Running OpenStack under VirtualBox – A Complete Guide (Part 1)

UPDATE: I’ve been working on a new version of the script which can be used to create an OpenStack host running on Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin and the Essex release.
I’ve now got a video to accompany this which is recommended over this guide
Head over to  ‎

Running OpenStack under VirtualBox allows you to have a complete multi-node cluster that you can access and manage from the computer running VirtualBox as if you’re accessing a region on Amazon.
This is a complete guide to setting up a VirtualBox VM running Ubuntu, with OpenStack running on this guest and an OpenStack instance running, accessible from your host.

Part 1 – OpenStack on a single VirtualBox VM with OpenStack instances accessible from host

The environment used for this guide

  • A 64-Bit Intel Core i7 Laptop, 8Gb Ram.
  • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick AMD64 (The “host”)
  • VirtualBox 4
  • Access from host running VirtualBox only (so useful for development/proof of concept)

The proposed environment

  • OpenStack “Public” Network:
  • OpenStack “Private” Network:
  • Host has access to its own LAN, separate to this on and not used for this guide

The Guide

  • Download and install VirtualBox from
  • Under Preferences… Network…
  • Add/Edit Host-only network so you have vboxnet0. This will serve as the “Public interface” to your cloud environment
    • Configure this as follows
      • Adapter
        • IPv4 Address:
        • IPv4 Network Mask:
      • DHCP Server
        • Disable Server
    • On your Linux host running VirtualBox, you will see an interface created called ‘vboxnet0’ with the address specified as This will be the IP address your OpenStack instances will see when you access them.
    • Create a new Guest
      • Name: Cloud1
        • OS Type: Linux
        • Version: Ubuntu (64-Bit)
      • 1024Mb Ram
      • Boot Hard Disk
        • Dynamically Expanding Storage
        • 8.0Gb
      • After this initial set up, continue to configure the guest
        • Storage:
          • Edit the CD-ROM so that it boots Ubuntu 10.10 Live or Server ISO
          • Ensure that the SATA controller has Host I/O Cache Enabled (recommended by VirtualBox for EXT4 filesystems)
        • Network:
          • Adapter 1
            • Host-only Adapter
            • Name: vboxnet0
          • Adapter 2
            • NAT
            • This will provide the default route to allow the VM to access the internet to get the updates, OpenStack scripts and software
        • Audio:
          • Disable (just not required)
    • Power the guest on and install Ubuntu
    • For this guide I’ve statically assigned the guest with the IP: for eth0 and netmask  This will be the IP address that you will use to access the guest from your host box, as well as the IP address you can use to SSH/SCP files around.
    • Once installed, run an update (sudo apt-get update&&sudo apt-get upgrade) then reboot
    • If you’re running a desktop, install the Guest Additions (Device… Install Guest Additions, then click on Places and select the VBoxGuestAdditions CD and follow the Autorun script), then Reboot
    • Install openssh-server
      • sudo apt-get -y install openssh-server
    • Grab this script to install OpenStack
      • This will set up a repository (ppa:nova/trunk) and install MySQL server where the information regarding your cloud will be stored
      • The options specified on the command line match the environment described above
      • wget
    • Run the script (as root/through sudo)
      • sudo bash ./ -A $(whoami)
    • Run the post-configuration steps
      • ADMIN=$(whoami)
        sudo nova-manage user admin ${ADMIN}
        sudo nova-manage role add ${ADMIN} cloudadmin
        sudo nova-manage project create myproject ${ADMIN}
        sudo nova-manage project zipfile myproject ${ADMIN}
        mkdir -p cloud/creds
        cd cloud/creds
        unzip ~/
        . novarc
        euca-add-keypair openstack > ~/cloud/creds/openstack.pem
        chmod 0600 cloud/creds/*

    Congratulations, you now have a working Cloud environment waiting for its first image and instances to run, with a user you specified on the command line (yourusername), the credentials to access the cloud and a project called ‘myproject’ to host the instances.

    • You now need to ensure that you can access any instances that you launch via SSH as a minimum (as well as being able to ping) – but I add in access to a web service and port 8080 too for this environment as my “default” security group.
      • euca-authorize default -P tcp -p 22 -s
        euca-authorize default -P tcp -p 80 -s
        euca-authorize default -P tcp -p 8080 -s
        euca-authorize default -P icmp -t -1:-1
    • Next you need to load a UEC image into your cloud so that instances can be launched from it
      • image="ttylinux-uec-amd64-12.1_2.6.35-22_1.tar.gz"
        uec-publish-tarball $image mybucket
    • Once the uec-publish-tarball command has been run, it will present you with a line with emi=, eri= and eki= specifying the Image, Ramdisk and Kernel as shown below. Highlight this, copy and paste back in your shell
      Thu Feb 24 09:55:19 GMT 2011: ====== extracting image ======
      kernel : ttylinux-uec-amd64-12.1_2.6.35-22_1-vmlinuz
      ramdisk: ttylinux-uec-amd64-12.1_2.6.35-22_1-initrd
      image  : ttylinux-uec-amd64-12.1_2.6.35-22_1.img
      Thu Feb 24 09:55:19 GMT 2011: ====== bundle/upload kernel ======
      Thu Feb 24 09:55:21 GMT 2011: ====== bundle/upload ramdisk ======
      Thu Feb 24 09:55:22 GMT 2011: ====== bundle/upload image ======
      Thu Feb 24 09:55:25 GMT 2011: ====== done ======
      emi="ami-fnlidlmq"; eri="ami-dqliu15n"; eki="ami-66rz6vbs";
    • To launch an instance
      • euca-run-instances $emi -k openstack -t m1.tiny
    • To check its running
      • euca-describe-instances
      • You will see the Private IP that has been assigned to this instance, for example
    • To access this via SSH
      • ssh -i cloud/creds/openstack.pem root@
      • (To log out of ttylinux, type: logout)
    • Congratulations, you now have an OpenStack instance running under OpenStack Nova, running under a VirtualBox VM!
    • To access this outside of the VirtualBox environment (i.e. back on your real computer, the host) you need to assign it a “public” IP
      • Associate this to the instance id (get from euca-describe-instances and will be of the format i-00000000)
        • euca-allocate-address
        • This will return an IP address that has been assigned to your project so that you can now associate to your instance, e.g.
        • euca-associate-address -i i-00000001
      • Now back on your host (so outside of VirtualBox), grab a copy of cloud/creds directory
        • scp -r user@ .
      • You can now access that host using the Public address you associated to it above
        • ssh -i cloud/creds/openstack.pem root@

    CONGRATULATIONS! You have now created a complete cloud environment under VirtualBox that you can manage from your computer (host) as if you’re managing services on Amazon. To demonstrate this you can terminate that instance you created from your computer (host)

    • sudo apt-get install euca2ools
      . cloud/creds/novarc
      euca-terminate-instances i-00000001


    This guide is based on Thierry Carrez’ blog @

  • Next: Part 2 – OpenStack on a multiple VirtualBox VMs with OpenStack instances accessible from host