Managing jails

The life cycle of a jail managed by BSDploy begins with an instance entry in ploy.conf, i.e. like so:

ip =
master = ploy-demo

The minimally required parameters are the IP address of the jail (ip) and a reference to the jailhost (master) – the name of the jail is taken from the section name (in the example webserver).


Unlike ez-master or other instances, names of jails are restricted by the constraints that FreeBSD imposes, namely they cannot contain dashes (-)

BSDploy creates its own loopback device (lo1) during configuration and assigns a network of by default (see bsdploy/roles/jails_host/defaults/main.yml for other values and their defaults), so you can use any 10.x.x.x IP address out-of-the-box for your jails.

Once defined, you can start the jail straight away. There is no explicit create command, if the jail does not exist during startup, it will be created on-demand:

# ploy start webserver
INFO: Creating instance 'webserver'
INFO: Starting instance 'webserver' with startup script, this can take a while.

You can find out about the state of a jail by running ploy status JAILNAME.

A jail can be stopped with ploy stop JAILNAME.

A jail can be completely removed with ploy terminate JAILNAME. This will destroy the ZFS filesystem specific to that jail.

SSH Access

BSDploy encourages jails to have a private IP address but compensates for that by providing convenient SSH access to them anyway, by automatically configuring an SSH ProxyCommand.

Essentially, this means that you can SSH into any jail (or other instance) by providing it as a target for ploy’s ssh command, i.e.:

# ploy ssh webserver
FreeBSD 9.2-RELEASE (GENERIC) #6 r255896M: Wed Oct  9 01:45:07 CEST 2013

Gehe nicht über Los.
root@webserver:~ #

Strictly speaking, you would need to address the jail instance together with the name of the host (to disambiguate multi-host scenarios) but since in this example there is only one jail host defined, webserver is enough, otherwise you would use jailhost-webserver.

rsync and scp

To access a jail with rsync (don’t forget to install the rsync package into it!) or scp you can pass the ploy-ssh script into them like so:

scp -S ploy-ssh some.file webserver:/some/path/
rsync -e ploy-ssh some/path webserver:/some/path