Manual Provisioning


Juju provides a feature called "manual provisioning" that allows you to deploy Juju, and charms, to existing systems. This is useful if you have groups of machines that you want to use for Juju but don't want to add the complexity of a new OpenStack or MAAS setup. It is also useful as a means of deploying workloads to VPS providers and other cheap hosting options. We will describe in this section how to configure an environment using this feature.

Note: Since adding machines is a manual step, using the manual provider doesn't have the "instant elasticity" benefits of using a proper provider; if you're an IaaS provider and want to help us natively support you, please contact us.


Manual provisioning enables you to run Juju on systems that have a supported operating system installed. You will need to ensure that you have both SSH access and sudo rights.


You should start by generating a generic configuration file for Juju and then switching to the Manual provider by using the command:

juju generate-config
juju switch manual

This will generate a file, environments.yaml (if it doesn't already exist), which, for Linux, will reside in your ~/.juju/ directory (and will create the directory if it doesn't already exist).

Note: If you have an existing configuration, you can use juju generate-config --show to output the new config file, then copy and paste relevant areas in a text editor etc.

The generic configuration sections generated for the manual provider will look something like this, though Juju will generate this automatically you usually don't need to edit it:

        type: manual
        # bootstrap-host holds the host name of the machine where the
        # bootstrap machine agent will be started.
        # bootstrap-user specifies the user to authenticate as when
        # connecting to the bootstrap machine. If defaults to
        # the current user.
        # bootstrap-user: joebloggs
        # storage-listen-ip specifies the IP address that the
        # bootstrap machine's Juju storage server will listen
        # on. By default, storage will be served on all
        # network interfaces.
        # storage-listen-ip:
        # storage-port specifies the TCP port that the
        # bootstrap machine's Juju storage server will listen
        # on. It defaults to 8040
        # storage-port: 8040

When bootstrapped, tools storage will be served from the bootstrap-host on the specified storage-listen-ip and storage-port.

The manual provider does not perform automatic machine provisioning like other providers; instead, you must manually provision machines into the environment. Provisioning machines is described in the following sections.


To bootstrap a manual environment, you must specify the bootstrap-host configuration, and optionally the bootstrap-user configuration. If bootstrap-user is not specified, then Juju will ssh to the bootstrap host as the current user. Once the configuration is specified, you bootstrap as usual:

juju bootstrap

The juju bootstrap command will connect to bootstrap-host via SSH, and copy across and install the Juju agent.

When bootstrapping, Juju will create the "ubuntu" user if it does not already exist. To eliminate the need for repeated password prompts, Juju will configure password-less ssh and sudo for the "ubuntu" user.

Adding machines

To add another machine into a manual environment, you must use a variant of the juju add-machine command, such as follows:

juju add-machine
juju add-machine ssh:
juju add-machine ssh:otheruser@

As with bootstrapping, juju add-machine ssh:... will connect to the machine via SSH to install the Juju agent. Machines added in this way may be removed in the usual manner, with juju destroy-machine.

The username specified in juju add-machine ssh:[user@]host is only used when initially connecting to the machine. Thereafter, the "ubuntu" user will be used as described in the Bootstrapping section above.

Considerations and caveats

As is implied by its name, the manual provider does not attempt to control all aspects of the environment, and leaves much control to the user. There are several additional things to consider:

  • All machines added with juju add-machine ssh:... must be able to address and communicate directly with the bootstrap-host, and vice-versa.
  • Sudo access is required on all manually provisioned machines, to install the Juju upstart services.
  • Manually provisioned machines must be running a supported version of Ubuntu (12.04+).
  • It is possible to manually provision machines into non-manual provider environments, however the machine must be placed on the same private subnet as the other machines in the environment.

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