Private Cloud: 50 Shades of Great

Ok, I admit, I just liked the pun and would struggle to list 50 things great about any cloud.

49nocloudThis post is to clear up some of terminology around private cloud, because not all private clouds are the same, but “private cloud” is a dirty word in some circles.

Private Cloud:

An incomplete and often misconstrued term to describe something about speccing up hardware and running software to manage the infrastructure before anyone gets to do something with it. On its own it doesn’t mean much, but often seen as a bad thing. Often described as a niche in today’s “you’re an idiot if you don’t do public cloud, despite the fact I know nothing about your specific business, its economics, its deals, its customer’s requirements or the way it is run” world.

On-Premises Private Cloud:

A term that describes the DIY running and operation of hardware and software, like OpenStack (and weirdly, VMware vSphere), in your datacenter.

Pros: for businesses that have no motive to run off-premises (public cloud or hosted datacenter beyond their physical control) this provides the answer to their in-house developers for using a hugely supported API driven platform. Fixed hardware/known costs – whether rented or bought up front and depreciated over time. Software for running a Private Cloud, such as OpenStack, is free, and has many IT vendors providing support to integrate with their hardware.

Cons: up front hardware investment. Capacity planning is a fairly regular exercise. In-house IT skills must include the software used to operate the platform. Normal DC operations rules apply: hardware contracts, etc. No specific architecture or rules for running On-Premises private cloud software means the business may have created their own support snowflake.

Notes: Scaling of the underlying hardware is easy, but only in the context of pre-planning. (Obviously scaling the instances/storage is easy if the underlying capacity is there. Fun fact: same of public cloud – there’s just lots of it for you to even notice that happens!)

Remotely Managed Private Cloud (Private Cloud-as-a-Service #1):

A term that describes an On-Premises Private Cloud that is in your datacenter but remotely installed, managed and monitored 24×7 on architecture dictated by the service and support company. Hardware is usually owned by the customer (in which case usual DC Ops rules apply), however roll-in racks of hardware can also be provided – in which case the managed service provider fully looks after the hardware too.

Pros: Get all the advantages of using a Private Cloud in your datacenters but without the overhead of needing in-house skills to manage the platform. The deployed Private Cloud architecture is standard based on industry experience. The customer just enjoys the on-premises private cloud with an extended support team at their call who’s sole responsibility is to ensure that platform is working as intended.

Cons: In the case of the customer owning the hardware, where specific requirements are given by the managed private cloud service provider may mean initial additional costs. The architecture and features available may be less flexible than a DIY On-Premises Private Cloud.

Notes: Scaling the underlying hardware requires co-ordination between customer (to provide or take the hardware) and managed service provider (to install the software to provide the increase in capacity).

Hosted Private Cloud (Private Cloud-as-a-Service #2):

A term that describes a fully managed dedicated cloud and infrastructure in a managed service provider’s datacenter.

Pros: All hardware and software is in a remote facility, removing the overhead of managing hardware contracts. Access can be through public links just like public cloud access but to your completely dedicated infrastructure, or through dedicated VPN equipment. Customer just consumes the dedicated cloud platform but allows customisation of additional devices and suite of services hosted in the managed service provider’s datacenter to enhance the capabilities of their dedicated cloud infrastructure.

Cons: Datacenter is remote, so questions of motives of using a manage service provider’s dedicated cloud offering vs a pure public cloud provider need to be assessed. Scaling the underlying hardware still has some lead-time between hours and days depending on service provider.

We have reached the point where variations of Private Clouds are often discussed and assessed as a normal due diligence exercise for businesses looking to enhance the services they offer in their datacenters, or as a strategy to move away from operating their own datacenters and even for targets of migrations away from public clouds. In many cases, OpenStack often complements existing infrastructure, assisting migrations and working in multi-cloud environments where some workloads just do not make sense to run on a public cloud. OpenStack is the open standard for On-Premises and Managed Private Clouds and I urge you to assess both the OpenStack Marketplace and OpenStack Project Navigator before committing. I also urge you to look beyond some of the noise and terminology used out there because what makes sense is what works for you. And of course, you should always reach out to an experience managed service provider, like where I work at Rackspace, to help fulfil your complete cloud and OpenStack journey.


Cloud outages happen – deal with it.

Yesterday, Tuesday 28th February 2017, Amazon’s S3 service from US-EAST-1 failed had increased error rates. Whatever you want to call it, it interrupted services across the Internet for many users. From Docker to Slack, from IoT to email. The fact it affected so many services wasn’t a fault of Amazon’s – it was a fault of the decision makers, developers and architects at the companies using Amazon’s services.

