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CloudStack tutorial Clients and Tools

These instructions aim to give an introduction to Apache CloudStack. Accessing a production cloud based on CloudStack, getting a feel for it, then using a few tools to provision and configure machines in the cloud. For a more complete guide see this Little Book

What we will do in this tutorial is:

  1. Getting your feet wet with
  2. Using CloudMonkey
  3. Discovering Apache libcloud
  4. Using Vagrant boxes and deploying in the cloud
  5. Using Ansible configuration management tool

Getting your feet wet with

Start an instance via the UI

  1. Go to and click on free sign-up in the Open Cloud section
  2. Ask me for the voucher code, you will get an additional 15CHF
  3. Browse the UI, identify the security groups and keypairs sections.
  4. Create a rule in your default security group to allow inbound traffic on port 22 (ssh)
  5. Create a keypair and store the private key on your machine
  6. Start an instance
  7. ssh to the instance

Find your API Keys and inspect the API calls

  1. Inspect the API requests with firebug or dev console of your choice
  2. Find your API keys (account section)

Get wordpress installed on an instance

Open port 80 on the default security group. Start an Ubuntu 12.04 instance and in the User-Data tab input:

set -e -x

apt-get --yes --quiet update
apt-get --yes --quiet install git puppet-common

# Fetch puppet configuration from public git repository. 

mv /etc/puppet /etc/puppet.orig
git clone /etc/puppet

# Run puppet.

puppet apply /etc/puppet/manifests/init.pp

Now open your browser on port 80 of the IP of your instance and Voila !

CloudMonkey, an interactive shell to your cloud

The exoscale cloud is based on CloudStack. It exposes the CloudStack native API. Let's use CloudMonkey, the ACS cli.

pip install cloudmonkey

The full documentation for cloudmonkey is on the wiki

set port 443
set protocol https
set path /compute
set host
set apikey <yourapikey>
set secretkey <secretkey>

Explore the ACS native API with CloudMonkey and tab tab....

Tabular Output

The number of key/value pairs returned by the api calls can be large resulting in a very long output. To enable easier viewing of the output, a tabular formatting can be setup. You may enable tabular listing and even choose set of column fields, this allows you to create your own field using the filter param which takes in comma separated argument. If argument has a space, put them under double quotes. The create table will have the same sequence of field filters provided

To enable it, use the set function and create filters like so:

> set display table
> list zones filter=name,id
count = 1
|  name  |                  id                  |
| CH-GV2 | 1128bd56-b4d9-4ac6-a7b9-c715b187ce11 |

Starting a Virtual Machine instance with CloudMonkey

To start a virtual machine instance we will use the deployvirtualmachine call.

cloudmonkey>deploy virtualmachine -h
Creates and automatically starts a virtual machine based on a service offering, disk offering, and template.
Required args: serviceofferingid templateid zoneid
Args: account diskofferingid displayname domainid group hostid hypervisor ipaddress iptonetworklist isAsync keyboard keypair name networkids projectid securitygroupids securitygroupnames serviceofferingid size startvm templateid userdata zoneid

The required arguments are serviceofferingid, templateid and zoneid

In order to specify the template that we want to use, we can list all available templates with the following call:

 > list templates filter=id,displaytext templatefilter=executable
count = 36
|                  id                  |               displaytext                |
| 3235e860-2f00-416a-9fac-79a03679ffd8 | Windows Server 2012 R2 WINRM 100GB Disk  |
| 20d4ebc3-8898-431c-939e-adbcf203acec |   Linux Ubuntu 13.10 64-bit 10 GB Disk   |
| 70d31a38-c030-490b-bca9-b9383895ade7 |   Linux Ubuntu 13.10 64-bit 50 GB Disk   |
| 4822b64b-418f-4d6b-b64e-1517bb862511 |  Linux Ubuntu 13.10 64-bit 100 GB Disk   |
| 39bc3611-5aea-4c83-a29a-7455298241a7 |  Linux Ubuntu 13.10 64-bit 200 GB Disk   |

Similarly to get the serviceofferingid you would do:

> list serviceofferings filter=id,name
count = 7
|                  id                  |     name    |
| 71004023-bb72-4a97-b1e9-bc66dfce9470 |    Micro    |
| b6cd1ff5-3a2f-4e9d-a4d1-8988c1191fe8 |     Tiny    |
| 21624abb-764e-4def-81d7-9fc54b5957fb |    Small    |
| b6e9d1e8-89fc-4db3-aaa4-9b4c5b1d0844 |    Medium   |
| c6f99499-7f59-4138-9427-a09db13af2bc |    Large    |
| 350dc5ea-fe6d-42ba-b6c0-efb8b75617ad | Extra-large |
| a216b0d1-370f-4e21-a0eb-3dfc6302b564 |     Huge    |

