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Create a Micro BOSH on OpenStack from a stemcell

STATUS: Still being written.

WARNING: This tutorial requires an experimental OpenStack BOSH CPI not supported by VMWare.

This tutorial shows you how to create your first BOSH on OpenStack using a custom stemcell. This is one of several tutorials for creating a BOSH.

In BOSH terminology, you will be creating a Micro BOSH. You will provision a single VM that contains all the parts of BOSH, which is bootstrapped from a custom image (called a "stemcell" in BOSH language). That is, the image contains all the software packages required to run BOSH. During the deployment, a custom OpenStack image will be created, which will be used to boot the Micro BOSH VM.

This tutorial will take you through the steps related to preparation, creating the configuration file, creating a custom stemcell, and using the BOSH CLI to deploy the Micro BOSH VM.

What will happen in this tutorial

There are three machines/VM being referenced in this tutorial. In addition to your local machine, we will create two VMs:

  1. Local machine - use fog to provision Inception VM
  2. Inception VM - prepare an available Ubuntu VM; we'll create a new one
  3. Micro BOSH VM - use BOSH CLI to bootstrap a new VM that is a BOSH (called "Micro BOSH")

That is, by the end of this tutorial you will have two Ubuntu VMs. An Inception VM used to create a BOSH VM.


The Inception VM is used to:

  • create a custom micro BOSH stemcell
  • create an OpenStack image from the custom micro BOSH stemcell
  • run a registry of OpenStack to track provisioned components in OpenStack
  • store a registry of deployed Micro BOSHes
  • store log files of BOSH CLI interactions with each Micro BOSH



You'll need an OpenStack Essex (2012.1) installation.

If you have access to a unused baremetal server, you can build a complete OpenStack environment using these resources:

Once you've installed and tested your OpenStack box, you'll need to upload an Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 64-bit image before proceeding with the next steps.

Create the Inception VM

We will use fog to create the first Ubuntu VM on OpenStack. You could alternately create one any way that you want. In the next section we will prepare the VM with all the packages and source required for deploying a BOSH VM.


In this tutorial we're going to use a command-line program called fog to create our Inception VM.

Three setup steps to run on your local machine:

  1. Create SSH keys
  2. Install fog
  3. Create .fog credentials file (with your OpenStack API credentials)

If you've never created SSH keys before, run the following command to create ~/.ssh/id_rsa and ~/.ssh/ files:

$ ssh-keygen

Install latest version of fog as a RubyGem:

$ gem install fog --no-ri --no-rdoc

Edit your default fog OpenStack credentials:

$ vim ~/.fog

 :openstack_auth_url: OS_AUTH_URL
 :openstack_username: OS_USERNAME
 :openstack_api_key:  OS_PASSWORD
 :openstack_tenant:   OS_TENANT_NAME

Boot Ubuntu instance

From Wesley's fog blog post, boot the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 64-bit image:

# NOTE: replace LUCID_IMAGE_NAME with the name of your Ubuntu 10.04 LTS image you uploaded previously
$ fog
  Welcome to fog interactive!
  :default provides OpenStack and VirtualBox
openstack = => "OpenStack")
public_key ='~/.ssh/'), 'rb') { |f| }
keypair = openstack.key_pairs.create(:name => "my-fog-keypair", :public_key => public_key)
flavor = openstack.flavors.find { |f| == 'm1.medium' }
image = openstack.images.find { |i| == 'LUCID_IMAGE_NAME' }
server = openstack.servers.create(
  :name => "Inception VM",
  :flavor_ref =>,
  :image_ref =>,
  :key_name =>,
  :username => 'ubuntu'
server.wait_for { ready? }

Now check the address of your Inception VM:

{"private"=>[{"version"=>4, "addr"=>""}]}

Depending on your OpenStack configuration, the returned address may vary, but it's important it belongs to a private and/or public network.

The security group for the Inception & BOSH VMs will need some TCP ports opened:

group = openstack.security_groups.find { |sg| == 'default' }
group.create_security_group_rule(25555, 25555) # BOSH Director API
group.create_security_group_rule(6868, 6868) # Message Bus
group.create_security_group_rule(25889, 25889) # OpenStack Registry API


We now need to prepare our Ubuntu VM with the source code to be able to run the Micro BOSH deployment command.

These steps come from the BOSH documentation.

$ ssh ubuntu@
sudo su -
export ORIGUSER=ubuntu
curl -s | bash
source /etc/profile

After this script prepares the inception VM, it will display the help information for bosh micro CLI commands:

$ bosh help micro
micro deploy <stemcell>   Deploy a micro BOSH instance to the currently 
                          selected deployment 
                          --update   update existing instance 
micro delete              Delete micro BOSH instance (including 
                          persistent disk) 
micro deployment [<name>] Choose micro deployment to work with 
micro agent <args>        Send agent messages 
micro apply <spec>        Apply spec 
micro status              Display micro BOSH deployment status 
micro deployments         Show the list of deployments 

Deployment configuration

Each Micro BOSH that you create will be described by a single YAML configuration file, commonly named micro_bosh.yml. This allows you to easily reference different Micro BOSH deployments, boot them, change them, and delete them.

