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A Cloud Beginner Manages OpenStack with RightScale

OpenStack.org blogger Victoria Martínez de la Cruz recently tested RightScale as a solution for managing her OpenStack development environment. We asked Victoria to share her experience.

Last year I began working as a feature developer for OpenStack, the open source cloud computing project founded by Rackspace and NASA. In my work I develop and test new features of OpenStack on different versions of OpenStack itself, and using different operating systems. As a developer, your work environment should be as close as possible to the environment in which your code will be deployed so that you can to get to know the code, improve it, implement new features, and check how things behave. However, after nearly three months, I found myself juggling an incredible mess of various clouds implemented in different ways across multiple operating systems. I realized that I was spending too much time managing the environment and not enough time working on my code.

I went looking for tools to organize my deployments and improve my productivity, and came across RightScale, a comprehensive cloud management solution designed to monitor and manage cloud deployments. Since RightScale supports OpenStack, I decided to see how it could fit my needs. I learned that RightScale not only supports OpenStack but also recommends the Rackspace Private Cloud reference architecture for OpenStack.

To test integration with RightScale, I used a single-node OpenStack Folsom implementation running on Fedora 18 on a standard server with an AMD Athlon X2 2.7GHz CPU with 4GB of DDR2 RAM. You could get better performance with high-end servers, but for testing and development purposes this hardware is more than enough and the integration process is the same.

I had no trouble following Fedora’s Getting started with OpenStack on Fedora 18 setup guide and using the available packages in Fedora repositories. The hardest part? My ISP doesn’t provide static IP addresses, so I had to get a dynamic DNS service to make my server visible from the outside.

Adding a Private Cloud to RightScale

It’s easy to add a cloud to RightScale, as long as you have an administrator account and credentials on hand. I signed up for a free trial, then followed the detailed directions in Register an OpenStack Cloud with RightScale.

Click Clouds > Add Cloud in the main menu displays a list of all the available clouds.

Rightscale: Add cloud

Since you will be the manager, click Administered Clouds and register a new private cloud with the Register Cloud button. You must enter your administrator credentials - the username and password you use for your OpenStack cloud - the tenant ID, the name of the region where your server is, and the cloud controller address. You can retrieve this information from OpenStack’s Keystone client, or by going to the RightScale dashboard in the upper-right corner under Settings > OpenStack API and downloading the admin’s RC file.

RightScale: Register your OpenStack cloud

OpenStack RC File

You should see a notification on the RightScale dashboard informing you that the connection was established with your private cloud and, after viewing a brief Getting Started Guide that appears in the dashboard, you can start using RightScale to manage your OpenStack cloud.

Integrating RightScale and OpenStack

I was excited to find that RightScale lets you do almost everything you can do from the OpenStack Dashboard, including launching instances and establishing SSH tunnels with them, creating volumes and security groups, uploading images, and deploying networks. RightScale has great support for every OpenStack service.

RightScale: Launching an instance

RightScale: Instance status

Meanwhile, in OpenStack...

Having all my deployments in a single place allows me to show them to my colleagues, and allows them to review my work. I can also learn from other people’s deployments and share resources with new developers getting involved with the stack.

A beginner like me – with little experience developing cloud features – cannot yet take full advantage of all the flexibility that RightScale offers for managing applications across multiple public, private, and hybrid clouds. However, the ease with which you can access the service and the multitude of tasks it lets you perform make RightScale beneficial even for those who use only some of its features.

Deploying OpenStack is not difficult, and integrating it with RightScale is even easier. If you want to give OpenStack and RightScale a try, sign up for a free trial. Victoria Martínez de la Cruz

Victoria Martínez de la Cruz is a computer science student and interns for OpenStack as a participant in the GNOME OPW program. She is a FOSS enthusiast and tech lover and is always willing to learn about new technologies.