In a world where magical things happen in IT, where cool startups attract investors by the $millions, you can almost be forgiven that development gives little forethought for the possibility of an outage – especially one that has so many different variations of “9s” in its SLAs across all of its different services. However, dealing with established companies that should know better, leave a bitter taste in my mouth and makes me wonder what brought the company to run important services (to the point there are paying customers that expect a “just works” mentality) in the cloud in the first place – without an understanding of what to expect when things go wrong. Didn’t we all read the memo on “design for failure”? Despite this being an everyday staple of our IT diet, it came to light more when dealing with cloud services – one where applications should tolerate potential latent connections and services (noisy neighbours) and unknown patch schedules. So how, in 2017, are we still suffering outages because of one single entity of the whole cloud ecosystem failed?

Architects, developers and people who pay the bills: it is your responsibility to ensure services for your company are available, regardless of where that service runs. Cloud is there to allow you to consume services in an easy, digestible way. It potentially saves you time and money, considering a world where cables and server specs took most of the whiteboard, and where developers couldn’t care less about whether they’re getting a HP or a Dell box. It’s just a place where code runs, right?


The fact is, behind the rich veneer of cloud, there are still computers, cables and people. There is still physics connecting one part of the Internet and the other. There are still physical services sitting between your end-users and your pieces of code. That’s not to say you need to know what is going on behind the scenes – it’s more of an appreciation that someone, outside of your IT department, has solved the long-standing problem of being able to give you the services you need in a timely manner; giving you access to components without having to get a signature on a purchase order and waiting for it to be racked and stacked. Learn to appreciate that cloud meets you half way and that you have choices to make. Choices revolve around architecture, costs and operations.

Going all in with public cloud is not one that is a natural yes. For many businesses it is a no-brainer. For others it is longer journey. For some, it just isn’t a decision they need to make. After all, despite what the Clouderati want to impose, everyone gets to vote whether you agree or not with the end result. However, there are numerous public cloud success stories on the Internet, but that success wasn’t because they ticked the cloud box, it is because they employ savvy people to guide them into the best place for running their services. Architects who understand that a bridge is only as strong as its weakest point, developers who are solving problems through their end-users’s eyes – and not because some cool tech gets them to an even cooler conference, and key business people (from leaders, HR and Finance) who realise that cloud is a multi-faceted engine that needs the right fuel to function as intended. Public cloud only works when you understand its weaknesses. Regions cloudwash over the detail that there are datacenters still involved. So why did we assume we now no longer need to think about putting services into multiple locations? Cloud doesn’t solve this for you. The ability to do it is there, but developers and architects – you have to make it work yourself: understand what you have to play with, understand what limitations are, and most of all – what happens in the event of a disaster? I suspect people are having these conversations today after doing an S3 outage test in public yesterday. I also suspect people are hitting the AWS Cost Calculator hard today. You see, AWS has various tools that allow you to keep costs down on their platform. Making decisions around spot instances or reserved instances, require forethought and planning. Crossing regions, with variations in costs or further up-front reserved instance costs, change your budgets. If the cost of running multi-region AWS was greater than a “few mins of outage” from AWS, then some decisions force people to run from a single place. Is it time to review your insurance cost of the hit on your business in light of extended outages? Of course it isn’t all down to cost – what if there was an assumption that services would seamlessly run from another region – there are companies that are probably scratching their heads today wondering why services went down. We’re only human, we’re still infallible. There are a number of cogs in providing services to end-users: the cloud service provider is only one part of that puzzle.

US-EAST-1 is an interesting place – the one that tends to go on fire like this. It’s the default region when you sign up to AWS services, as well as the oldest region. How many times have you been itching to get started after you had your credit card accepted? Before you know it, you’re demonstrating the value of the cloud to decision makers and the adoption rate increases. At what point will you consider anything more than the single-region, blank canvas you’ve been painting in? I dare-say, businesses outside of the US (where end-users are not US-centric) forces this hand early, but it is sometimes an after-thought until it is pointed out.

Running in a public cloud, such as AWS, is extremely attractive, but many complex decisions lead to alternative choices such as multi-cloud (AWS, Azure and Google Compute Platform), or variations of that include hybrid (a mix of on-premises and public cloud). If people are not considering multi-region, then they have to make decisions around multi-cloud. Multi-cloud remove the dependency of a single service provider. AWS services are not infallible, else there would be 100% uptime SLAs on all their services. The fact they do not implies failure at some point, no matter how big or small: writing a number on an SLA does not automatically mean the code or operational procedures are airtight. Therefore, multi-cloud is about spreading risk. Multi-cloud is made possible when tools and development are abstracted away from specifics of a particular cloud service provider. For example, specifying APIs directly with one provider will exclude those scripts from working with one that doesn’t share the same syntax. Moving to a multi-cloud world suddenly unlocks you from the clutches of a single provider. In a non-cloud world, we used to call that lock-in. We cloudwash over this when thinking AWS because it is so for up and to the right in the Gartner Magic Quadrant(tm) that we think it’s ok to be there. If I was paying the bills, I’d worry what that kind of long-term tie-in might be for a smaller voice in the cloud world. This isn’t to send FUD about AWS – far from it. Savvy companies are realising the benefits of multi-cloud, and simply not risking all their eggs in one basket. If anything, it gives ultimate choice and flexibility and that should only be highly encouraged. It attracts diverse talent. It reduces reliance on specific CSP services. IT could even attract cost savings through negotiations knowing business are using multiple clouds – each trying to win one over the other for PR gain.

