Getting started with OpenStack

Installing OpenStack

The fastest way I found (after reading on components, which gazillions of parts there are and which you probably won’t need) was to just run DevStack. Note: DevStack is not for production and makes A LOT of changes to your system, so install it on a dedicated machine!

The install for Ubuntu 18.04 I followed can be found here. First add a dedicated user (or just use ubuntu). The following are run as root, but can also be done with sudo.

# useradd -s /bin/bash -d /opt/stack -m stack
# echo "stack ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL" | tee /etc/sudoers.d/stack
# su - stack

Download DevStack:

$ git clone
$ cd devstack

Create a config file. I added Heat and Ceilometer, but you might do just fine with the first five lines.

$ cat <<EOF > local.conf

#Enable heat services
enable_service h-eng h-api h-api-cfn h-api-cw

enable_plugin ceilometer
enable_plugin aodh

After that just run

$ ./

and then the install will kick off. This will take a few minutes. If you run into any errors like ERROR: Cannot uninstall 'wrapt'. during upgrade make sure the version you need is installed. For me it was fixed with pip install --ignore-installed wrapt==1.12.1 simplejson==3.17.2.

After the install you should have access to keystone, glance, nova, placement, cinder, neutron, horizon and also ceilometer and heat if you used my local.conf. Try pointing a browser to the IP of the Ubuntu machine, it should give you the OpenStack interface where you can login as admin with the password defined in your config file.

Commandline access

To use the command line install the OpenStack client locally

$ pip install python-openstackclient

and then create an openrc file:

export OS_USER_DOMAIN_NAME=default
export OS_PROJECT_NAME=admin
export OS_USERNAME=admin
export OS_PASSWORD=YourSuperSecretPassword
export OS_AUTH_URL=http://<ServerIP>/identity

and don’t forget to source openrc. Try it with e.g.

$ openstack user list

Creating your first VM

Start of by either importing a public key or creating a keypair in OpenStack.

$ openstack keypair create --public-key ~/.ssh/ NEW_KEY_NAME

Create a new security group to allow ping and SSH:

$ openstack security group create ssh_icmp_access --description Allows ICMP and SSH access from anywhere
$ openstack security group rule list ssh_icmp_access #Should return nothing
$ openstack security group rule create ssh_icmp_access --protocol tcp --dst-port 22:22 --remote-ip
$ openstack security group rule create --protocol icmp ssh_icmp_access

Create a router with a public address:

$ openstack router create router

Get the public network ID (DevStack creates a public, private and shared network by default), the public-subnet ID and the router ID.

$ openstack router list
$ openstack network list
$ openstack subnet list

And then set up the router:

$ openstack router set ROUTER_ID --external-gateway PUBLIC_NETWORK_ID
$ openstack router add subnet ROUTER_ID PUBLIC_SUBNET_ID

Add an image after downloading it (for example Debian):

$ openstack image create --container-format bare --disk-format qcow2 \
        --file debian-9-openstack-amd64.qcow2 debian-9-openstack-amd64

Launch an instance. The flavor is the machine size (e.g. 1 is 512MB RAM and 1vCPU, 3 is 4096MB RAM and 4vCPUs), the image ID can be checked with openstack image list.

$ openstack server create --flavor 3 --image IMAGE_ID --key-name NEW_KEY_NAME \
  --security-group ssh_icmp_access DEBIAN_INSTANCE_NAME

Connect the instance to the private network

Assign floating IP to instance interface (make sure it’s the private network)

$ openstack floating ip create public
$ openstack server add floating ip DEBIAN_INSTANCE_NAME FLOATING_IP

Now you should be able to SSH into that server with the private key and floating IP address, using the debian user

$ ssh -i ~/.ssh/yourkey debian@FLOATING_IP

For more info check out the OpenStack docs.