Using Ubuntu Pro airgapped#

Airgapping (or air gapping) is a security measure that involves isolating a machine or network from external/unsecured networks to protect sensitive data.

The term “air gapping” is often used to mean one of two things:

  • “True” airgapped This describes a system operating fully offline or “internetless”. These systems are completely self-contained. Ubuntu Pro can still be used in a fully offline environment via an airgapped contract server and local mirrors. This allows Ubuntu Pro tokens to be distributed across the isolated network, and provides the security support and other benefits of Pro even without internet access.

  • Firewalled deployment Although not truly airgapped, this refers to systems where network connectivity is heavily limited. On-prem setups tend to fall under this method, for example, with Livepatch On-prem – where updates are fetched from the Canonical servers to a local machine. This provides more control over when, how, and which updates are deployed.

How do I sync Pro packages in an airgapped system?#

No matter whether you are running a truly airgapped (offline) system, or one that is heavily firewalled, running Ubuntu Pro airgapped is an advanced use-case. The steps to achieve this are detailed in this guide on our support portal. However, it is important to note that you will need to have a paid subscription to Ubuntu Pro.

What tools will I need?#

Updating Ubuntu systems in a truly offline environment requires mirroring Ubuntu repositories. Since Ubuntu packages can be consumed via deb packages and/or snaps, the tool needed to mirror Ubuntu repositories depends on where you source your packages from.

Mirror deb repositories with Landscape#

Landscape is a management tool that can host a mirror of Ubuntu deb repositories. It can be used in both kinds of airgapped environments.

In future release cycles, Landscape will also include specific features to support airgapped use-cases. You can keep up to date with these developments in the Landscape Beta Discourse.

Mirror snaps with Snap store proxy#

The Snap store proxy is the equivalent tool for hosting the snap packages that your organisation is consuming.

Snap-store-proxy is a snap that provides an edge proxy to the Snap store, so that after your device has been registered with the proxy, all communications with the Snap store will be sent via the proxy. This is part of the “firewalled” deployment. Although online mode is the default for the Snap Store Proxy, it can also operate in offline mode, for true airgapped deployments.

Security patching with Livepatch on-prem#

Livepatch is the tool that provides patching for critical and high security vulnerabilities in the Ubuntu kernel. It can also be used in a firewalled setup using Livepatch on-prem.

Livepatch on-prem creates a local deployment of the Canonical Livepatch server, which retrieves patch updates from Canonical. This provides you with greater control over when those patches roll out across your infrastructure.