Preparing and Joining your Nodes to the Controller

How to join your Anka Build Virtualization Nodes to the Anka Build Cloud Controller

Preparing your Nodes

Once you’ve set up your Controller & Registry, you’ll want to install Anka Build Virtualization software onto a macOS machine and join it to your Build Cloud.

This guide has a few options that are typically not available on MDM controlled machines. You may need to ask your system administrators/local IT team to allow them.
Be sure to reboot the host after applying these changes.
  • Enable Automatic Login for the current user: Go to Preferences > Users > Enable Automatic Login for the current user. Or, use sudo sysadminctl -autologin set -userName {USERTOENABLE} -password {PASSWORD}.

  • Disable spotlight on the host and also inside of the VM:

    If you cannot perform launchctl commands, you can execute these commands from the command-line:

    sudo defaults write ~/.Spotlight-V100/VolumeConfiguration.plist Exclusions -array "/Volumes"
    sudo defaults write ~/.Spotlight-V100/VolumeConfiguration.plist Exclusions -array "/Network"
    sudo killall mds || true
    sleep 60
    sudo mdutil -a -i off /
    sudo mdutil -a -i off
    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
    sudo rm -rf /.Spotlight-V100/*

    MDS can be disable entirely with sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/, but only if SIP is disabled on the host (not recommended).

You may also want to have your nodes restart on host level failure: systemsetup -setrestartpowerfailure on & systemsetup -setrestartfreeze on

Joining Prerequisites

Add the Registry

This is not needed on all Nodes connecting to the Controller. Most users have a “builder machine” that has the registry connection and is used to create and push VM Templates/Tags.
Assuming you haven’t changed the default port configuration, your Registry is serving requests on port 8089.

We now need to configure the Registry on this machine so we can push/upload the local VM Template so other machines connected to the Anka Build Cloud. Uploading the Template to the Registry makes it possible to download and run it from other nodes.

sudo anka registry add <registry name> http://<ip>:8089

Verify the configuration:

sudo anka registry list-repos

<registry name you set> (default)

| host   | <the ip you set> |
| scheme | http             |
| port   | 8089             |

Then, confirm the registry list command shows your VM Template:

sudo anka registry list

Push the VM to the Registry

sudo anka registry -r http://anka.registry:8089 push 12.X -t base
In the example above, -r {URL} is used, but is not required if you’ve added the Registry using anka registry add.

After the push completes, you should see your new Template in the “Templates” section of the controller UI.

Your first template

Join to the Controller & Registry

Be sure to run ankacluster as root.
Avoid using underscores in your domainnames/urls.
❯ sudo ankacluster join http://<ip>
Testing connection to controller...: Ok
Testing connection to the registry...: Ok
Cluster join success
  • Replace <ip> with the IP of the machine hosting your controller:
  • If you changed the default port for the controller from 80, you’ll need to use the new port at the end of the IP. Otherwise, leave it off.

The command may hang for a few moments and then display Cluster join success. Please report any errors you find to [email protected].

The Anka agent is listening on a socket to provide status information at runtime. You can override the path of the socket by setting the ANKA_AGENT_SOCKET env var.
❯ sudo ankacluster join --help
Joins the current machine to one or many Anka Build Cloud Controllers


      --api-key-file string                   The (non-base64) API Key file path. Takes precedence over api-key-string
      --api-key-id string                     API Key identifier
      --api-key-string string                 API Key string
  -c, --cacert string                         Specify the path to your Root CA Certificate (PEM/X509)
  -M, --capacity-mode string                  Set the capacity mode (resource or number) the Node will use when calculating if it can start a VM task - 'resource' will look at total unused CPU cores and RAM available - 2GB (see --vcpu-override and --ram-override) & 'number' will only accept if --max-vm-count isn't already met (default 'number') (default "number")
  -C, --cert string                           Specify the path to the Node's certificate file (PEM/X509)
  -K, --cert-key string                       Specify the path to the Node's certificate key file (PEM/X509)
      --cli-start-timeout duration            Timeout for anka start command (default 1m30s)
      --dial-timeout duration                 http dial timeout (default 15s)
      --drain-mode                            Join node with Drain Mode
      --dump-network-meter                    Dump aggregation of http stats to a file (default true)
      --dump-network-meter-file-name string   Filepath to dump http stats to, dir is log dir (default "http-dump.json")
      --enable-vm-monitor                     Enabled unresponsive VM monitoring. This will throw a failure when the VM becomes unresponsive for longer than the --vm-stuck-timeout
  -f, --force-no-sudo                         Force the anka_agent to start without sudo
  -g, --global                                DEPRECATED! Install agent into system domain
  -G, --groups string                         Specify group name (or multiple names sepearated by ',') to add the current Node to
      --heartbeat duration                    Set the duration between status updates the Node sends to the Anka Cloud Cluster (default: 5 seconds)
  -h, --help                                  help for join
  -H, --host string                           Set the address (IP or Hostname) of the Node that the Anka Cloud Cluster will use when communicating with CI tools/plugins. This is useful when your CI tool cannot connect to the Node's local IP address (the default value of --host), but does have access to an external IP or hostname for it (proxy, load balancer, etc).
      --ignore-arm-vm-limit                   Ignore ARM VM Limit
  -k, --keystore string                       Specify the path to your certificate keystore (PEM/PKCS12)
  -p, --keystore-pass string                  Specify the password for your certificate keystore
      --max-idle-connections-per-host int     mac idle connections per host (default 50)
  -m, --max-vm-count int                      Set the maximum number of VMs this Node is allowed to run (default: 2) (default 2)
  -n, --name string                           Set a custom Node name (default: hostname)
      --no-central-logging                    Disable sending logs to central logging location
      --node-id string                        Custom node id
      --num-http-sample-threshold int         The agent will aggregate http stats after this amount of requests (default 1000)
      --num-workers int                       The number of concurrent worker executing tasks (default 2)
      --optimization-threshold int            Number of times to retry to start VM before starting disk space optimization (default 5)
  -R, --ram-override int                      Override ram limit for resource based capacity (default: {total ram} - 2GB)
      --request-timeout duration              http request timeout (default 1m0s)
      --reserve-space string                  Disk space to reserve when pulling. Number followed by magnitude (1024B, 10KB, 140MB, 45GB...) (default: 20% of disk size)
  -r, --root-cert string                      Identical to --cacert
      --skip-pull-error string                pass no-download-bytes for ignoring pull errors when download bytes is 0
      --skip-tests                            Disable testing the connection before starting the agent
      --skip-tls-verification                 Skip TLS verification
  -t, --tls                                   Enable TLS for communicating with the Anka Cloud Cluster
      --tls-handshake-timeout duration        tls handshake timeout (default 5s)
  -V, --vcpu-override int                     Override vcpu limit for resource based capacity (default: {current physical(intel)/performance(arm) cpu count} * 2)
      --verbosity string                      verbosity level, 0 - 10 (higher number - more chatty)
      --vm-stuck-delay duration               The time between unresponsive VM checks (default: 30s - Duration examples: 3500s, 20m, 5h)
      --vm-stuck-timeout duration             The time to wait until the VM is considered unresponsive (default: 10s - Duration examples: 3500s, 20m, 5h)

