Download PDF

1. RtBrick Tools Installation Guide

1.1. Introduction

RtBrick software is delivered via different means: RBFS (RtBrick Full Stack) software is delivered as custom RtBrick container images (to be used for virtual topologies on x86 servers) or as custom RtBrick ONL installer images (to be used on supported whitebox switches).

In addition to RBFS other RtBrick software is delivered in the Debian package format to be used on supported Ubuntu Linux distribution (currently the only supported Ubuntu release is 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver). The software delivered as Debian packages is composed of a set of CLI tools and/or daemons meant to facilitate working with RBFS containers and the RBFS API.

1.2. What’s New in Tools and Packages

The RtBrick tools distributed in the debian (apt) package format in one of the rtbrick-tools debian (apt) package repositories as described in the RtBrick Tools Installation Guide section 1.3 step 3.

1.2.1. rtbrick-toolkit 21.2.1

The rtbrick-toolkit package has been updated to version 21.2.1 to match the corresponding RBFS release and has been updated to depend on the following RtBrick tools packages with these exact versions:

  • rtbrick-imgstore 1.2.0

  • rtbrick-ansible 4.0.0

  • rtbrick-apigwd 0.9.10

  • rtbrick-ctrld 0.9.13

  • rtbrick-lxcd 0.0.2

  • rtbrick-robot-infrastructure 1.7.0

1.2.2. rtbrick-imgstore 1.2.0

The default images stores configuration for the rtb-image tool contained in the rtbrick-imgstore package has been updated to include the details (URLs, names, etc.) of 2021 RtBrick images stores.

1.2.3. rtbrick-ansible 4.0.0

This new major version of rtb-ansible adds support for per-container RBFS CLI2 (Yang-based) configuration files. At the same time it drops support for old-style YAML container app configurations. If you are currently using rtb-ansible with topologies which include YAML container app configurations you need to migrate those to RBFS CLI2 configurations before using rtb-ansible version 4.0.0.

Please consult the RtBrick Automation Using Ansible Manual for more details about rtb-ansible version 4.0.0 and the container configuration migration.

1.3. Installation

The installation of RtBrick tools is broken into several steps, as follows:

Tip The following commands and outputs are validated only for the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver release.

Step 1: Removing any existing RtBrick tools Debian packages

Some of the RtBrick tools Debian packages have changed and have been upgraded several times. If some the RtBrick tools packages are already installed it might be necessary to remove the currently installed versions:

apt list --installed | egrep -i rtbrick | awk -F '/' '{print $1;}' | xargs sudo apt remove -y

Among other output, you will get the following:

The following packages will be REMOVED:
  rtbrick-ansible rtbrick-imgstore rtbrick-lxc-tools

Step 2: Add the new RtBrick GPG signing key

The RtBrick Debian (apt) package repositories are always signed with the RtBrick Support (Package and Image Signing Key) <> GPG key. If not already present it is required to add this public key to the local apt configuration.

Tip Notice the URL called in the command: it should always be

Step 3: Adding the correct RtBrick repositories

Remember that in Step 1 we removed the old packages; the same action might be necessary for the apt repository URLs, if the local configuration includes old entires. Existing RtBrick apt repository URLs can be deleted with the command below, as well as adding the new ones in the same step:

echo 'deb [ arch=amd64 ] bionic rtbrick-tools' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/rtbrick.list

The RtBrick tools packages are delivered in the apt repository named rtbrick-tools, however this repository is offered multiple times, at different HTTPS locations:

Step 4: Update the local apt package cache

We then have to update the local apt package cache: sudo apt update

Step 5: Install 3rd-party dependencies

Some RtBrick tools packages might have dependencies on 3rd-party software which cannot be delivered thought the RtBrick package repositories.

Currently the rtbrick-ansible package depends on Ansible. For installing Ansible, you can use the official documentation, which can be found at

Warning One very important dependency of rtbrick-ansible is Ansible itself. Make sure you have the latest version of Ansible installed, before trying to install rtbrick-ansible!

Step 6: Install a specific RtBrick tool package

For example, in order to install the rtbrick-ansible package, if the steps above have been completed successfully is it sufficient to run the following command:

sudo apt install rtbrick-ansible

1.4. RtBrick tools packages

1.4.1. rtbrick-toolkit

The rtbrick-toolkit is a meta package which can be used to install all the tools needed to work with RBFS images (container or ONL installer) and with the RBFS API in one command:

sudo apt install rtbrick-toolkit

The rtbrick-toolkit meta package depends and thus automatically installs the following packages:

  • rtbrick-imgstore

  • rtbrick-ansible

  • rtbrick-apigwd

  • rtbrick-ctrld

  • rtbrick-robot-infrastructure

If only part of the functionality is required each package can be installed individually.

1.4.2. rtbrick-ansible

To speed up the process of RBFS container bring up, the rtbrick-ansible package provides the rtb-ansible command which is an ansible based automation solution used to create and maintain topologies of RBFS containers and optionally to configure the RtBrick applications in each container.

The rtbrick-ansible package can be installed with the following command:

sudo apt install rtbrick-ansible

More information about rtb-ansible and how to use it is available in the RtBrick Automation Using Ansible manual.