A variation on the multi-cloud is hybrid – where portions of services run as a private cloud in datacenters with fixed, controlled resources, as well as utilising public cloud services where it makes sense. It is a mistake to even begin to use the likes of OpenStack alone as a way of combatting the S3 outage. It is actually embarrassing. If you’re considering enhancing current datacenter operations, looking to revert an otherwise ambitious datacenter exit strategy and require on-premises resources for efficient delivery of services, or even looking at a datecenter exit strategy, OpenStack should be high on your list of technologies to help realise this plan. OpenStack, complementing services to VMware or more legacy infrastructure is immensely popular in unlocking access to cloud services to enhance internal IT services. However, utilising services such as OpenStack on-premises doesn’t solve any problem like the S3 outage alone because the S3 outage affected people who didn’t think multi-region. OpenStack, deployed across multiple datacenters is the counter-argument but consideration still needs to be made around apparent cloud-lock-in. However, most successful implementations of OpenStack have end-users already verse in using tools that abstract away from the underlying infrastructure: a key tenet of multi-cloud. Therefore, given that my experience and wages come indirectly from OpenStack, I get to see a massive potential for established Enterprises wanting to utilise cloud tools to speed up delivery of services and development, whilst taking a risk-free approach to cloud, by using OpenStack as an alternative platform, and immediately unlocking both on-premises and public cloud. It isn’t a completely solved problem. Cloud meets you half-way. The other half is filled by the same people who would solve any cloud-resiliency problem: architects, developers, decision makers.

AWS outages will happen. Azure outages will happen. OpenStack outages will happen. Deal with it because your customers will deal with those situations too by voting with their feet.

OpenStack Books: January sale discounts!


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Offer valid from Friday 15th January to 31st January 2016

I have an OpenStack environment, now what? Creating Networks with Neutron #OpenStack 101

With some images loaded, it’s about time we set about to do something useful with the environment, like fire up some instances. But before we do, those instances need to live somewhere. In this post I describe how to create an external provider network, a router and a private tenant network.

Creating Neutron Networks

Neutron networks can be external or internal/private and can be shared or kept within the bounds of a tenant (project). When a network is created with the external flag (a feature only available to ‘admin’ users), this network can be set as the gateway network of a router. This mechanism gives us the ability to hand-out Floating IP addresses from this external network so we can access our instances from outside of OpenStack.

Creating Neutron networks is done in two stages:

  1. Create the Network (this stage is like configuring a switch and cabling)
  2. Create the Subnet(s) on this network (assigning the CIDR, gateways, DHCP information and DNS)

This is the same process for any networks we create in OpenStack using Neutron.

1. Creating the External Provider Network (as ‘admin’ user)

In the lab environment, my external provider network is going to be my host network. In most environments, especially ones denoted by something real and not ones with the word ‘lab’ in the title, this provider network would be a routable network that is not your host network. The simple reason being security – putting instances on the same network as the hosts is considered a security issue.

With that aside, my configuration has allowed me to do this in my lab, and with a desire to access instances from my laptop on my host network – this is the desired state. To do this carry out the following:

  1. First create the network as follows. We’ll call this ‘flatNet’.
    neutron net-create \
     --provider:physical_network=flat \
     --provider:network_type=flat \
     --router:external=true \

    This should produce output like the following:


  2. Next we allocate a subnet to this network as follows:
    neutron subnet-create \
     --name flatSubnet \
     --allocation-pool start=,end= \
     --dns-nameserver \
     --gateway \

    This produces output like the following:


This is all we need at this stage. We’ve created a network, and marked it as available as an ‘external’ provider network. We marked it as shared so that any tenants (projects) we create in our environment can all use this external network. We then put on a subnet which is part of my CIDR, but restricted what IP address we could get with the start and end range (so as not to conflict with the other clients on the same network – would be terribad one of my instances claiming the IP of a device running Netflix in this household!).

2. Create a router

The external network allows me to create instances on that network. This gives me limited functionality in my environment – given the fact that what I created was a single, flat network. To allow me to produce multi-tier environments, and allow me to access resources outside of my OpenStack environment, we need to introduce a router. This router will allow me to create private tenant networks, and create instances on them, and have routed access to the internet and other networks I create. It also enables the functionality of providing Floating IP addresses to my instances – so I can selectively assign IPs to instances that I want to be ‘externally’ accessible (in this case, instances that are accessible from my host (home) network).

To create a router, it is as simple as the following

neutron router-create myRouter

This isn’t an ‘admin’ function – any user in a tenant can create routers. As I was using my ‘admin’ user’s credentials, this created this in the ‘admin’ tenant. If I was in another tenant, called development, I’d have to create a router in that too for example. (An admin user, however, can create routers in other tenants, by specifying the –tenant flag when creating the router).