Check Join Status

You can check the status of the Anka agent using the sudo ankacluster status command.

❯ sudo ankacluster status
status: running
  vm_limit: 2
  optimization_threshold: 5
  num_workers: 2
  version: 1.13.0-6cd34a2c
  capacity_mode: number
  heartbeat: 5s
  node_name: MyMacMiniNode
  vm_stuck_check_delay: 30s
  vm_stuck_check_timeout: 10s

Start a VM instance using the Controller UI

  1. Go to your Controller dashboard and click on the Instances tab:

    your instances view

  2. Click on Create Instance(s), and the Create New Instances view displays:

    new instances view

  3. Select the VM Template and click Start. The Create New Instances view closes and returns you to the Instances view. You should now see the Instance in a Scheduling or Pulling State: a scheduling instance

  4. After the Scheduling and Pulling finishes, the VM starts on one of the Nodes and shows a Started State in the Controller UI:

    a started instance

You can now confirm the Instance is running from inside the Node:

  • JSON output is available for scripting/automation using anka --machine-readable
sudo anka --machine-readable list | jq
  "status": "OK",
  "body": [
      "status": "suspended",
      "name": "catalina",
      "stop_date": "2020-04-01T21:30:59.798697Z",
      "creation_date": "2020-04-01T00:00:13.656296Z",
      "version": "base",
      "uuid": "10c720eb-dcce-46f7-baa3-28bacef0ec0f"
      "status": "running",
      "name": "mgmtManaged-catalina-1585776660490226000",
      "stop_date": "2020-04-01T21:36:11.742662Z",
      "creation_date": "2020-04-01T21:31:01.055250Z",
      "version": "",
      "uuid": "dcbeb319-421a-4d30-8466-194eb7fa5f75"
  "message": ""
Timestamp format:


You don’t need to disjoin nodes to upgrade the Anka Virtualization package.
❯ sudo ankacluster disjoin
Disjoined from the Anka Cloud Cluster

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  • Errors like the following are typically the cause of an older version of the agent on your node. You’ll want to visit, download the agent version matching your controller’s version, and then try your ankacluster join command again:
    > sudo ankacluster join http://anka.controller --reserve-space 20GB
    Testing connection to controller...: Ok
    Testing connection to the registry...: Ok
    exit status 2
    Log file created at: 2021/07/16 12:36:10
    Running on machine: hostname1
    Binary: Built with gc go1.14.3 for darwin/amd64
    Log line format: [IWEF]mmdd hh:mm:ss.uuuuuu threadid file:line] msg
    I0716 12:36:10.164826  8172 log_cleaner.go:34] clean /var/log/veertu/anka_agent*...
    I0716 12:36:10.166385  8172 log_cleaner.go:56] don't touch: /var/log/veertu/anka_agent.hostname1.root.log.INFO.20210716-123610.8172
    I0716 12:36:10.172275  8172 main.go:173] starting ankaAgent
    I0716 12:36:10.172282  8172 main.go:174] Anka Agent version: 1.7.1-9545c9f5
    I0716 12:36:10.965625  8172 runner.go:43] Anka version is 2.4.1
    I0716 12:36:10.965806  8172 runner.go:46] Agent Version is v2
    Joining cluster failed
  • The Controller will be checking disk space on every pull/preparation of a VM. If not enough disk space is available, it will automatically delete VM Templates/tags from the Node based on which has the oldest last used timestamp until there is enough space for the VM Template/Tag. This cannot be disabled at the moment. This can be modified to some extent by using –reserve-space flag (see explanation above)
  • The registry External URL (seen in the controller UI/config) is used by the Nodes to pull down templates and tags. Be sure to set this URL properly in your Build Cloud Configuration and ensure firewalls allow communication.