1.4.3. rtbrick-imgstored

This package provides the rtb-image CLI utility which is RtBrick’s image store handling tool. An image store (imgstore) is a versioned, checksumed and cryptographically signed store of versioned files. It was developed and optimized with the primary goal of storing and distributing Linux OS and Linux container images however it can be used to store any kind of files.

An image store is for images what an apt repository is for Debian packages. It also has some similarities with a docker registry (not to be confused with a docker repository).

The rtb-image command is used for interacting with an image store accessible via HTTP(s), making a local cache of that image store, which can later be used to start LXC containers running RBFS.

pinky@tattooine:~$ sudo apt search rtbrick-imgstore
Sorting... Done
Full Text Search... Done
rtbrick-imgstore/bionic,now 0.4.1 amd64 [installed,automatic]
  RtBrick image store handling tool

pinky@tattooine:~$ sudo apt show rtbrick-imgstore
Package: rtbrick-imgstore
Version: 0.4.1
Priority: extra
Section: rtbrick-internal
Maintainer: RtBrick Support <>
Installed-Size: 24.1 MB
Provides: rtbrick-imgstore
Depends: liblxc-common, liblxc1, lxc, zstd
Replaces: rtbrick-imgstore
Download-Size: 8786 kB
APT-Manual-Installed: no
APT-Sources: bionic/rtbrick-tools amd64 Packages
Description: RtBrick image store handling tool
 version: 0.4.1
 branch: master
 commit: 1b14aa3e49b5b35a41899e20f73340b9d34b780d
 commit_timestamp: 1584356254
 commit_date: 2020-03-16 10:57:34 UTC
 build_timestamp: 1584356367
 build_date: 2020-03-16 10:59:27 UTC
 build_job_hash: 423be4f25ec9
 - git_dep: gopackages/imgstore @ master > imgstore
 git_dep_branch: master
 git_dep_commit: 7f0eac0104646c4d067d3849513d4f75364455a8

The tool (the binary) has in it embedded the GPG public key of , identity which is used to sign all RtBrick images and the image store itself. Common usage of rtb-image

rtb-image has enough versatility, but a few options are commonly used:

  • containers list - List all the LXC containers which are created on the local system.

  • show [<flags>] <UUID> - Show details of image identified by UUID. By default this shows the image in the local cached copy of the store.

  • run --name=NAME [<flags>] <UUID> - Run an LXC container using the specified image. The container must not be already created.

  • list [<flags>] <UUID> - List all the images in the store. By default this lists in the images in the local cached copy of the store.

Table 1. rtb-image list flags
Value Description

-o, --remote

List images directly from the remote store and not from the local cached copy.

-d, --detailed

List detailed information about images.

-f, --format=FORMAT

List only images with a specific format.

-r, --role=ROLE

List only images with a specific role. Currently, roles are spine and leaf.

-p, --platform=PLATFORM

List only images for a specific platform.

-v, --ver-range=VER-RANGE

List only images versions that fall in the provided version range. See the syntax for version ranges at . The hardcoded strings 'latest' or 'newest' will always filter down to a single image, the one considered the newest according to the sorting rules for versions.

-l, --limit=LIMIT

Limit the list of returned images to the the l newest images.

An important part of rtb-image is that it is used to create a local cache of the remote RtBrick image repo. This is done using the rtb-image update command:

sudo rtb-image update
2020/03/16 13:49:54 [DEBUG] GET
2020/03/16 13:49:54 [DEBUG] GET
2020/03/16 13:49:54 [DEBUG] GET
Local cached copy updated to: Store: /var/cache/rtbrick/imagestore Version: 0.1.4 ValidUntil: 2020-05-17 13:25:24.443775551 +0000 UTC

Then we can list the local copies:

pinky@tattooine:~$ rtb-image list

Store: /var/cache/rtbrick/imagestore Version: 0.1.4 ValidUntil: 2020-05-17 13:25:24.443775551 +0000 UTC

UUID                                	Version   	Filename                                            	Format	Role      	Platform	Cached
4838fd65-c4b6-4d05-a372-ac0334f3623b	20.6.1-rc0-rc0	rbfs-cont/rbfs-spine-virtual-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.tar.zst     	lxd   	spine     	virtual 	false
0e2194a9-4cbd-484b-a1a5-4b2c13dc1ccf	20.6.1-rc0-rc0	rbfs-cont/rbfs-accessleaf-virtual-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.tar.zst	lxd   	accessleaf	virtual 	false
638a28bb-7ee8-460f-8fe6-9ec8d4337894	20.6.1-rc0-rc0	rbfs-cont/rbfs-spine-qmx-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.tar.zst         	lxd   	spine     	qmx     	false
21ce3b5c-1e18-474a-8456-06e431da158d	20.6.1-rc0-rc0	rbfs-cont/rbfs-accessleaf-qmx-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.tar.zst    	lxd   	accessleaf	qmx     	false

1.5. Image formats and ONL image installation for supported hardware

RtBrick images delivered through the RtBrick image store and the rtb-image utility have 3 main attributes:

  • format: This is the file format of in which the image is packaged and archived.

