Advanced Installation Topics

The basic First steps installing LAVA V2 guide should be a good start for most users installing LAVA. For more advanced users, here is much more information and recommendations for administrators.

Requirements to Consider Before Installing LAVA


Be careful with laptop installs, particularly if you are using health checks. It is all too easy for a health check to take the device offline just because the laptop was suspended or without an internet connection at the relevant moment.

Laptops also have limitations on device availability but are routinely used as development platforms and can support QEMU devices without problems.

Virtual Machines

LAVA installs inside a virtual machine (or container) have particular constraints. A QEMU device or container may suffer from being executed within the constraints of the existing virtualisation and other devices may need USB device nodes to be passed through to the VM. Depending on the VM, it is also possible that storage space for the logs may become an issue.


Consider the expected load of the master and each of the workers:

  • The workload on the master primarily depends on:
    1. the visibility of the instance,
    2. the number of users,
    3. the average number of jobs in the queue and
    4. the total number of devices attached across all the workers connected to this master.
  • The workload on the worker involves a range of tasks, scaling with the number of devices attached to the worker:
    1. doing a lot of synchronous I/O,
    2. decompression of large files
    3. serving large files over TFTP or HTTP and
    4. git clone operations.

ARMv7 devices can serve as a master or worker but SATA support is strongly recommended along with 2GB of RAM.


LAVA expects to be the primary host on the master. This has improved with V2 but unless your instance is V2-only, you may experience problems or require additional configuration to use LAVA as a virtual host.

Other infrastructure

LAVA will need other services to be available, either using separate tools on the same machines or as separate hardware. This list is not exhaustive.

Remote power control

Automated power control using a (PDU) is the most common issue with new LAVA labs. Hardware can be difficult to obtain and configuring the remote power control can require custom scripting. There is no single device for all use cases and a wide variety of possible solutions, depending on your needs. Take the time to research the issues and ask on the lava-users mailing list.

Serial console support

Once more than a handful of devices are attached to a worker it becomes necessary to have a separate unit to handle the serial connectivity, turning serial ports into TCP ports. Bespoke serial console servers can be expensive, alternatives include ARMv7 boards with ser2net installed but the USB and ethernet support needs to be reliable.

Network switches

Simple unmanaged switches will work for small LAVA labs but managed switches are essential to use VLANd support in LAVA test jobs and will also be important for medium to large LAVA labs.

Power supply

UPS allows the entire lab to cope with power interruptions. Depending on the budget, this could be a small UPS capable of supporting the master and the worker for 10 minutes or it could be a combination of larger UPS units and a generator.


The master is not the place to be putting build artefacts, the worker will download those later to a temporary location when the job starts. The development builds and the files built to support the LAVA test need to happen on a suitably powerful machine to match the expectations of the CI loop and the developers.

Shelving and racks

Quite quickly, the tangle of power cables, network cables, serial cables, devices, switches and other infrastructure will swamp a desk etc. For even a small lab of a handful of devices, a set of shelves or a wall-mounted rack is going to make things a lot easier to manage.

Other installation notes

Automated installation

Using debconf pre-seeding with Debian packages

Debconf can be easily automated with a text file which contains the answers for debconf questions - just keep the file up to date if the questions change. For example, to preseed a worker install:

# cat preseed.txt
lava-server   lava-worker/db-port string 5432
lava-server   lava-worker/db-user string lava-server
lava-server   lava-server/master boolean false
lava-server   lava-worker/master-instance-name string default
lava-server   lava-worker/db-server string snagglepuss.codehelp
lava-server   lava-worker/db-pass string werewolves
lava-server   lava-worker/db-name string lava-server

Insert the preseed information into the debconf database:

debconf-set-selections < preseed.txt
# debconf-show lava-server
* lava-worker/master-instance-name: default
* lava-server/master: false
* lava-worker/db-pass: werewolves
* lava-worker/db-port: 5432
* lava-worker/db-name: lava-server
* lava-worker/db-server: snagglepuss.codehelp
* lava-worker/db-user: lava-server

The strings available for seeding are in the Debian packaging for the relevant package, in the debian/<PACKAGE>.templates file.