3. Assign the gateway of the router to the external provider network

A router is not much use if it can’t route somewhere. The intention of this router is to provide access inbound and outbound for my instances, and to do this I must set a gateway. The choice of networks that allow me to assign it as a gateway was provided when I specified the –router:external=true flag when I created the network (in Step 1. Creating the External Provider Network).

To set a gateway on the router, carry out the following

neutron router-gateway-set myRouter flatNet

(If you have multiple networks of the same name, or even routers of the same name, use the UUID of the resources instead.)

4. Create a private tenant network

At this stage, we have an external provider network, and a router. We can now create a private network for our instances to live on. In the OSAD installation, tenant networks will be created as VXLAN networks and creating them follows the same pattern as before: create the network, then create the subnet on that network.

To create a private tenant network, with a CIDR of carry out the following:

  1. First create the network (note the lack of options required to make this simple network)
    neutron net-create privateNet

    This creates output like the following:


  2. Secondly create the subnet details
    neutron subnet-create \
     --name privateSubnet \
     --dns-nameserver \

    This creates output like the following:


And that’s it. We carried out the same steps as before – we created a privateNet network, and then we created a subnet on this. I’ve kept the defaults for the gateway and DHCP range. This means that all the IP addresses in the CIDR are available apart from 2: The gateway IP (will be .1 of the range) and the DHCP server address.

5. Connect the private tenant network to the router

Finally, we connect the private tenant network to the router. This allows us to be able to connect our instances to the outside world via the router, as well as be able to assign Floating IP addresses to our instances. To do this, carry out the following:

neutron router-interface-add myRouter privateSubnet

(as before, if you have subnets or routers with the same names, use the UUIDs instead).

With this done, we end up with the following:


We can now spin up instances on these networks.

I have an OpenStack environment, now what? Loading Images into Glance #OpenStack 101

With an OpenStack environment up and running based on an OpenStack Ansible Deployment, now what?

Using Horizon with OSAD

First, we can log into Horizon (point your web browser at your load balance pool address, the one labelled external_lb_vip_address in the /etc/openstack_deploy/openstack_user_config.yml):

  lb_name: haproxy

Where are the username/password credentials for Horizon?

In step 4.5 of we randomly generated all passwords used by OpenStack. This also generated a random password for the ‘admin‘ user. This user is the equivalent of ‘root’ on a Linux system, so generating a strong password is highly recommended. But to get that password, we need to get it out of a file.

The easiest place to find this password is to look on the deployment host itself as that is where we wrote out the passwords. Take a look in /etc/openstack_deploy/user_secrets.yml file and find the line that says ‘keystone_auth_admin_password‘. This random string of characters is the ‘admin‘ user’s password that you can use for Horizon:

keystone_auth_admin_password: bfbbb99316ae0a4292f8d07cd4db5eda2578c5253dabfa0


The Utility Container and openrc credentials file

Alternatively, you can grab the ‘openrc‘ file from a ‘utility’ container which is found on a controller node. To do this, carry out the following:

  1. Log into a controller node and change to root. In my case I can choose either openstack4, openstack5 or openstack6. Here I can list the containers running on here as follows:
    lxc-ls -f

    This brings back output like the following:
    lxcls-openstack4(Click to enlarge)

  2. Locate the name of the utility container and attach to it as follows
    lxc-attach -n controller-01_utility_container-71cceb47
  3. Here you will find the admin user’s credentials in the /root/openrc file:
    cat openrc
    # Do not edit, changes will be overwritten
    export CINDER_ENDPOINT_TYPE=internalURL
    export NOVA_ENDPOINT_TYPE=internalURL
    export OS_ENDPOINT_TYPE=internalURL
    export OS_USERNAME=admin
    export OS_PASSWORD=bfbbb99316ae0a4292f8d07cd4db5eda2578c5253dabfa0
    export OS_TENANT_NAME=admin
    export OS_AUTH_URL=
    export OS_NO_CACHE=1
  4. To use this, we simply source this into our environment as follows:
    . openrc


    source openrc
  5. And now we can use the command line tools such as nova, glance, cinder, keystone, neutron and heat.

Loading images into Glance

Glance is the Image Service. This service provides you with a list of available images you can use to launch instances in OpenStack. To do this, we use the Glance command line tool.

There are plenty of public images available for OpenStack. You essentially grab them from the internet, and load them into Glance for your use. A list of places for OpenStack images can be found below:

CirrOS test image (can use username/password to log in):

Ubuntu images:

Windows 2012 R2:

CentOS 7:


To load these, log into a Utililty container as described above and load into the environment as follows.

