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  1. Blog
  2. Article

on 22 June 2015

Get Yourself a BootStack

Canonical offers BootStack as a service to build and operate OpenStack clouds for its customers, with the option to transfer administration of a cloud to the customer, if and when the customer so desires.

This means you can get yourself an OpenStack cloud running on your hardware, even on your premises, while we build and operate it for you. Your BootStack will use the same proven tools Canonical’s in-house clouds employ: MAAS and Juju.

OK, but what is OpenStack?

This questions seems fundamental, but its answers can often seem to fall between a very high level sales pitch and (perhaps ironically) brand- and politically-inspired technical descriptions of its components. To me, OpenStack is a collection of tools with which to manage networks of virtual machines.

Internet hosting businesses have an obvious interest in virtualisation, as a means to sell Internet computer resources. Any business, though, might find virtualisation a safe and tidy way to deploy machines, redeploy them, move them and destroy them, without so much concern for the health of any individual piece of the underlying hardware. Environments where there are requirements for, or benefits in, multiple short-lived machines, or cold spares, may also see the advantages of virtualisation. OpenStack as the tool to administer these machines.

What do I need to get a BootStack cloud?

The sales and solutions engineering phases of bringing a customer onboard develop an understanding of the on-premise requirements before you and Canonical define the specific hardware for the initial cloud, with the help of the Ubuntu OpenStack Interoperability Lab.

With the server and networking hardware and requirements agreed, you may then acquire and configure the hardware according to the handover checklist provided by Canonical. This checklist includes items like network configuration requirements, RAID configurations, and providing details of out-of-band management access.


When Canonical gets access to the hardware, we begin the hardware validation phase. This ensures that, before we begin the deployment of the cloud, the network and hardware are set and ready.

We install and configure MAAS on its machine, then PXE boot all the other nodes to see them automatically discovered and added to the system. MAAS is now ready to manage the metal for validation.

Next, we can have MAAS install Ubuntu on each node before we run our validation test suite. All things going to plan, validation passes and the customer hands over the hardware for the deployment phase.

At this point we introduce Juju. Using the MAAS provider for real hardware, and LXC provider for containers, all of the required services and configurations are Juju-deployed to build the cloud.

With Juju able to both provision machines and deploy services, we are able to Juju-deploy to a combination of real metal and containers, sharing resources depending on the services’ requirements. Where nova-compute may be deployed to metal shared with Ceph and Swift, Keystone and Glance can be deployed, in HA, to the three cloud controller containers, each container on different physical hosts.

When the deployment is completed, you are given tenant access to your new cloud, and can begin to boot your new virtual machines.


You are an admin tenant of your OpenStack cloud, while the administration of the infrastructure itself is the responsibility of Canonical’s BootStack squad. Using tools like Landscape and Nagios, along with Juju, Canonical monitors and administers the services and is responsible for the upgrade of Ubuntu and OpenStack.

If you need support, you have 24×7 access to Canonical Technical Services, with escalation directly to the BootStack squad.

Training and transfer

Your cloud can remain a BootStack service, but the option to transfer administration to the customer is feature of the product. To that end, Canonical also offers training in the Canonical tool set used to administer a BootStack cloud. When you’re ready, it’s yours!

Come and get it!

You know you want to use OpenStack, but you’d rather somebody else deploys and administers it for you, at least for a while. Get a BootStack!

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