Beginning to understand Neutron provider and tenant networks in OpenStack

OpenStack is composed of many different projects. The core projects provide compute, storage, and network resources. The Neutron project provides network resources to the OpenStack environment and can be difficult to get started with. To help get the gears turning, I will be discussing some of the functionality Neutron Networking is capable of.

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Openstack CLI Basics

In this blog post, we will walk through using the OpenStack CLI tools to perform common workflows:

  • Setting environment variable to use CLI tools without repeatedly specifying username/password/tenant.
  • Using the built-in CLI help
  • Creating and using an SSH key-pair
  • Creating and modifying Glance images
  • Creating Nova flavors
  • Booting and deleting images
  • Creating a tenant
  • Creating users for a tenant and adding roles to them
  • Testing authentication using curl
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We have had a number of customers request the need to be able to create their own Cloud Servers images rather than taking snapshots from our base installs. To fulfill this need, we are announcing a new tool as a preview today called The tool enables you to utilize the various Linux distributions installers to install directly to the disk of your Cloud Server.

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Cloud Files directory listing

My last holiday took me to Morocco, where me and a couple of friends used motorbikes to travel through the country. To have something to show off back home, we used small cameras mounted on the bikes to film everything. At the end of the trip, our group had filmed about 10 gigabytes of footage and I was put in charge to gather and distribute these files amongst ourselves.

I uploaded all the footage - roughly 55 videos - to a Cloud Files container, b ut obviously I didn’t want to give my portal username and password to my friends. Also, there is no option to generate an index file within Cloud Files, so the only option left to me was to send everyone the 55 video URLs separately. Clearly, a different solution was needed. And so I built one myself.

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Neutron networking: Neutron routers and the L3 agent

In this multi-part blog series I intend to dive into the various components of the OpenStack Neutron project and provide working examples of networking configurations for clouds built with Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

In the previous installment, Neutron Networking: VLAN Provider Networks, I provided guidance on configuring networks in Neutron using VLAN tagging. In this fourth installment, I’ll describe how to combine flat or VLAN provider networks with GRE-based tenant networks using the L3 agent and Neutron routers.

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PostgreSQL + WAL-E + Cloudfiles = Awesome

If you’re a big PostgreSQL fan like I am, you may have heard of a tool called WAL-E. Originally developed by Heroku, WAL-E is a tool for efficiently sending PostgreSQL’s WAL (Write Ahead Log) to the cloud. In addition to Heroku, WAL-E is now used by many companies with large PostgreSQL deployments, including Instagram.

Let’s unpack what that means. If you’ve ever set up replication with PostgreSQL you’re probably familiar with the WAL. Essentially there are two parts to replication and backup in PostgreSQL, the “base backup” and the WAL. Base backups are a copy of your database files that can be taken while the database is running. You might create base backups every night, for example. The WAL is where PostgreSQL writes each and every transaction, as they happen. When you run normal replication, the leader will send its log file to the followers as it writes it.

Instead of just using a simple socket to communicate, WAL-E sends these base backups and WAL files across the internet with the help of a cloud object store, like Cloudfiles (or any OpenStack Swift deployment). This gives you the advantage that, in addition to just being replication, you have a durable backup of your database for disaster recovery. Further, you have effectively infinite read scalability from the archives, you can keep adding more followers without putting more stress on the leader.

With the help of WAL-E’s primary author, Daniel Farina, we recently added support for OpenStack Swift to it. It’s not yet in a final release, but if you’re interested in checking it out, read on!

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Chef server backups

There are few ways to backup a Chef server. Opscode has some documenation on their wiki Backing up Chef Server. Some of this is outdated now because chef no longer uses Couch DB.

However there is this little gem (pun intended) called knife-backup.

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Neutron networking: VLAN provider networks

In this multi-part blog series I intend to dive into the various components of the OpenStack Neutron project, and to also provide working examples of networking configurations for clouds built with Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

In the previous installment, Neutron Networking: Simple Flat Network, I demonstrated an easy method of providing connectivity to instances using an untagged flat network. In this third installment, I’ll describe how to build multiple provider networks using 802.1q vlan tagging.

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Upload files directly to Rackspace Cloud Files from the browser

We needed to let users take files (possibly really big files) from their hard drive and push them straight to the Rackspace Cloud Files storage service

We don’t want the upload traffic anywhere near our servers.

This is available on github:

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Step-by-step walkthrough to using Chef to bootstrap Windows nodes on the Rackspace Cloud

If you are a frequent reader of this blog you will have seen Hart’s posts about “Cooking with Chef”:

Further to these there are also a lot of tutorials on the internet. Most of them seem to focus on using chef to deploy/manage Linux servers but you will have a hard time to find a lot for doing the same on Windows Servers (Yes, Windows as in Microsoft Windows).

I have therefore sat down and put together a detailed step-by-step walkthrough that will guide you through installing your own Open Source Chef Server on a Rackspace Cloud Server running CentOS 6.4, installing the knife-windows plugin and then spinning up, bootstrapping and installing IIS on a Windows Server 2012 Rackspace Cloud Server without logging on to it once. Read on, if you dare…

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