Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TryStack - Evaluate a Private IAAS Cloud at no cost

IAAS (Infrastructure-As-A-Service) public clouds like AWS and Rackspace are getting a huge amount of attention, no doubt. In the enterprise itself, private clouds based on OpenStack or Apache Cloud Stack, are also becoming quite popular.

I am sure, many like me, want to try their hands at using an IAAS style private cloud, without having to go through the hassle of installing private cloud on premise or using a paid IAAS public cloud like AWS.

Well, there is a good option for evaluating a private cloud stack like OpenStack completely online. Its called Try Stack. It runs a managed openstack environment.Its sponsored by donations from cisco, ubuntu, HP etc who want to popularize IAAS cloud computing.

Heres a quick rundown of how you can start using the hosted IAAS private cloud TryStack:

  • Go to and register onto their facebook group. For me the approval happened overnight
  • You will get an email confirming above registration
  • Then onwards you can login to the private cloud admin console using your facebook credentials

Following steps will  be familiar to people who have worked with private IAAS clouds like openstack or cloudstack

  • Create a new security group opening up whichever ports you would like to access like TCP 22 for ssh, ICMP for pinging your instance, TCP 8080 for webserver access etc
  • Create a new public-private key pair and download the private key for authentication into your instance
  • Create a new instance choosing 
    • template like micro, small, medium etc, 
    • which OS to use: ubuntu, cirros, windows, etc are available in trystack
    • the security group 
    • key pair you created earlier
    • additional volumes if required

  • Check the instance boot logs, in the console, to ensure the VM instance was created all right

  • Finally note the public IP, allocated to your instance
  • Make sure you can ping your instance over the internet
  • Use putty-gen to convert the openstack's private key .pem to .ppk format
  • Use putty to ssh into your instance IP using the ppk private key
  • You can also use winscp to login in to your spanking new VM instance

One warning: Since trystack is an experimental sandbox area, every 24 hours, your existing instances will be forcibly purged. 

Using Trystack, to familiarize yourself with using a full-fledged private IAAS cloud like openstack, is quite a painless experience and its free as well, you don't need to sign up with your credit cards.


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