Note that we can use the linux pipe as well as standard linux commands within the interactive shell. Finally we would start an instance with the following call:

cloudmonkey>deploy virtualmachine templateid=20d4ebc3-8898-431c-939e-adbcf203acec zoneid=1128bd56-b4d9-4ac6-a7b9-c715b187ce11 serviceofferingid=71004023-bb72-4a97-b1e9-bc66dfce9470
id = 5566c27c-e31c-438e-9d97-c5d5904453dc
jobid = 334fbc33-c720-46ba-a710-182af31e76df

This is an asynchronous job, therefore it returns a jobid, you can query the state of this job with:

> query asyncjobresult jobid=334fbc33-c720-46ba-a710-182af31e76df
accountid = b8c0baab-18a1-44c0-ab67-e24049212925
cmd =
created = 2014-03-05T13:40:18+0100
jobid = 334fbc33-c720-46ba-a710-182af31e76df
jobinstanceid = 5566c27c-e31c-438e-9d97-c5d5904453dc
jobinstancetype = VirtualMachine
jobprocstatus = 0
jobresultcode = 0
jobstatus = 0
userid = 968f6b4e-b382-4802-afea-dd731d4cf9b9

Once the machine is started you can list it:

> list virtualmachines filter=id,displayname
count = 1
|                  id                  |             displayname              |
| 5566c27c-e31c-438e-9d97-c5d5904453dc | 5566c27c-e31c-438e-9d97-c5d5904453dc |

The instance would be stopped with:

> stop virtualmachine id=5566c27c-e31c-438e-9d97-c5d5904453dc
jobid = 391b4666-293c-442b-8a16-aeb64eef0246

> list virtualmachines filter=id,displayname,state
count = 1
|                  id                  |             displayname              |  state  |
| 5566c27c-e31c-438e-9d97-c5d5904453dc | 5566c27c-e31c-438e-9d97-c5d5904453dc | Stopped |

The ids that you will use will differ from this example. Make sure you use the ones that corresponds to your CloudStack cloud.

Try to create a sshkeypair with create sshkeypair, a securitygroup with create securitygroup and add some rules to it.

With CloudMonkey all CloudStack APIs are available.

Apache libcloud

Libcloud is a python module that abstracts the different APIs of most cloud providers. It offers a common API for the basic functionality of clouds list nodes,sizes,templates, create nodes etc...Libcloud can be used with CloudStack, OpenStack, Opennebula, GCE, AWS.

Check the CloudStack driver documentation


To install Libcloud refer to the libcloud website. Or simply do:

pip install apache-libcloud

Generic use of Libcloud with CloudStack

With libcloud installed, you can now open a Python interactive shell, create an instance of a CloudStack driver and call the available methods via the libcloud API.

First you need to import the libcloud modules and create a CloudStack driver.

>>> from libcloud.compute.types import Provider
>>> from libcloud.compute.providers import get_driver
>>> Driver = get_driver(Provider.CLOUDSTACK)

Then, using your keys and endpoint, create a connection object. Note that this is a local test and thus not secured. If you use a CloudStack public cloud, make sure to use SSL properly (i.e secure=True). Replace the host and path with the ones of your public cloud. For exoscale use host=' and path=/compute

>>> apikey='plgWJfZK4gyS3mlZLYq_u38zCm0bewzGUdP66mg'
>>> secretkey='VDaACYb0LV9eNjeq1EhwJaw7FF3akA3KBQ'
>>> host='http://localhost:8080'
>>> path='/client/api'
>>> conn=Driver(key=apikey,secret=secretkey,secure=False,host='localhost',port='8080',path=path)

With the connection object in hand, you now use the libcloud base api to list such things as the templates (i.e images), the service offerings (i.e sizes) and the zones (i.e locations)

