Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Taking Rackspace Private Cloud for a Test Drive

Rackspace has released something very cool that I wanted to share with everybody!  Today they released their Private Cloud product based on OpenStack.  Some details on the product:
  • Designed to run on bare metal but can be virtualized!
  • Based on the Essex release
  • Not all features are supported (see the documentation) but there is enough there to take it for a test drive.
  • Completely automated installation, answer a few questions and Chef does the rest!
  • The documentation is very straightforward for installation and basic administration tasks for both bare metal and virtualized (KVM, VMware Fusion, Workstation, vSphere) environments
  • In my experience it works with both an i5 and i7 Mac with Fusion 4.X
So, why this article?  Because as always, I wanted to push this a little bit.  The documentation calls for a minimum of 6GB (4GB for the controller + 2GB for a compute node) so you will need a workstation with 8GB at a minimum.  I decided to start with that but I also used two laptops to run multiple compute nodes.  Lastly, I also tried to reduce the memory footprint down to work solely on the MacBook Air but my results aren't stable enough so far.  I will continue to play and see if I can make that configuration work.

The environment: 
  • An i5 Mac Book Pro with 8GB and OCZ SSD.  This is my laptop machine I've used in previous home lab configurations.  The base recommendation for the controller is 4GB and 2GB for each compute node.  I loaded up my controller and one compute node on this laptop.
  • An i7 Mac Book Air with 4GB.  I added another compute node on this machine.
  • To get the machines to "bridge" the networks I changed the default settings on the virtual machine for each node to Bridged instead of NAT.  This allowed me to piggyback onto my home wireless router to send packets back and forth.  My home router gives out DHCP on the range so I hardcoded my controller to, compute node1 to and compute node2 to

  • Both laptops were running Fusion 4.X without any problems.  I tried to use my wife's laptop (an i5 just like mine except 4GB and local HD) when she wasn't looking to add another compute node but she is running Fusion 3.X and the node wouldn't load.  I don't mess with mama's laptop so I decided not to tempt fate any further.
  • It worked great!!  Here's the picture of the home lab on the kitchen island:


I have been following the OpenStack community with great interest and so far this appears to be the easiest way to take OpenStack for a test drive.  I was up and running in less than an hour and will continue to tinker and learn.  A huge thanks to the Rackspace team for lowering the barrier to entry for people interested in OpenStack as it continues to build momentum!

[DISCLAIMER: I participated in the beta of this product. I provided feedback in exchange for early access to the software.  I was not compensated in anyway nor solicited to provide this post.]

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