We will store them all in /var/vcap/deployments (created by

cd /var/vcap/deployments

Why have more than one MicroBOSH? Each BOSH can only manage a single target infrastructure account. That is, if you want to use BOSH for multiple infrastructures (AWS, OpenStack, vSphere, ...), with different billing accounts then you will need a different BOSH for each permutation.

A simple convention for storing different micro_bosh.yml within our deployments folder could be to have folders named for the infrastructure-region-account:

# NOTE: only an example; you don't have any micro_bosh.yml files yet
$ find . -name micro_bosh.yml

Where do I provision/host each Micro BOSH? As above, each BOSH can manage VMs, persistant disk volumes and network associations in a single infrastructure account. That does not mean that the BOSH must be hosted within that same infrastructure/account.

  1. You could host all your BOSH deployments in the same account, with each one referencing external accounts.
  2. You could host each BOSH deployment in the account that it will be managing.

For this tutorial, we will do option 2 and host the BOSH deployments within the same account that they will be managing. We will use the same OpenStack credentials used to create the first Ubuntu VM.

On your local machine using fog, provision a floating IP in the target infrastructure:

>> openstack = => "OpenStack")
>> address = openstack.addresses.create
>> address.ip

The "" value will replace IPADDRESS in the micro_bosh.yml below.

Back to the Inception VM...

Create an OpenStack keypair and store the .pem file. Inside the Inception VM:

curl -s > /tmp/create_keypair
chmod 755 /tmp/create_keypair
/tmp/create_keypair openstack OS_USERNAME OS_PASSWORD OS_TENANT_NAME OS_AUTH_URL inception

curl -s > /tmp/create_micro_bosh_yml
chmod 755 /tmp/create_micro_bosh_yml
/tmp/create_micro_bosh_yml microbosh-openstack openstack OS_USERNAME OS_PASSWORD OS_TENANT_NAME OS_AUTH_URL inception IP_ADDRESS PASSWORD

This will create a file microbosh-openstack/micro_bosh.yml that looks as below with the ALLCAPS values filled in. PASSWORD above (e.g. 'abc123') will be replaced by the salted version.

name: microbosh-openstack

    password: SALTED_PASSWORD

  level: DEBUG

  type: dynamic
  label: private

  persistent_disk: 4096
    instance_type: m1.small

  plugin: openstack
      auth_url: OS_AUTH_URL
      username: OS_USERNAME
      api_key: OS_PASSWORD
      tenant: OS_TENANT_NAME
      default_key_name: inception
      default_security_groups: ["default"]
      private_key: /home/vcap/.ssh/inception.pem

      address: IPADDRESS
      address: IPADDRESS
  properties: {}

NOTE: Be sure the selected instance_type (flavor in OpenStack) include ephemeral disk space.

NOTE: If your OpenStack network is not labeled private (the network name for your VMs), change manually the network section at the above file with the appropriate network label.

Custom Stemcell

Remember the warning at the top of this page? Oh yeah, this is an experiment, so we won't find any public OpenStack stemcell. But don't worry, we can create our custom stemcell!!!

NOTE: This is an extremely slow process, so better take a long nap and come later!!!

Build the BOSH release

First of all create a tarball of the BOSH release (a packaged bundle of software bits and configurations):

cd /var/vcap/releases/bosh-release
bosh create release --with-tarball

If this is the first time you run bosh create release in the release repo, it will ask you to name the release, e.g. "bosh". The output will be at /var/vcap/releases/bosh-release/dev_releases/bosh-x.y-dev.tgz.

Release version: x.y-dev
Release manifest: /var/vcap/releases/bosh-release/dev_releases/bosh-x.y-dev.yml
Release tarball (95.2M): /var/vcap/releases/bosh-release/dev_releases/bosh-x.y-dev.tgz

Build micro BOSH stemcell

Now you have all the pieces to assemble the micro BOSH OpenStack stemcell:

cd /var/vcap/bootstrap/bosh/agent
rake stemcell2:micro["openstack",/var/vcap/releases/bosh-release/micro/openstack.yml,/var/vcap/releases/bosh-release/dev_releases/bosh-x.y-dev.tgz]

This outputs:

Generated stemcell: /var/tmp/bosh/agent-x.y.z-nnnnn/work/work/micro-bosh-stemcell-openstack-x.y.z.tgz

Copy the generated stemcell to a safe location:

cd /var/vcap/stemcells
cp /var/tmp/bosh/agent-x.y.z-nnnnn/work/work/micro-bosh-stemcell-openstack-x.y.z.tgz .


