Stacki allows the admin to customize the software footprint of a backend node to enable additional functionality.

In a default setup, Stacki installs backend nodes with a very small software footprint. In Stacki parlance, the backend node is brought up to a ping and a prompt.

The backend node will have its network configured, and the SSH daemon is started to allow login access from the frontend.

To make the backend node more useful, other application software and services will need to be installed and configured.

There are several “levels” of installing applications in Stacki, we’re going to look at the simplest case. Assumptions are:

  1. The application to be installed is available as an RPM
  2. The application can be configured using simple shell command
    or a script.
  3. The developer is has a basic knowledge of editing HTML-like syntax.

Stacki uses a collection of XML files that provide the definition of a system, and the instructions for installing a backend node. To extend the software footprint of a node, we will need to extend the XML framework to accommodate the extra functionality required.

The XML structure is not complicated – think of it as HTML with extra tags. The tags Stacki incorporates, map to kickstart elements you should already be familiar with: pre, post, main, package. From there it’s mostly adding shell commands and scripts to install and configure applications.

For more information about the available XML tags, refer to the Wire Reference Guide

Introduction to Carts

Carts are created by end users in order to customize the configuration of backend nodes. For this section, we will walk through an example of creating a cart to add an Apache web server to backend nodes. We’ll call this the apache cart.

First, we’ll need to add the apache cart to the frontend:

# stack add cart apache

This will create the directory /export/stack/carts/apache and populate it with the following files and directories:


In Stacki, backend node configuration is controlled by a collection of XML files. A node XML file contains the description of additional packages and configuration that should be applied to backend hosts. For this example, we will edit nodes/cart-apache-backend.xml and include a line that instructs Stacki to install the httpd package (the name of the Apache web server). Using your favorite editor, open nodes/cart-apache-backend.xml and you’ll see:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone="no"?>

        apache cart backend appliance extensions

        <!-- <package></package> -->

<!-- shell code for post RPM installation -->


To add the httpd package, change the line:

<!-- <package></package> -->



Next, we need to add code that runs in the post section (the section that executes after all packages are installed) that will enable the httpd server. To do that, change the section:




/sbin/chkconfig --add httpd
/sbin/chkconfig httpd on

Now we need to associate the apache cart with the default box. This makes sure our modifications will be executed when backend nodes are installed.

A box is collection of pallets and carts. When you build a Stacki frontend, the os and stacki pallets are already assembled into the default box. To see what pallets and carts are included in the default box, execute:

# stack list box

And you’ll see:

NAME     OS     PALLETS                   CARTS
default: redhat os-6.7-6.x stacki-3.0-6.x -----

This tells us that the default box is currently composed of the os and stacki pallets (and no carts).

We can associate our apache cart to the default box by executing:

# stack enable cart apache

And now stack list box shows us:

NAME     OS     PALLETS                   CARTS 
default: redhat os-6.7-6.x stacki-3.0-6.x apache

After the apache cart is associated with the default box, we can verify that our changes will be applied to a backend host when it installs. We can create a kickstart file for a backend host (in the command below, the backend host’s name is backend-0-0), by executing:

# stack list host profile backend-0-0 > /tmp/ks.cfg 

If you open the file /tmp/ks.cfg, you’ll see that httpd is listed in the packages section:

%packages --ignoremissing

And that our post section is in one of the post sections:

%post --log=/mnt/sysimage/var/log/stack-install.log

/sbin/chkconfig --add httpd
/sbin/chkconfig httpd on


Now when a backend host is reinstalled, the Apache web server will automatically be up and running.

Adding New RPMs to a Cart

Download the RPM(s) for the application you want. Then you’ll want to copy them into your cart.

For this example, we’ll still be using the apache cart that we created above. Copy the RPM(s) into:


If you want to add them on the fly, i.e. you don’t want to reinstall your machines then execute:

# stack compile cart apache 
# stack report host yum "hostname" | stack report script | ssh -T "hostname"

In the above command, hostname is a name of one of your backend nodes.

Then to add rpmname to all your backend nodes.

# stack run host backend "yum clean all && yum -y install <rpmname>"

To automatically apply the RPM rpmname to a backend node during installation, just add another package line as described above. For example, add the following line to your cart-apache-backend.xml node XML file:

Need enterprise support? Stacki Enterprise Editions