Home Rackspace Private Cloud / OpenStack Lab: Part 1

Over the past year I’ve been using a home lab for quick, hands-on testing of OpenStack and Rackspace Private Cloud and a number of people have requested information on the setup.  Over the next few blog posts I’m going to explain what I’ve got that serves two purposes: documentation of my own setup as well as hopefully providing information that other people might find useful – and not everything is about OpenStack.

This first post is about the tech involved and how it is set up.  In subsequent posts I’ll go into further detail and finally installation of Rackspace Private Cloud.

The servers

5 x HP MicroServer N40L

The N40L is an incredibly cheap, 4 SATA Bay (+ CDROM Bay), low power server with supplied 250Gb SATA. It’s a single CPU AMD Turion II processor with 2 cores that supports Hardware-VT.  It has been superseded by the HP MicroServer N45L and often found with cashback deals meaning these usually come in under £130.

There seems to be some caution when choosing memory for these things, with the documentation reporting they support up to 8Gb.  I’ve read people successfully running 16Gb and through my own trial – I grabbed the cheapest memory I could get and found it worked.

When choosing the PCI-X NICs and other cards, be aware that you need to use low-profile ones.  The NICs I added to mine are low-profile, but the metal backing plate isn’t.  A quick email to TP-Link customer services will get you some low-profile backing plates free of charge.

Networked Attached Storage

I have 2 QNAP NAS devices.  One functioning as my main network storage (nas / with 2 drives in, running DHCP for my home subnet, DNS for all connected devices and Proxy (primarily used to compensate for the slow 6-7Mbps ADSL speed I get when installing packages on my servers).  The second (nas2 / acts as a TFTP server and proxy for my servers, as well as providing a replication/backup for my primary NAS.  The reason I run a proxy and TFTP next to my servers, rather than on the main NAS, is the wireless link I have between my servers and my router.  Although WiFi speeds are OK, it’s a much more efficient setup (and I have 2 floors between my servers and wifi router).  Powerline adapters? I tried them, but due to my home having an RCD (Residual Current Device), it made Powerline adapters useless.

  • nas
    • QNAP TS-210 (QTS 4.0.2)
    • 2 x Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache – OEM (WD5000AZRX)
    • Raid 1 EXT4
    • eth0 (onboard)
    • DHCP (Dnsmasq)
    • DNS (Dnsmasq)
    • Proxy (Squid)
  • nas2
    • QNAP TS-121 (QTS 4.0.2)
    • 1 x Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache – OEM (WD5000AZRX)
    • EXT4
    • eth0 (onboard)
    • TFTP (Dnsmasq)
    • Proxy (Squid)

Network Kit

Essentially I have 2 parts to my network – separated by 2 floors of a house which is connected using WiFi bridging – all on a subnet.  I have unmanaged switches connecting the servers and NAS so there’s nothing here that’s highly exciting but presented for clarity and completeness (but useful if you’re thinking of needing to WiFi bridge 2 parts of your network together)

  • TP-Link TL-WA901ND Wireless-N PoE Access Point (300Mbps)
    • Bridge Mode
    • Connects LAN based servers to wireless network/clients
  • TP-Link TD-W8980 N600 Dual Band Wireless ADSL Modem Router
    • WiFi Router (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
    • ADSL Router disabled (for now)
    • DHCP/DNS disabled (Dnsmasq used instead)
  • TP-Link TL-SG1024 24-port Ethernet Switch
    • 24-Port Switch connecting servers to NAS and Wifi Bridge (TL-WA901ND)

(I think I should get sponsorship from TP-Link for this post!)

Overall, this looks like this (click for bigger version). Hopefully, having this detailed background info will aid you in setting up your own OpenStack environment big or small.

Home Lab Network Diagram

In the next blog post I’ll cover QNAP Dnsmasq Configuration providing DHCP, DNS and TFTP for my network allowing me to PXE boot my N40L servers to kick Ubuntu and Rackspace Private Cloud.


6 thoughts on “Home Rackspace Private Cloud / OpenStack Lab: Part 1

  1. […] the first part of this series I introduced the kit that makes up my home lab.  There’s nothing unusual or […]

  2. […] the first two posts I covered the basics: what hardware is involved and the basic network services which […]

  3. […] after following the first three posts, we now have a Rackspace Private Cloud by OpenStack running with 2 Controllers (HA) and […]

  4. […] first four of these posts covered setup and installation of my home lab, including the networking, PXE […]

  5. […] Lab Part 1: The hardware […]

  6. […] up on his home OpenStack setup. (At least, I’ve only found three articles so far.) Part 1 is here, part 2 is here, and part 3 is here. […]

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