Steps and step lists

A step is an action to be performed to accomplish a task. All steps for a particular deployment are grouped together in a steplist.

XL Deploy includes many step implementations for common actions. Steps are contributed by plugins based on the deployment that is being performed. Middleware-specific steps are contributed by the plugins.

The following are examples of steps:

  • Copy file /foo/bar to host1, directory /bar/baz.
  • Install petclinic.ear on the WebSphere Application Server on was1.
  • Restart the Apache HTTP server on web1.

You can perform actions on steps, but most interaction with the step will be done by the task itself.

You can mark a step to be skipped by the task. When the task is executing and the skipped step becomes the current step, the task will skip the step without executing it. The step will be marked skipped, and the next step in line will be executed.

Note: A step can only be skipped when the step is pending, failed, or paused.

Important: If a step executes for more than 6 hours, the step times out and changes the state to FAILED (see diagram below). You can configure this timeout in xl block of the xl-deploy.conf file by setting a custom value for

Step states

A step can go through the following states:

Step state diagram, XL Deploy 6.0.0 and later


A steplist is a sequential list of steps that are contributed by one or more plugins when a deployment is being planned.

All steps in a steplist are ordered in a manner similar to /etc/init.d scripts in Unix, with low-order steps being executed before higher-order steps. XL Deploy predefines the following orders for ease of use:

  • 0 = PRE_FLIGHT
  • 100 = POST_FLIGHT

Steplist order for cloud and container plugins

This is an alternative set of ordering steps for cloud and container plugins.

Destroy Create
41-49 51-59 = resource group / project / namespace
21-40 60-79 = low level resources -> network/storage/secrets/registry
61 = create subnet
62 = wait for subnet
63 = create network interface
29 70 = upload files/binaries/blobs
22 78 = billing definition
11-20 80-89 = vm / container / container scheduler / function resources
1-10 90-99 = run provisioners
0 100

The basic rules:

  • Assign the same order for items that can be created in parallel (network/storage).
  • Wait steps should be incremented + 1 in according to their create step.
  • Destroy = 100 - create.
  • Modify similar to create.
  • Do not use 50 because does not have a symmetrical value.
  • 0 and 100 are reserved.