOS. Users of Atomic Host are encouraged to join the CoreOS community on the Fedora CoreOS communication channels.

The documentation contained below and throughout this site has been retained for historical purposes, but can no longer be guaranteed to be accurate.

Project Atomic Quick Start Guide

This a Quick Start Guide (or guide for the impatient) for folks who just want to set up a single Atomic Host and see what all the fuss around Docker and Atomic is about.

What You Need

  • A virtualization client. Virtual Machine Manager (virt-manager) is a very good KVM-based client for Linux systems. Windows and OS X users can give VirtualBox a try. Be sure your virtualization client is properly configured to access the Internet.

  • A virtual machine image. Images for Atomic hosts are produced by both the Fedora Project and the CentOS Project. Downloads for these images can be found via the Downloads page in QCOW2, RAW, and Vagrant BOX formats.

    Note for VirtualBox users We are not producing native VirtualBox images, but you can generate your own VirtualBox image from the qcow2 images with qemu-img:

    $ qemu-img convert -f qcow2 [filename].qcow2 -O vdi [filename].vdi

Step by Step

There are three basic steps we’ll do for each virtualization provider before booting the virtual machine:

  1. Prep the cloud-init source ISO

  2. Create the Atomic host virtual machine

  3. Add and configure storage for Docker

Prep the cloud-init source ISO

In order to pass run time customizations to an Atomic host, we use cloud-init .

You will need to create a metadata ISO to supply critical data when your Atomic host boots. System data is presented via the meta-data file and configuration data via the user-data file. We will be setting up the password and ssh key for the default user. The metatdata ISO is created on the machine running your virtualization provider.

  1. Create a meta-data file with your desired hostname and instance-id. If you need to change any of this information on a running host, you will need to increment the instance-id. This is how cloud-init identifies a particular instance.

    $ vi meta-data
    instance-id: atomic-host001
  2. Create a user-data file.

    Note: The #cloud-config directive at the beginning of the file is mandatory, not a comment.

    This file is the configuration of a user with a temporary, single-use password and an ssh key. Since no username is specified; the default username is fedora or centos, depending on the virtual machine image used. If you have multiple admins and ssh keys you’d like to access the default user, you can add a new ssh-rsa line.

    $ vi user-data
    password: atomic
    ssh_pwauth: True
    chpasswd: { expire: False }
      - ssh-rsa ... foo@bar.baz (insert ~/.ssh/ here)
  3. After creating the user-data and meta-data files, generate an ISO file. Make sure the user running libvirt has the proper permissions to read the generated image.

    $ genisoimage -output init.iso -volid cidata -joliet -rock user-data meta-data

You’ll add this ISO as a CD-ROM device in the virtual machine.

Create the Atomic host virtual machine

We’ll start with the QCOW2 format image for either virt-manager, virt-install, or VirtualBox. For virt-manager and virt-install, you will use this image directly. For VirtualBox, convert the QCOW2 to VDI in order to create an image suitable for VirtualBox.

$ qemu-img convert -f qcow2 [filename].qcow2 -O vdi [filename].vdi

Creating with virt-manager

Here’s how to get started with Atomic on your machine using virt-manager on Linux. The instructions below are for running virt-manager on Fedora 21. The steps may vary slightly when running older distributions of virt-manager.

  1. Select File -> New Virtual Machine from the menu bar. The New VM dialog box will open.

  2. Select the Import existing disk image option and click Forward. The next page in the New VM dialog will appear.

  3. Click Browse. The Locate or create storage volume dialog will open.

  4. Click Browse Local. The Locate existing storage dialog will open.

  5. Navigate to the downloaded virtual machine file, select it, and click Open.

  6. In the New VM dialog, select Linux for the OS type, Fedora 21 (or later) for the Version, and click Forward.

  7. Adjust the VM’s RAM and CPU settings (if needed) and click Forward.

  8. Select the checkbox next to Customize configuration before install and click Forward. This will allow you to add the metatdata ISO device before booting the VM.

Note: When running virt-manager on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 or CentOS 6, the VM will not boot until the disk storage format is changed from raw to qcow2.

Adding the CD-ROM device for the metadata source

  1. In the virt-manager GUI, click to open your Atomic machine. Then on the top bar click View > Details
  2. Click on Add Hardware on the bottom left corner.
  3. Choose Storage, and Select managed or other existing storage. Browse and select the init.iso image you created. Change the Device type to CD-ROM device. Click on Finish to create and attach this storage.