>>> conn.list_images()
[<NodeImage: id=13ccff62-132b-4caf-b456-e8ef20cbff0e, name=tiny Linux, driver=CloudStack  ...>]
>>> conn.list_sizes()
[<NodeSize: id=ef2537ad-c70f-11e1-821b-0800277e749c, name=tinyOffering, ram=100 disk=0 bandwidth=0 price=0 driver=CloudStack ...>,
<NodeSize: id=c66c2557-12a7-4b32-94f4-48837da3fa84, name=Small Instance, ram=512 disk=0 bandwidth=0 price=0 driver=CloudStack ...>,
<NodeSize: id=3d8b82e5-d8e7-48d5-a554-cf853111bc50, name=Medium Instance, ram=1024 disk=0 bandwidth=0 price=0 driver=CloudStack ...>]
>>> images=conn.list_images()
>>> offerings=conn.list_sizes()

The create_node method will take an instance name, a template and an instance type as arguments. It will return an instance of a CloudStackNode that has additional extensions methods, such as ex_stop and ex_start.

>>> node=conn.create_node(name='toto',image=images[0],size=offerings[0])
>>> help(node)
>>> node.get_uuid()

libcloud with exoscale

Libcloud also has an exoscale specific driver. For complete description see this recent post from Tomaz Murauz the VP of Apache Libcloud.

To get you started quickly, save the following script in a .py file.

#!/usr/bin/env python

import sys
import os

from IPython.terminal.embed import InteractiveShellEmbed
from libcloud.compute.types import Provider
from libcloud.compute.providers import get_driver
from libcloud.compute.deployment import ScriptDeployment
from libcloud.compute.deployment import MultiStepDeployment

Driver = get_driver(Provider.EXOSCALE)

print conn.list_locations()

def listimages():
    for i in conn.list_images():
        print, i.extra['displaytext']

def listsizes():
    for i in conn.list_sizes():

def getimage(id):
    return [i for i in conn.list_images() if == id][0]

def getsize(id):
    return [i for i in conn.list_sizes() if == id][0]

msd = MultiStepDeployment([script])

# directly open the shell
shell = InteractiveShellEmbed(banner1="Hello from Libcloud Shell !!")

Set your API keys properly and execute the script. You can now explore the libcloud API interactively, try to start a node, and also deploy a node. For instance type list and press the tab key.

Vagrant boxes

Install Vagrant and create the exo boxes

Vagrant is a tool to create lightweight, portable and reproducible development environments. Specifically it allows you to use configuration management tools to configure a virtual machine locally (via virtualbox) and then deploy it in the cloud via Vagrant providers. In this next exercise we are going to install vagrant on our local machine and use Exoscale vagrant boxes to provision VM in the Cloud using configuration setup in Vagrant. For future reading check this post

First install Vagrant and then get the cloudstack plugin:

vagrant plugin install vagrant-cloudstack

Then we are going to clone a small github project from exoscale. This project is going to give us vagrant boxes, fake virtual machine images that refer to Exoscale templates available.

git clone
cd vagrant-exoscale-boxes

Edit the script to specify your API keys, then run:

python ./

If you are familiar with Vagrant this will be straightforward, if not, you need to add a box to your local installation for instance:

vagrant box add Linux-Ubuntu-13.10-64-bit-50-GB-Disk /path/or/url/to/boxes/

Initialize a Vagrantfile and start an instance

Now you need to create a Vagrantfile. In the directory of you choice for example /tutorial do:

vagrant init

Then edit the Vagrantfile created to contain this:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config| = "Linux-Ubuntu-13.10-64-bit-50-GB-Disk"
    config.ssh.username = "root"
    config.ssh.private_key_path = "/Users/vagrant/.ssh/id_rsa.vagrant"

    config.vm.provider :cloudstack do |cloudstack, override|
        cloudstack.api_key = "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-aaaaaaaaaaa"
        cloudstack.secret_key = "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS-ssssssssss"

        # Uncomment ONE of the following service offerings:
        cloudstack.service_offering_id = "71004023-bb72-4a97-b1e9-bc66dfce9470" # Micro - 512 MB
        #cloudstack.service_offering_id = "b6cd1ff5-3a2f-4e9d-a4d1-8988c1191fe8" # Tiny - 1GB
        #cloudstack.service_offering_id = "21624abb-764e-4def-81d7-9fc54b5957fb" # Small - 2GB
        #cloudstack.service_offering_id = "b6e9d1e8-89fc-4db3-aaa4-9b4c5b1d0844" # Medium - 4GB
        #cloudstack.service_offering_id = "c6f99499-7f59-4138-9427-a09db13af2bc" # Large - 8GB
        #cloudstack.service_offering_id = "350dc5ea-fe6d-42ba-b6c0-efb8b75617ad" # Extra-large - 16GB
        #cloudstack.service_offering_id = "a216b0d1-370f-4e21-a0eb-3dfc6302b564" # Huge - 32GB

        cloudstack.keypair = "vagrant" # for SSH boxes the name of the public key pushed to the machine

Make sure to set your API keys and your keypair properly. Also edit the line to set the name of the box you actually added with vagrant box add and edit the config.ssh.private_key_path to point to the private key you got from exoscale. In this configuration the default security group will be used.