Note that you can either grab the files from the website, save them locally and upload to Glance, or have Glance grab the files and load into the environment direct from the site. I’ll describe both as you will have to load from a locally saved file for Windows due to having to accept an EULA before gaining access.


glance image-create \
  --name "cirros-image" \
  --disk-format qcow2 \
  --container-format bare \
  --copy-from \
  --is-public True \

You can use a username and password to log into CirrOS. This makes this tiny just-enough-OS great for testing and troubleshooting. Username: cirros, Password: Cubswin:)

Ubuntu 14.04

glance image-create \
–name “trusty-image” \
–disk-format qcow2 \
–container-format bare \
–copy-from \
–is-public True \

You’d specify a keypair to use when launching this image as there is no default username or password on these cloud images [that would be a disastrous security fail if so]. The username to log into these will be ‘root’ and the private key that matched the public key specified at launch would get you access.

Windows 2012 R2

For Windows, you can download an evaluation copy of Windows 2012 R2 and to do so you need to accept a license. Head over to and follow the instructions to download the image.

Once downloaded, you need to get this to OpenStack. As we’re using the Utility container for our access we need to get the image so it is accessible from there. There are alternative ways such as installing the OpenStack Client tools on your client which is ultimately how you’d use OpenStack. For now though, we will copy to the Utility container.

  1. Copy the Windows image to the Utility Container. All of the containers have an IP on the container ‘management’ network ( in my lab). View the IP address of the Utility container and use this IP. This network is available via my deployment host so I simply secure copy this over to the container:

    (performed as root on my deployment host as that has SSH access using keypairs to the containers)

    scp Windows2012R2.qcow2 root@
  2. We can then upload this to Glance as follows, note the use of –file instead of –copy-from:
    glance image-create \
      --name "windows-image" \
      --disk-format qcow2 \
      --container-format bare \
      --file ./Windows2012R2.qcow2 \
      --is-public True \

    This will take a while as the Windows images are naturally bigger than Linux ones. Once uploaded it will be available for our use.

Access to Windows instances will be by RDP, and although SSH keypairs are not used by this Windows image for RDP access, it is still required to get access to the randomly generated ‘Administrator’ passphrase, so when launching the Windows instance, specify a keypair.

Access to the Administrator password is then carried out using the following once you’ve launched an instance:

nova get-password myWindowsInstance .ssh/ida_rsa
Launching instances will be covered in a later topic!

Home Lab 2015 Edition: OpenStack Ansible Deployment

I’ve written a few blog posts on my home lab before, and since then it has evolved slightly to account for new and improved ways of deploying OpenStack – specifically how Rackspace deploy OpenStack using the Ansible OpenStack Deployment Playbooks. Today, my lab consists of the following:

  • 7 HP MicroServers (between 6Gb and 8Gb RAM with SSDs) and a total of 2 NICs being used.
  • 1 Server (Shuttle i5, 16Gb, 2Tb) as a host to run virtual environments using Vagrant and used as an Ansible deployment host for my OpenStack environment. This also has 2 NICs.
  • 1 x 24-Port Managed Switch

The environment looks like this


(Click To Enlarge)

In the lab environment I allocate the 7 servers to OpenStack as follows

  • openstack1 – openstack3: Nova Computes (3 Hypervisors running KVM)
  • openstack4 – openstack6: Controllers
  • openstack7: Cinder + HA Proxy

This environment was the test lab for many of the chapters of the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook.

With this environment, to install OpenStack using the Ansible Playbooks, I essentially do the following steps:

  1. PXE Boot Ubuntu 14.04 across my 7 OpenStack servers
  2. Configure the networking to add all needed bridges, using Ansible
  3. Configure OSAD deployment by grabbing the pre-built configuration files
  4. Run the OSAD Playbooks

From PXE Boot-to-OpenStack, the lab gets deployed in about 2 hours.

Network Setup

In my lab I use the following subnets on my network

  • Host network:
  • Container-to-container network:
  • VXLAN Neutron Tunnel Network:

The hosts on my network are on the following IP addresses

  • OpenStack Servers ( (HP MicroServers)
    • br-host (em1): –
    • br-mgmt (p2p1.236): –
    • br-vxlan (p2p1.240): –
  • Deployment Host (Shuttle)

The OpenStack Servers have their addresses laid out on the interfaces as follows:

  • em1 – host network untagged/native VLAN
    • Each server is configured so that the onboard interface, em1 (in the case of the HP MicroServers running Ubuntu 14.04), is untagged on my home network on
  • p2p1 – interface used by the OpenStack environment
    • VLAN 236
      • Container to Container network
    • VLAN 240
      • VXLAN Tunnel Network
    • Untagged/Native VLAN
      • As we want to create VLAN type networks in OpenStack, we use this to add those extra tags to this interface

Step 1: PXE Boot OpenStack Servers to Ubuntu 14.04 with a single interface on host network

I’m not going to explain PXE Booting. There are plenty of guides on the internet to set up PXE Booting. The result should be Ubuntu 14.04 with a single interface configured. This network is the host network when referring to the OpenStack environment

