LAVA schema

In general, the schema used for the pipeline are constrained, not strict or free form. This means that the schema requires that specific elements must exist in specific formats but that other structures can be added without invalidating the file according to the schema.

There are several types of schema in the pipeline:

  • Job Submission Schema - used by test writers
  • Device schema - used internally to validate the output of calls to the device dictionary.
  • Dispatcher schema - a modified version of the job submission schema to handle the changes imposed when splitting multinode jobs.

As high level constrained schema, the detail of valid files can change without needing a change in the schema. Schema will update only if large additions are made, for example is a new protocol is added but the schema itself is not versioned. The strategy classes impose any change of requirements in a much more precise manner than any schema.

Job Submission Schema

The Job Submission Schema exists to act as an initial filter on strings submitted over XML-RPC. Only a simple, fast, check is made on YAML syntax and basic object structure. Once this test passes, the YAML is entered into the database and a JobID is returned to the submitter.

After submission, jobs are subject to full validation by the dispatcher where the details of the submission will be checked against the requirements of the pipeline determined by the strategies requested within the job. This validation check happens after the scheduler has assigned a device to the job but before the job starts Running. If this check fails, the job will be marked as Incomplete with a failure comment. During the check, URLs included in the job submission will be checked as well as whether the job submission can be successfully built into a valid pipeline. This validation step can only be repeated with full access to the device configuration of the instance.

During the submission process, there are also checks on the device type, device restrictions and other scheduler criteria. These are checked after the schema check.

An example pipeline job for a QEMU device looks like:

# Sample JOB definition for a KVM

device_type: qemu
job_name: qemu-pipeline
   minutes: 15            # timeout for the whole job (default: ??h)
   minutes: 5         # default timeout applied for each action; can be overriden in the action itself (default: ?h)
priority: medium


   - deploy:
         minutes: 20
       to: tmpfs
       compression: gz
       os: debian
       # if root_partition partition is not present:
       # - look for a partitions labelled "root" or "ROOT" or "Root" (i.e. case insensitive)
       # - look into device configuration
       root_partition: 1

   - boot:
         - 'linaro-test'
         - 'root@debian:~#'
       method: qemu
       media: tmpfs
       failure_retry: 2

   - test:
       failure_retry: 3
       name: kvm-basic-singlenode  # is not present, use "test $N"
       # only s, m & h are supported.
         minutes: 5 # uses install:deps, so takes longer than singlenode01
           - repository: git://
             from: git
             path: lava-test-shell/smoke-tests-basic.yaml
             name: smoke-tests
           - repository:
             from: git
             path: lava-test-shell/single-node/singlenode03.yaml
             name: singlenode-advanced

The submission schema for pipeline jobs can be represented as follows:

device_type: qemu

job_name: string (max 200 chars) Required
timeouts: Required Extra
 job: Required
   days|hours|minutes|seconds: integer Required
 action: Required
   days|hours|minutes|seconds: integer Required
priority: high|medium|low|integer ([0, 100])
    timeout: days|hours|minutes|seconds: integer Required
    roles: dictionary
  string: string
actions: Required
   - deploy: Extra
         minutes: integer
       to: string Required
   - boot: Extra
       prompts: Required
         - string Required
       method: string Required
   - test: Extra
         minutes: integer
       definitions: Required Extra
           - repository: string|inline
             from: string
             path: string
             name: string
  • Elements indicated as Required must be provided if the element has no parent or if that parent is also Required. All other elements are optional.
  • Elements indicated with Extra can have arbitrary other values inserted as long as the YAML remains valid. These extra values must still make sense to the dispatcher validation process.
  • The type of the element is enforced within the meaning of that type to the python interpreter and the python YAML parser.
  • Where alternatives are shown, only one of those alternatives is allowed, anything else is disallowed.
  • Where the YAML indicates a list or a dictionary, that list or dictionary can be extended with other allowed elements.

Schema elements


Comments in YAML start with # and continue to the end of that line.

Comments are retained in the submission and are stored in the database as part of the job definition. If the job is multinode, no comments are generated for individual nodes but comments in the multinode job submission YAML are retained in the Multinode Definition.

Job Name

  • job_name: string
  • Required, max length 200 characters, minimum length 1 character.