You are now ready to bring the box up:

vagrant up --provider=cloudstack

Don't forget to use the --provider=cloudstack or the box won't come up. Check the exoscale dashboard to see the machine boot, try to ssh into the box.

Add provisioning steps

Once you have successfully started a machine with vagrant, you are ready to specify a provisioning script. Create a bash script in your working directory and make it do whatever your want.

Add this provisioning step in the Vagrantfile like so:

# Test bootstrap script
config.vm.provision :shell, :path => ""

Relaunch the machine with vagrant up or vagrant reload --provision. To stop a machine vagrant destroy

You are now ready to dig deeper into Vagrant provisioning. See the provisioner documentation and pick your favorite configuration management tool. For example with chef you would specify a cookbook like so:

config.vm.provision "chef_solo" do |chef|
    chef.add_recipe "mycookbook"

Puppet example

For Puppet remember the script that we put in the Userdata of the very first example. We are going to use the same Puppet configuration but via Vagrant.

Edit the Vagrantfile to have:

config.vm.provision "puppet" do |puppet|
    puppet.module_path = "modules"

Vagrant will look for the manifest in the manifests directory and for the modules in the modules directory. Now simply clone the repository that we used earlier:

git clone

You should now see the modules and manifests directory in the root of your working directory that contains the Vagrantfile. Remove the shell provisioning step, make sure to use the Ubuntu 12.04 template id and start the instance like before:

vagrant up --provider=cloudstack

Open your browser and get back to Wordpress ! Of course the whole idea of Vagrant is that you can test all of these provisioning steps on your local machines using VirtualBox. Once you are happy with your recipes you can then move to provision in the cloud. Check out Packer a related project which you can use to generate images for your cloud.

Playing with multi-machines configuration

Vagrant is also very interesting because you can start multiple machines at once. Edit the Vagrantfile to add a web and a db machine. Add the cloudstack specific information and specify different bootstrap scripts.

config.vm.define "web" do |web| = "tutorial"

config.vm.define "db" do |db| = "tutorial"

You can control each machine separately vagrant up web, vagrant up db or all at once in parallel vagrant up

Let the fun begin. Pick your favorite configuration management tool, decide what you want to provision, setup your recipes and launch the instances.


Our last exercise for this tutorial will be an introduction to Ansible. Ansible is a new configuration management systems based on ssh communications with the instances and a no-server setup. It is easy to install and get started. Of course it can be used in conjunction with Vagrant.

Install and remote execution

First install ansible:

pip install ansible

Or get it via packages yum install ansible, apt-get install ansible if you have set the proper repositories.

If you kept the instances from the previous exercise running, create an inventory inv file with the IP addresses. Like so

Then run your first ansible command: ping:

ansible all -i inv -m ping

You should see the following output: | success >> {
    "changed": false, 
    "ping": "pong"
} | success >> {
    "changed": false, 
    "ping": "pong"

And see how you can use Ansible as a remote execution framework:

$ ansible all -i inv -a "/bin/echo hello" | success | rc=0 >>
hello | success | rc=0 >>

Now check all the great Ansible examples, pick one, download it via github and try to configure your instances with ansible-playbook

Provisioning with Playbooks

Clone the ansible-examples outside your Vagrant project:

cd ..
git clone

Pick the one you want to try, go easy first :) Maybe wordpress or a lamp stack and copy it's content to a ansible directory within the root of the Vagrant project.

cd ./tutorial
mkdir ansible
cd ansible
cp -R ../../ansible-examples/wordpress-nginx/ .

Go back to the Vagrant project directory we have been working on and edit the Vagrantfile. Remove the Puppet provisioning or comment it out and add:

# Ansible test
config.vm.provision "ansible" do |ansible|
  ansible.playbook = "ansible/site.yml"
  ansible.verbose = "vvvv"
  ansible.host_key_checking = "false"
  ansible.sudo_user = "root"

And start the instance once again

vagrant up --provision=cloudstack

Watch the output from the Ansible provisioning and once finished access the wordpress application that was just configured.

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