Step 2: Configure Ansible on the Deployment Host (Shuttle) [If not already]

We’ll be using Ansible to configure and deploy the OpenStack lab environment. First of all, to ensure we’ve got everything we need to run Ansible and subsequently the OpenStack Ansible Deployment (OSAD) – we’ll run the bootstrap script provided by the OSAD environment. We’ll check out the OSAD Playbooks and run the ansible bootstrap script. For this we’re using a Kilo release (as denoted by the tag 11.0.4, as K is the 11th letter of the alphabet)

  cd /opt
  git clone -b 11.0.4
  cd /opt/os-ansible-deployment

Step 3: Configure Networking

Each of the OpenStack servers (openstack1-7) and deployment host are all configured with the same network configuration (Note: technically the Cinder/HA Proxy host and Deployment host don’t need access to the networks used by Neutron (br-vxlan and br-vlan), but for simplicity in my lab, all hosts are always configured the same). To do this I use an Ansible Playbook to set up the /etc/network/interfaces files to give the following:

  • br-host –
    • Bridge ports: em1
    • I move the interface on the host network, to a bridge and as such move the IP assigned to this bridge. This is so I can use my host network as a Flat network external provider network in my lab. This is not required for many OpenStack environments but useful for my lab.
  • br-mgmt –
    • Bridge ports: p2p1.236
    • OSAD uses LXC Containers for deployment of the services. This network is used for inter-communication between the containers (such as OpenStack services on one server or another container communicating with other OpenStack services), and between the host and containers. To install OpenStack using the OSAD Playbooks, the deployment host needs access on this network too.
  • br-vxlan –
    • Bridge ports: p2p1.240
    • VXLAN is an overlay network and Neutron creates a point-to-point mesh network using endpoints on this address to create the VXLAN networks.
  • br-vlan – address unassigned, untagged
    • Bridge ports: p2p1
    • This interface is completely managed by Neutron. It uses this interface to assign further VLAN networks in our environment.

Ansible requires that it has a persistent connection to the servers when it is executing the Playbooks, therefore it isn’t possible to move the IP from the existing em1 interface, to br-host, using Ansible as we’re using this network to do so, so we do this manually before creating the other bridges.

To move the IP address from em1, and move em1 to a bridge called br-host carry out the following:

  1. Let’s first ensure we have the right tools available for Ubuntu so it can create bridges:
      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get install bridge-utils
  2. Comment out em1 in /etc/network/interfaces:
    # auto em1
    # iface em1 dhcp
  3. Create the bridge in the interfaces.d includes directory, /etc/network/interfaces.d/ifcfg-br-host and put em1 in as the interface that exists in here and set up the same IP that was previously assigned to em1 onto the bridge itself:
    auto br-host
    iface br-host inet static
    bridge_ports em1
    bridge_stp off
  4. We then tell Ubuntu to source in this directory when setting up the interfaces by adding the following to /etc/network/interfaces:
    source /etc/network/interfaces.d/*
  5. Repeat for all OpenStack hosts, making sure the IP address in step 3 is updated accordingly, and reboot each host to pick up the change.

With the environment up and running, when we have a look at what we have set up, we should see the following

ip a
4: em1: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc mq master br-host state UP group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 9c:b6:54:04:50:94 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
5: br-host: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue state UP group default     link/ether 9c:b6:54:04:50:94 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet brd scope global br-host
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::9eb6:54ff:fe04:5094/64 scope link 
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

At this stage we can configure an Ansible Playbook to set up the networking on our OpenStack hosts.

  1. First checkout the following set of Playbooks:
      cd /opt
      git clone
      cd openstack-lab-setup
  2. This set of Playbooks is based on and other things to help me set up OSAD. To configure it, first create a file (and directory) /etc/ansible/hosts with the following contents:
  3. This tells Ansible that I have 7 servers with a hostname accessible on my network called openstack1, openstack2… openstack7. The next step is to configure these in the /opt/openstack-lab-setup/host_vars directory of the Playbooks checked out in step 1. This directory has files that match the host names specified in step 2. That means we have 7 files in host_vars named openstack1, openstack2 all the way to openstack7.Edit host_vars/openstack1 with the following contents:
      - role: network_interface
      - device: p2p1
        vlan: 236
        bootproto: manual
      - device: p2p1
        vlan: 240
        bootproto: manual
      - device: br-mgmt
        type: bridge
        bootproto: static
        stp: "off"
        ports: [p2p1.236]
      - device: br-vxlan
        type: bridge
        bootproto: static
        stp: "off"
        ports: [p2p1.240]
      - device: br-vlan
        type: bridge
        bootproto: manual
        stp: "off"
        ports: [p2p1]
  4. As you can see, we’re describing the bridges and interfaces, as well as the IP addresses that will be used on the hosts. The only difference between each of these files will be the IP address – so we now need to update the rest of the files, host_vars/openstack2host_vars/openstack7 with the correct IP addresses.
      for a in {2..7}
        sed "s/101/10${a}/g" host_vars/openstack1 > host_vars/openstack${a}
  5. With the IP addresses all configured we can run the Playbook to configure these on each of our OpenStack hosts as follows:
    cd /opt/openstack-lab-setup
    ansible-playbook setup-network.yml
  6. Once complete, with no errors, to check all is OK, and your deployment host also has the correct networking set up too, use fping to ping all the networks that we will be using in our OpenStack environment
    fping -g
    fping -g
    fping -g

Step 4: Configure OpenStack Ansible Deployment

With the networking set up, we can now configure the deployment so we’re ready to run the scripts to install OpenStack with no further involvement.

