Integration testing


Integration tests are written using pytest and are located at tests/integration_tests. General design principles laid out in Testing should be followed for integration tests.

Setup is accomplished via a set of fixtures located in tests/integration_tests/

Test definition

Tests are defined like any other pytest test. The user_data mark can be used to supply the cloud-config user data. Platform-specific marks can be used to limit tests to particular platforms. The client fixture can be used to interact with the launched test instance.

See Examples section for examples.

Test execution

Test execution happens via pytest. A tox definition exists to run integration tests. To run all integration tests, you would run:

$ tox -e integration-tests

pytest arguments may also be passed. For example:

$ tox -e integration-tests tests/integration_tests/modules/


All possible configuration values are defined in tests/integration_tests/ Defaults can be overridden by supplying values in tests/integration_tests/ or by providing an environment variable of the same name prepended with CLOUD_INIT_. For example, to set the PLATFORM setting:

CLOUD_INIT_PLATFORM='ec2' pytest tests/integration_tests/

Cloud interaction

Cloud interaction happens via the pycloudlib library. In order to run integration tests, pycloudlib must first be configured.

For a minimal setup using LXD, write the following to ~/.config/pycloudlib.toml:


Image selection

Each integration testing run uses a single image as its basis. This image is configured using the OS_IMAGE variable; see Configuration for details of how configuration works.

OS_IMAGE can take two types of value: an Ubuntu series name (e.g. “focal”), or an image specification. If an Ubuntu series name is given, then the most recent image for that series on the target cloud will be used. For other use cases, an image specification is used.

In its simplest form, an image specification can simply be a cloud’s image ID (e.g., “ami-deadbeef”, “ubuntu:focal”). In this case, the identified image will be used as the basis for this testing run.

This has a drawback, however. As we do not know what OS or release is within the image, the integration testing framework will run all tests against the image in question. If it’s a RHEL8 image, then we would expect Ubuntu-specific tests to fail (and vice versa).

To address this, a full image specification can be given. This is of the form: <image_id>[::<os>[::<release>]] where image_id is a cloud’s image ID, os is the OS name, and release is the OS release name. So, for example, Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) on LXD is ubuntu:bionic::ubuntu::bionic or RHEL8 on Amazon is ami-justanexample::rhel::8. When a full specification is given, only tests which are intended for use on that OS and release will be executed.

Image setup

Image setup occurs once when a test session begins and is implemented via fixture. Image setup roughly follows these steps:

  • Launch an instance on the specified test platform.

  • Install the version of cloud-init under test.

  • Run cloud-init clean on the instance so subsequent boots resemble “out of the box” behaviour.

  • Take a snapshot of the instance to be used as a new image from which new instances can be launched.

Test setup

Test setup occurs between image setup and test execution. Test setup is implemented via one of the client fixtures. When a client fixture is used, a test instance from which to run tests is launched prior to test execution, and then torn down after.

Continuous integration

A subset of the integration tests are run when a pull request is submitted on GitHub. The tests run on these continuous integration (CI) runs are given a pytest mark:

Most new tests should not use this mark, so be aware that having a successful CI run does not necessarily mean that your test passed successfully.


Integration tests rely heavily on fixtures to do initial test setup. One or more of these fixtures will be used in almost every integration test.

Details such as the cloud platform or initial image to use are determined via what is specified in the Configuration.


The client fixture should be used for most test cases. It ensures:

  • All setup performed by session_cloud and setup_image.

  • Pytest marks used during instance creation are obtained and applied.

  • The test instance is launched.

  • Test failure status is determined after test execution.

  • Logs are collected (if configured) after test execution.

  • The test instance is torn down after test execution.

module_client and class_client fixtures also exist for the purpose of running multiple tests against a single launched instance. They provide the exact same functionality as client, but are scoped to the module or class respectively.


The session_cloud session-scoped fixture will provide an IntegrationCloud instance for the currently configured cloud. The fixture also ensures that any custom cloud session cleanup is performed.


The setup_image session-scope fixture will create a new image to launch all further cloud instances during this test run. It ensures:

  • A cloud instance is launched on the configured platform.

  • The version of cloud-init under test is installed on the instance.

  • cloud-init clean --logs is run on the instance.

  • A snapshot of the instance is taken to be used as the basis for future instance launches.

  • The originally launched instance is torn down.

  • The custom created image is torn down after all tests finish.


A simple test case using the client fixture:

USER_DATA = """\
- echo 'hello!' > /var/tmp/hello.txt

def test_bootcmd(client):
    log = client.read_from_file("/var/log/cloud-init.log")
    assert "Shellified 1 commands." in log
    assert client.execute('cat /var/tmp/hello.txt').strip() == "hello!"

Customizing the launch arguments before launching an instance manually:

def test_launch(session_cloud: IntegrationCloud, setup_image):
    with session_cloud.launch(launch_kwargs={"wait": False}) as client:
        assert client.execute("echo hello world").strip() == "hello world"