Convention in the current dispatcher is that the job name does not use whitespace. This convention does not need to be observed with the refactoring as the job name is only stored in the database, the dispatcher does not care. As a database field, there is a maximum character length of 200 characters. A Job Name is Required as it becomes an important part of how the web frontend displays information about the job. The name itself should be a description of the objective of the test job rather than duplicating information already available, like the type of device or the submitter.

Device Type

  • device_type: string
  • minimum length 1 character.

Although not required by the schema, single node jobs will fail to validate if no device type is given. Multi node jobs need the device type of particular roles to be specified.

The device type must exist on that instance for the submission to be accepted by the scheduler even if the schema is otherwise valid.


See also


  • timeouts: dictionary
  • Required

The refactoring introduces a new method of determining timeouts. The schema requires that a job timeout is specified and that the default timeout for each action is also specified. See Timeout Reference.

A job timeout and an action timeout must be specified for the schema to validate.

Timeouts should be specified as integers of the number of days, hours, minutes or seconds required. There is generally no need to specify more than one designator, just round up to the nearest. e.g. instead of 90 seconds, use 2 minutes. Timeouts lasting longer than 1 day should be used with extreme caution. Being a good citizen in a LAVA instance means not blocking other users from using the device, should your job fail early in a way that can only be cleared via a timeout.

Use Individual action timeouts to handle situations where the job can hang until it times out. The named action which is running at the time that the job can hang should have a timeout which stops the action within a time period around twice the average duration of the same action when the job is successful.

    minutes: 15


  • priority: high, medium or low.

Same as the existing priority support.


Context allows individual jobs to override selected device configuration values. The fields which can and cannot be overridden are not (yet) obvious but include the architecture of the QEMU command and the console device and/or baud rate of other devices. It is also possible to override the NFS args and UEFI Menu selections. See Overriding values in device type, device dictionary and the job context

  menu_interrupt_prompt: 'Default boot will start in'

(The default values and which values can be overridden will be exposed in the next stages of development.)

Some menu selections may embed device-specific information, e.g.:

-  'TFTP on MAC Address: 00:01:73:69:5A:EF'

The MAC address is a fixed part of the device configuration for a particular physical interface on that device and therefore needs to be retained even if an update causes other elements of the menu to change.

This is handled by asking the template to retain the MAC address specified for that device using a placeholder in the context specified in the job submission:

  # ... other menu entries
  - 'item': "TFTP on MAC Address: tftp_mac"
  # ... other menu entries

Always take care to quote all strings containing a colon when using YAML.

Details of which placeholders are available for which devices and which values has not yet been collated.



  • Required: list of action dictionaries, Extra
  • List entries must each be one of deploy, boot or test and can be repeated or omitted, as long as at least one action is specified.

Each action element allows Extra which means that the full list of dictionary items which can be included beneath the action is defined by the pipeline, not by the schema. The schema only asserts that selected fields must exist (like where to deploy data to and how to boot or the definitions to be used for the test).

Deploy Action
  • to element is Required.

The deploy action dictates the deployment strategy for the pipeline. The elements of the deploy action (and details from the assigned device) are used by the pipeline to determine how the deployment will happen and whether the submission is able to build a valid pipeline. If a test action is also defined, the deploy action also uses the deploy elements to determine which type of operating system support will be included into the deployment data.

Deploy Actions will typically occur on the dispatcher and are collectively assigned tasks which prepare the device to be booted in preparation for the test.

Boot Action
  • prompts element is Required.

The boot action prompts is a list of strings or a single string which will be matched against the prompt of the booted system.

  • method element is Required.

The boot action dictates the boot strategy for the pipeline. The elements of the boot action (and details of the assigned device) are used by the pipeline to determine the boot commands and boot sequence as well as whether the submission is able to build a valid pipeline.

The first action in a boot strategy will typically be an attempt to establish a connection to the device and cause either a reboot or a power-on event.

Some boot actions do not actually involve a reboot but can simply be a connection to a device which is already running. Boot Actions are collectively assigned tasks which communicate with the device in such a way as to allow the test to start.

Test Action
  • repository element is Required.

The test action dictates the test definitions which will be used by the pipeline. The elements of the test action are used by the pipeline to prepare the overlay of test definitions and test script helpers which will be deployed to the assigned device and then executed after the device has booted.