  1. If you’ve not grabbed the OSAD Playbooks, do so now
      cd /opt
      git clone -b 11.0.4
      cd /opt/os-ansible-deployment
  2. We need to copy the configuration files to /etc/openstack_deploy
      cd etc
      cp -R openstack_deploy /etc
  3. At this point, we would configure the files to match the lab environment on how OpenStack will get deployed. I simply grab the required files that I’ve pre-configured for my lab.
      # If you've not checked this out already to do the Networking section
      cd /opt
      git clone
      # The pre-configured files are in here
      cd /opt/openstack-lab-setup
  4. Copy the files openstack_user_config.yml, user_group_vars.yml, user_variables.yml to /etc/openstack_deploy
      cp openstack_user_config.yml user_group_vars.yml user_variables.yml /etc/openstack_deploy
  5. We now need to generate the random passwords for the OpenStack services. This gets written to a file /opt/openstack_deploy/user_secrets.yml
      cd /opt/os-ansible-deploy
      scripts/ --file /etc/openstack_deploy/user_secrets.yml

That’s it for configuration. Feel free to edit /etc/openstack_deploy/*.yml files to suit your environment.

(Optional) Step 5: Create a local repo mirror + proxy environment {WARNING!}

The file /etc/openstack_deploy/user_group_vars.yml has entries in that are applicable to my lab environment:

#openstack_upstream_domain: ""
openstack_upstream_domain: ""

Edit this file so it is applicable to your environment. If you do not plan on creating a local repo, use which is available to everyone.

OSAD pulls down specific versions of code to ensure consistency with releases from servers hosted at Rather than do this each time which would cause unnecessary traffic going over a relatively slow internet connection, I recreate this repo once. I create this on the deployment server (my Shuttle on as that remains constant regardless of how many times I tear down and spin up my lab.

To create this carry out the following:

  1. First ensure you’ve enough space on your deployment host. The repo is 9.6G in size when doing a full sync.
  2. I create the mirror in /openstack/mirror and do the sync using Rsync as follows
     mkdir -p /openstack
     rsync -avzlHAX --exclude=/repos --exclude=/mirror --exclude=/rpcgit \
        --exclude=/openstackgit --exclude=/python_packages \ repo/
  3. This will take a while depending on your bandwidth, so grab a coffee or go for a sleep.
  4. Ensure this directory, /openstack/mirror, is available using a web server such as Nginx or Apache, and the hostname matches that of {{ openstack_upstream_domain }}. When you use a web-browser to view it should look like the same when you view your internal version (e.g. Edit DNS and your web server files to suit.

I also have another amendment which is found in the file /etc/openstack_deploy/user_variables.yml. This has an entries in that are applicable to my lab environment and using apt-cacher:

## Example environment variable setup:
proxy_env_url: http://apt-cacher:3142/
no_proxy_env: "localhost,,{% for host in groups['all_containers'] %}{{ hostvars[host]['container_address'] }}{% if not loop.last %},{% endif %}{% endfor %}"

## global_environment_variables:
HTTP_PROXY: "{{ proxy_env_url }}"
HTTPS_PROXY: "{{ proxy_env_url }}"
NO_PROXY: "{{ no_proxy_env }}"

If you’re not using apt-cacher, or using something else – edit this to suit or ensure these are commented out so no proxy is used.

Step 6: Configure Cinder Storage

Cinder runs on openstack7 in my environment. On here I have a number of disks, and one of them is used for Cinder.

To configure a disk for Cinder, we create a volume group called cinder-volumes as follows:

fdisk /dev/sdb

Create a partition, /dev/sdb1 of type 8e (Linux LVM)

pvcreate /dev/sdb1
vgcreate cinder-volumes /dev/sdb1

Step 7: Running the OpenStack Ansible Deployment Playbooks

After the environment preparation has been done, we can simply run the Playbooks that perform all the tasks for setting up our multi-node lab. Note that these Playbooks are designed for any environment and not just for labs.