We now use the BOSH CLI, on the Inception VM, to deploy the Micro BOSH. Tell the BOSH CLI which Micro BOSH deployment "microbosh-openstack" to work on:

$ cd /var/vcap/deployments
$ bosh micro deployment microbosh-openstack
WARNING! Your target has been changed to `http://microbosh-openstack:25555'!
Deployment set to '/var/vcap/deployments/microbosh-openstack/micro_bosh.yml'

Deploy the deployment using the custom stemcell image you generated previously:

$ bosh micro deploy /var/vcap/stemcells/micro-bosh-stemcell-openstack-x.y.z.tgz
Deploying new micro BOSH instance `microbosh-openstack/micro_bosh.yml' to `http://microbosh-openstack:25555' (type 'yes' to continue): yes

Verifying stemcell...
File exists and readable                                     OK
Manifest not found in cache, verifying tarball...
Extract tarball                                              OK
Manifest exists                                              OK
Stemcell image file                                          OK
Writing manifest to cache...
Stemcell properties                                          OK

Stemcell info
Name:    micro-bosh-stemcell
Version: 0.6.4

Deploy Micro BOSH
  unpacking stemcell (00:00:43)
  uploading stemcell (00:32:25)
  creating VM from 5aa08232-e53b-4efe-abee-385a7afb9421 (00:04:38)
  waiting for the agent (00:02:19)
  create disk (00:00:15)
  mount disk (00:00:07)
  stopping agent services (00:00:01)
  applying micro BOSH spec (00:01:20)
  starting agent services (00:00:00)
  waiting for the director (00:02:21)
Done             11/11 00:44:30
WARNING! Your target has been changed to `'!
Deployment set to '/var/vcap/deployments/microbosh-openstack/micro_bosh.yml'
Deployed `microbosh-openstack/micro_bosh.yml' to `http://microbosh-openstack:25555', took 00:44:30 to complete

NOTE: To run the bosh micro deployment microbosh-openstack command you must be in a folder that itself contains a folder microbosh-openstack that contains micro-bosh.yml. In our tutorial, we are in /var/vcap/deployments which contains /var/vcap/deployments/microbosh-openstack/micro-bosh.yml.

We can now connect to our BOSH!

$ bosh target
Target set to `microbosh-openstack ( Ver: 0.6 (release:ce0274ec bosh:0d9ac4d4)'
Your username: admin
Enter password: *****
Logged in as `admin'

Username/password was configured as admin/admin unless you changed it.

If you ask your BOSH a few questions it will tell you the following:

$ bosh status
Updating director data... done

Target         microbosh-openstack ( Ver: 0.6 (release:ce0274ec bosh:0d9ac4d4)
UUID           8d40adaf-2ebd-4a52-b654-deaffa088b02
User           admin
Deployment     not set

Good job!

Deployment logging

If you want to watch the deployment process in more granular detail, you can tail the log file during deployment.

In another terminal, run:

$ ssh ubuntu@
sudo su -

cd /var/vcap/deployments
tail -f microbosh-openstack/bosh_micro_deploy.log

Checking Status of a micro BOSH deploy

The status command will show the persisted state for a given micro BOSH instance:

$ bosh micro status
Stemcell CID   5aa08232-e53b-4efe-abee-385a7afb9421
Stemcell name  micro-bosh-stemcell-openstack-0.6.4
VM CID         4f466ada-b895-49ec-9ddc-19a000ff1abe
Disk CID       4
Micro BOSH CID bm-0a16e407-6a06-464a-a2c2-55bcc0b8d42b
Deployment     /var/vcap/deployments/microbosh-openstack/micro_bosh.yml
Target         microbosh-openstack ( Ver: 0.6 (release:ce0274ec bosh:0d9ac4d4)

Listing Deployments

The deployments command prints a table view of deployments/bosh-deployments.yml:

$ bosh micro deployments

| Name                | VM name                              | Stemcell name                        |
| microbosh-openstack | 4f466ada-b895-49ec-9ddc-19a000ff1abe | 5aa08232-e53b-4efe-abee-385a7afb9421 |

Deployments total: 1

Sending messages to the micro BOSH agent

The CLI can send messages over HTTP to the agent using the agent command:

$ bosh micro agent ping
$ bosh micro agent noop


WARNING: There is a default admin user created with a default password "admin". Please change this password immediately.

$ bosh create user admin
Enter password: *****************

# or

$ bosh create user admin very-long-and-secure-passphrase

Then re-login

$ bosh login
Your username: admin
Enter password: *****************
Logged in as 'admin'

You can now create user accounts the same way.

Destroy your Micro BOSH

You can delete a specific Micro BOSH deployment:

$ cd /var/vcap/deployments
$ bosh micro deployment microbosh-openstack
$ bosh micro delete

You are going to delete micro BOSH deployment `microbosh-openstack'.


Are you sure? (type 'yes' to continue): yes

Delete micro BOSH
  stopping agent services (00:00:02)
  unmount disk (00:00:07)
  detach disk (00:00:09)
  delete disk (00:00:39)
  delete VM (00:00:13)
  delete stemcell (00:00:02)
Done             6/6 00:01:15
Deleted deployment 'microbosh-openstack', took 00:01:15 to complete