LAVA server branding support

The icon, link, alt text, bug URL and source code URL of the LAVA link on each page can be changed in the settings /etc/lava-server/settings.conf (JSON syntax):

"BRANDING_ALT": "Example site",

If the icon is available under the django static files location, this location can be specified instead of a URL:

"BRANDING_ICON": "path/to/image.png",

There are limits to the size of the image, approximately 32x32 pixels, to avoid overlap.

The favicon is configurable via the Apache configuration:

Alias /favicon.ico /usr/share/lava-server/static/lava-server/images/logo.png

Unattended upgrades

Debian provides a package which can be installed to keep the computer current with the latest security (and other) updates automatically. If you plan to use it, you should have some means to monitor your systems, such as installing the apt-listchanges package and configuring it to send you emails about updates and a working email configuration on each machine.

This service is recommended for LAVA instances but is not part of LAVA itself. Please read the Debian wiki instructions carefully. If unattended upgrades are used, ensure that the master and all workers are similarly configured and this includes creating a working email configuration on each worker.

Example changes


The default installation of unattended-upgrades enables automatic upgrades for all security updates:

Unattended-Upgrade::Origins-Pattern {


Optionally add automatic updates from the LAVA repositories if those are in use:

Unattended-Upgrade::Origins-Pattern {


Other repositories can be added to the upgrade by checking the output of apt-cache policy, e.g.:

release v=8.1,o=Linaro,a=unstable,n=sid,l=Lava,c=main

Relates to an origin (o) of Linaro and a label (l) of Lava.

When configuring unattended upgrades for the master or any worker which still supports LAVA V1, PostgreSQL will need to be added to the Package-Blacklist. Although services like PostgreSQL do get security updates and these updates are important to apply, unattended-upgrades does not currently restart other services which are dependent on the service being upgraded. Admins still need to watch for security updates to PostgreSQL and apply the update manually, restarting services like lavapdu-runner, lava-master and lava-server:

Unattended-Upgrade::Package-Blacklist {

Email notifications also need to be configured.

Unattended-Upgrade::Mail "";

Unattended-Upgrade::MailOnlyOnError "true";

With these changes to /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades, the rest of the setup is as described on the Debian wiki.

Configuring event notifications

Event notifications must be configured before being enabled.

  • All changes need to be configured in /etc/lava-server/settings.conf (JSON syntax).
  • Ensure that the EVENT_TOPIC is changed to a string which the receivers of the events can use for filtering.
    • Instances in the Cambridge lab use a convention which is similar to DBus - the top level URL of the instance is reversed.
  • Ensure that the EVENT_SOCKET is visible to the receivers - change the default port of 5500 if required.
  • Enable event notifications by setting EVENT_NOTIFICATION to true

When changing the configuration, you should restart the corresponding services:

service lava-publisher restart
service lava-master restart
service lava-server restart
service lava-server-gunicorn restart

The default values for the event notification settings are:

"EVENT_TOPIC": "org.linaro.validation",
"INTERNAL_EVENT_SOCKET": "ipc:///tmp/",
"EVENT_SOCKET": "tcp://*:5500",

The INTERNAL_EVENT_SOCKET does not usually need to be changed.

Services which will receive these events must be able to connect to the EVENT_SOCKET. Depending on your local configuration, this may involve opening the specified port on a firewall.

With this configuration, LAVA will publish events to the EVENT_SOCKET only, using a zmq PUB socket.


This type of socket is realy powerful to publish messages to a large audience. However, In case of a network breakage, the client nor the server will notice that the connection was lost and might miss events.

To publish events on an unrelable network (like Internet) and for a small set of known listeners, you can use the EVENT_ADDITIONAL_SOCKETS. The publisher will connect to this list of endpoints with a zmq PUSH socket for each endpoints.

These sockets are configured to keep a queue of 10000 messages for each endpoints. No messages will be lost, as long as less than 10000 messages are waiting in the queue.