Verify all of the configuration files in /etc/openstack_deploy as described in Step 4 is suitable for your environmenet

To install OpenStack, simply carry out the following

cd /opt/os-ansible-deployment

This wrapper script executes a number of playbooks, with a certain amount of retries built in to help with any transient failures. The Playbooks it runs can be seen in the script. Ultimately, the following gets run:

cd /opt/os-ansible-deployment
openstack-ansible playbooks/setup-hosts.yml
openstack-ansible playbooks/install-haproxy.yml
openstack-ansible playbooks/setup-infrastructure.yml
openstack-ansible playbooks/setup-openstack.yml

openstack-ansible is a wrapper script so that ansible knows where to find its environment files so you don’t have to specify this on the command line yourself.

After running the you will be presented with a summary of what was installed, how long it took, and how many times the action was retried:

run-playbook-completeClick for a bigger version

Step 8: Configure Glance Containers to use NFS

I configure Glance to use the local filesystem for it’s image location. This is fine if there was one Glance service, but there are 3 in this cluster. Each individual Glance service is pointing to its local /var/lib/glance directory – which means that if I uploaded an image – it would only exist in one of the three servers.

To get around this, I use NFS and mount /var/lib/glance from an NFS server. I’ve configured my NFS server (My QNAP NAS) to give me a share called “/glance” which allows me to use Glance as if it was local. To do this, carry out the following steps:

  1. Each of the services run in containers on our controller servers. The controller servers in my lab are openstack4, openstack5 and openstack6. Log into one of these and execute the following as root:
    lxc-ls -f
  2. This will produce a list of containers running on that server. One of them will be labelled like controller-01_glance_YYYYY (where YYYY is the UUID associated with the container). Attach yourself to this as follows:
    lxc-attach -n controller-01_glance_YYYYY
  3. Edit /etc/fstab to mount /var/lib/glance from my NFS server: /var/lib/glance nfs rw,defaults 0 0
  4. Edit to suit your NFS server. Mount this as follows:
    mount -t nfs -a
  5. Ensure that this area is writeable by glance:glance as follows (only need to do this once):
    chown -R glance:glance /var/lib/glance
  6. The directory structure in here should be (for verification)
  7. Exit and then repeat on the 2 other Glance containers found on the other two controller nodes.

Step 9: Logging in to the OpenStack Environment

In my environment, I log into a controller node, which houses a “utility” container. This has all the tools needed to operate the OpenStack environment. It also has the randomly generated admin credentials found in /root/openrc so I can also log in using Horizon. To do this:

 ssh openstack4 # as root, one of my controllers
 lxc-ls -f # look for the utility container
 lxc-attach -n controller-01_utility_container_{random_n}

Once on the container, I can see a file in here /root/openrc. View this file, and then use the same credentials to log into Horizon.

OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook @OpenStackBook 3rd Edition Progress

Hopefully by now you’re familiar with the extremely popular book for learning to use and deploy OpenStack, the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook. This book presents you with a number of chapters relevant to running an OpenStack environment and the first edition was published at the beginning of the Grizzly release. In the 2nd Edition I picked up a co-author by the name of Cody Bunch and, after deciding to do a 3rd Edition, we picked up another co-author by the name of Egle Sigler. All of us work in the Professional Services arm of Rackspace on either side of the Atlantic so we know a thing or two about deploying and operating OpenStack. We’re now mid-cycle in writing the 3rd edition, which will be based on Juno – and we’re aiming to set our pens down for a publication by May 2015. It’s going to be a fight to reach this date, but as this is a book on OpenStack – we’re no strangers to challenges!

It’s now well into January of 2015 and great progress has been made whilst people have been thanking each other, gChaptersSoFariving presents and getting blind drunk because of a digit change in the year. One of our early challenges was getting a solid working OpenStack development base to work from that allowed us to work as a group on our assigned chapters of the book. Thankfully, a lot of the heavy lifting was done during the 2nd Cookbook_Vagrant_Environment_FullEdition but a move to Juno, improving the security and defaults of our reference installation, and incorporating new features caused a few hiccups along the way. These have been resolved, and the result is a Vagrant environment that has one purpose: to help educate people who want to run and deploy OpenStack environments. This environment can be found at

This environment consists of a single Controller, up to 2 Compute hosts running Qemu/KVM, a Network node, a Cinder node, and up to 2 Swift hosts. This environment works hand-in-hand with the recipes in the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook – allowing the reader to follow along and learn from the configurations presented and reference environment. If you’re running the full complement of virtual machines as depicted, I highly recommend at least 16Gb RAM. The environment I use to develop the scripts for the book is detailed here.

So what’s new in the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook, 3rd Edition?

We’re still writing, but along with the basics you’d expect in our Cookbook, we have information on securing Keystone with SSL, Neutron with Distributed Virtual Routers (DVR), running multiple Swift environments and Container Synchronization, using AZs, Host Aggregates, Live-Migration, working with the Scheduler, a whole new chapter with recipes on using features such as LBaaS, FWaaS, Telemetry, Cloud-init/config, Heat, Automating installs, and a whole host of useful recipes for production use.

We hope you enjoy it as much as you have with the first two editions, and we’ll update you near to finishing when we have a confirmed publication date.