Install Eucalyptus 4.0 Using Motherbrain and Chef



Installing distributed systems can be a tedious and time consuming process. Luckily there are many solutions for distributed configuration management available to the open source community. Over the past few months, I have been working on the Eucalyptus cookbook which allows for standardized deployments of Eucalyptus using Chef. This functionality has already been implemented in MicroQA using individual calls to Knife (the Chef command line interface) for each machine in the deployment. Orchestration of the deployment is rather static and thus only 3 topologies have been implemented as part of the deployment tab.

Last month, Riot Games released Motherbrain, their orchestration framework that allows flexible, repeatable, and scalable deployment of multi-tiered applications. Their approach to the deployment roll out problem is simple and understandable. You configure manifests that define how your application components are split up then define the order in which they should be deployed.

For example in the case of Eucalyptus we have cluster, node, and frontend components. Each component is a set of recipes from the Eucalyptus cookbook. Once we have recipes mapped to components we need to define the order in which these components should be rolled out in the “stack order” section of our Motherbrain manifest:

stack_order do
bootstrap ‘cloud::full’
bootstrap ‘cloud::default’
bootstrap ‘cloud::frontend’
bootstrap ‘cluster::default’
bootstrap ‘cluster::cluster-controller’
bootstrap ‘cluster::storage-controller’
bootstrap ‘cloud::user-facing’
bootstrap ‘cloud::walrus’
bootstrap ‘cloud::user-console’
bootstrap ‘node::default’
bootstrap ‘cloud::configure’
bootstrap ‘nuke::default’

Once we have the components split up and ordered we need to define our topology. This can we done with another JSON formatted manifest like so:

{“nodes”: [
{ “groups”: ["cloud::frontend", "cloud::configure"],
“hosts”: [""]
{ “groups”: ["cluster::default"],
“hosts”: [""]
{ “groups”: ["node::default"],
“hosts”: ["", ""]


With this information, Motherbrain allows you to create arbitrary topologies of your distributed system with repeatability and scalability taken care of. Repeatability comes from using Chef recipes and the scalability is derived from the nodes in each tier being deployed in parallel. In Eucalyptus terms, this means that no matter how many Node Controllers you’d like to deploy to your cluster, they system will come up in almost constant time. In order to tweak the configuration you can deploy your stack into a properly parameterized Chef environment.
Now that the concept has been laid out, lets get to business building our cluster from the 4.0 nightlies.

Installing prerequisites

I have created a script to install and configure Motherbrain and Chef that should work for Enterprise Linux or Mac OSX:

sh <(curl -s

If you’d like to do the steps manually you can:

  1. Install ruby 2.0.0
  2. Install gems
    1. chef
    2. motherbrain
    3. chef-zero
  3. Get cookbooks and dependencies
    1. eucalyptus –
    2. ntp –
    3. selinux –
    4. yum –
  4. Upload all cookbooks to your Chef server
  5. Configure Motherbrain
    1. mb configure

Customizing your deployment

  1. Go into the Eucalyptus cookbook directory (~/chef-repo/cookbooks/eucalyptus)
  2. Edit the bootstrap.json file to match your deployment topology
    1. Ensure at least 1 IP/Machine for each component
    2. Same IP can be used for all machines (Cloud-in-a-box)
  3. Edit the environment file in ~/chef-repo/cookbooks/eucalyptus/environments/edge-nightly.json
    1. Change the topology configuration to match what you have defined in the bootstrap.json file
    2. Change the network config to match your Eucalyptus deployment
  4. Upload your environment to the Chef server
    1. knife environment from file environments/edge-nightly.json

Deploying your Eucalyptus Cloud

Now that we have defined our topology and network configuration we can deploy the cookbook using the Motherbrain command line interface by telling the tool:

  1. Which bootstrap configuration to use
  2. Which environment to deploy to

For example:

mb eucalyptus bootstrap bootstrap.json -e edge-nightly -v

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