  • role: The role inside a network of the device which will be running the image.

  • platform: Identifies the hardware platform or virtualized environment in which the image can run.

RtBrick images mean to be used as containers in a virtualized environment will have format == lxd and platform == virtual.

RtBrick images mean to be installed on supported whitebox switch hardware devices will have format == onl-installer and platform set accordingly to the specific switching hardware.

Tip You can see this using rtb-image list command and looking for the Format column.

1.5.1. ONL images

ONL images are generally installed using a Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) server. The Installation section applies for both virtual and harware installations, with the difference that, when having a physical deployment (One with a ZTP server and switched running ONL images) we can install just the rtbrick-imgstore package on the ZTP server, since it doesn’t have Ansible as dependency (Ansible not being a part of the default Ubuntu repositories), and because generally you will not have containers running on the ZTP server itself.

A typical ONL image download will look as in the following snippet:

pinky@tattooine$ sudo rtb-image update
2020/03/17 07:06:41 [DEBUG] GET
2020/03/17 07:06:42 [DEBUG] GET
2020/03/17 07:06:42 [DEBUG] GET
Local cached copy already up to date: Store: /var/cache/rtbrick/imagestore Version: 0.1.10 ValidUntil: 2020-05-17 18:27:28.624270218 +0000 UTC

$ rtb-image list --format onl-installer --platform qmx --role spine --ver-range latest

Store: /var/cache/rtbrick/imagestore Version: 0.1.10 ValidUntil: 2020-05-17 18:27:28.624270218 +0000 UTC

UUID                                 Version     Filename                                                   Format       Role Platform Cached
c23c4095-5b16-4535-9786-16436a0273d3 20.6.1-rc0-rc0.1 rtbrick-onl-installer/rtbrick-onl-installer-spine-qmx-20... onl-installer spine qmx     false

pinky@tattooine$ sudo rtb-image pull c23c4095-5b16-4535-9786-16436a0273d3
2020/03/17 07:07:09 [DEBUG] GET
2020/03/17 07:07:09 [DEBUG] GET
2020/03/17 07:07:09 [DEBUG] GET
rtbrick-onl-installer-spine-qmx-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.1.sha512 207 B / 207 B [==========================================================================================] 100.00% 0s
rtbrick-onl-installer-spine-qmx-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.1.asc 833 B / 833 B [=============================================================================================] 100.00% 0s
rtbrick-onl-installer-spine-qmx-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.1 1.53 GiB / 1.53 GiB [===========================================================================================] 100.00% 23s
rtbrick-onl-installer-spine-qmx-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.1: decompressing 100 B / 100 B [==================================================================================] 100.00% 0s

pinky@tattooine$ rtb-image show c23c4095-5b16-4535-9786-16436a0273d3

Store: /var/cache/rtbrick/imagestore Version: 0.1.10 ValidUntil: 2020-05-17 18:27:28.624270218 +0000 UTC

UUID:         c23c4095-5b16-4535-9786-16436a0273d3
Version:       20.6.1-rc0-rc0.1
Filename:     rtbrick-onl-installer/rtbrick-onl-installer-spine-qmx-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.1
FullPath/URL: /var/cache/rtbrick/imagestore/rtbrick-onl-installer/rtbrick-onl-installer-spine-qmx-20.6.1-rc0-rc0.1
SHA512:       d4d7dfa52bfb644914a4e83d40683503cd77076df44316eeee5ed23fe7d72840abff716909ca8d29b9fbc7dc8defcd95d50d60fd075352a945a56e14dc25d91a
Format:       onl-installer
Role:         spine
Platform:     qmx
Cached:       true

In a design where the download of the image happens on a different server than the ZTP used for the actual installation, we can install the rtbrick-imgstore package, and move by some means ( rsync, for example) the images from var/cache/rtbrick/imagestore/ of that internet-connected to the ZTP server.

1.6. The rtb-ssh CLI command

rtb-ssh is a script meant to ease connecting into an already running container. It was previously called rssh , and it was renamed, as it was causing confusion with Linux’s restricted shell rssh package which is available in the official Ubuntu apt package repositories.

Besides renaming only minor some changes have been made to the rtb-ssh / rssh script.

The script is installed automatically as part of the rtbrick-imgstore package installation.

The script uses lxc-attach to create a connection to the container specified as the argument. While doing so, it uses the ubuntu user (currently the default user inside an RBFS container) to connect to the container, and uses the bash shell after opening the connection.

Before connecting, it clear the environment before attaching, so no undesired environment variables leak into the container. The variable container=lxc will be the only environment with which the attached program starts.

It only keeps the TERM variable, to have the same strings the user is currently using for clear screen, move cursor, etc.

The rtb-ssh is installed in the /usr/local/bin/ path (alongside rtb-image, etc.). For convenience and backwards compatibility the script is still also installed as rssh .

©Copyright 2021 RtBrick, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The trademarks, logos and service marks ("Marks") displayed in this documentation are the property of RtBrick in the United States and other countries. Use of the Marks are subject to RtBrickā€™s Term of Use Policy, available at Use of marks belonging to other parties is for informational purposes only.