Creating with virt-install (Command-Line Method)

  1. Use the following example virt-install command, modifying each parameter to fit your requirements. In this example, a new directory, Fedora-Atomic-26/, was created under /var/lib/libvirt/images so that the init.iso created earlier, the vm image Fedora-Atomic-26-20170723.0.x86_64.qcow2, the meta-data file, and the user-data file are all in one folder.
virt-install --name atomic-host \
--description 'Fedora Atomic Host' \
--ram 4096 \
--vcpus 4 \
--disk path=/var/lib/libvirt/images/Fedora-Atomic-26/Fedora-Atomic-26-20170723.0.x86_64.qcow2 \
--os-type linux \
--os-variant fedora25 \
--network bridge=virbr0 \
--graphics vnc,listen=,port=5901 \
--cdrom /var/lib/libvirt/images/Fedora-Atomic-26/init.iso \

Example notes: At the time of this writing, fedora26 has not yet been implemented as an option in the os-variant parameter, so the example above will use fedora25 as the os-variant parameter value instead. For the graphics parameter, we’re setting the vnc listener to localhost because it’s more secure to tunnel your VNC connection through SSH so that you don’t expose VNC to anyone with access to the network.

Creating with VirtualBox

Here’s how to get started with Atomic on your machine using VirtualBox on Windows, OS X, or Linux.

  1. Click the New icon on the VirtualBox toolbar. The Create Virtual Machine dialog box will open.

  2. Enter a name for the new machine, select Linux for the Type, Fedora (64 bit) for the Version, and click Next.

  3. Adjust the VM’s RAM if needed and click Next.

  4. Select the Use an existing virtual hard drive option, browse to the file location, and click Create. The virtual machine will be created and the virtual machine will be ready.

Adding the CD-ROM device for the metadata source

  1. In the VirtualBox GUI, click Settings for you Atomic virtual machine.
  2. On the Storage tab, for the IDE Controller, Add CD/DVD Device.
  3. Select Choose Disk, and select the init.iso you created.

Exploring the Atomic host

Boot the virtual machine with the CD-ROM attached and cloud-init will populate the default user information with the password or SSH keys you provided in the user-data file. For a Fedora image, the default user is fedora, for CentOS the default user is centos.

If you created the Atomic host with virt-manager or virt-install and wish to access the VM from the command-line, you can use virsh console (where atomic-host is the name of the vm):

virsh console atomic-host;

Once you’ve booted and logged in to your Atomic host, you can update the system software with $ sudo rpm-ostree upgrade to pull in any updates.

Add and configure storage for Docker

Docker is ready to go at this point, but there’s another fairly important bit of config to do, if you’re going to be testing out more than a couple containers–you need to add a bigger drive for the docker LVM thin pool.

Add A New Drive in virt-manager

  1. Select the View, Details menu command on your VM window.

  2. Click the Add Hardware. The Add New Virtual Hardware dialog box will open.

  3. Select Storage, change disk size to what you want, change bus type to VirtIO, and click Finish. The Add New Virtual Hardware dialog box will close.

Add a New Drive (qemu-img and virsh) from Command-Line

  1. Create the New Disk Image. Change the disk size to what you want.
qemu-img create -f qcow2 atomic-host-disk2-8G 8G

Formatting 'atomic-host-disk2-8G', fmt=qcow2 size=8589934592 encryption=off cluster_size=65536 lazy_refcounts=off refcount_bits=16
  1. Figure out what device names are available inside the guest VM
fdisk -l | grep '^Disk /dev/vd[a-z]'

Disk /dev/vda: 6 GiB, 6442450944 bytes, 12582912 sectors

If your vm just has /dev/vda, then you would use vdb in the next step. If vdb is taken, you would use vdc, and so on.

  1. Attach the disk to the VM from the host
virsh attach-disk atomic-host \
--source /var/lib/libvirt/images/Fedora-Atomic-26/atomic-host-disk2-8G \
--target vdb \
--targetbus virtio \

Disk attached successfully

Add A New Drive in VirtualBox

  1. With the Atomic VM closed, select the Machine, Settings menu command. The Settings dialog box will open.

  2. Select the Storage option. The Storage settings will appear.

  3. Select the Controller for the VM and click the Add Hard Disk icon. A Question dialog will open.

  4. Choose Create New Disk. The Create Virtual Hard Drive dialog box will open.

Configuring the New Drive

  1. Run $ sudo fdisk -l to find name of your new disk (e.g., /dev/vdb)

  2. Open /etc/sysconfig/docker-storage-setup in an editor

  3. Add the new disk by creating a DEVS entry. If you added more than one, you can add more to the list separated by a space.

  4. If you’d like to use some of the space on the new disk to grow the root volume, you can create a ROOT_SIZE with the new total size.

  5. Run $ sudo docker-storage-setup to run the helper script and configure the thin pool. This tool calculates the amount of available space, what’s needed for the metadata pool, and executes the LVM commands.

  6. Run $ sudo docker info to make sure that the Docker daemon sees the added space.

  7. If you added space to the root volume, run $ sudo xfs_growfs / to make sure the filesystem gets expanded to match the volume size.

  8. If you added space to the root volume, run df -Th to make sure that the root volume has been grown to the new total size.

Finding Help

For more help, check out the Project Atomic mailing lists for general discussions or technical issues.

Reporting Bugs

If you have a well identified issue, report it in the Bugzilla hosted by Red Hat. Remember: first check existing issues, then enter a new bug. We appreciate your bugs!