Build a Private Cloud with Ubuntu: An Overview

Tuesday Jan 19th 2010 by Eric Geier

A short guide to launching a a private cloud system -- one cloud controller and one or more node controllers -- using Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, powered by the Eucalyptus platform.

Have you been wanting to fly to the cloud, to experiment with cloud computing? Now is your chance. With this article, we will step through the process of setting up a private cloud system using Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), which is powered by the Eucalyptus platform.

The system is made up of one cloud controller (also called a front-end server) and one or more node controllers. The cloud controller manages the cloud environment. You can install the default Ubuntu OS images or create your own to be virtualized. The node controllers are where you can run the virtual machine (VM) instances of the images.

System Requirements

At least two computers must be dedicated to this cloud for it to work:

  • One for the front-end server (cloud or cluster controller) with a minimum 1GHz CPU, 512MB of memory, CD-ROM, 40GB of disk space, and an Ethernet network adapter
  • One or more for the node controller(s) with a CPU that supports Virtualization Technology (VT) extensions, 1GB of memory, CD-ROM, 40GB of disk space and an Ethernet network adapter

You might want to reference a list of Intel processors that include VT extensions. Optionally, you can run a utility, called SecurAble, in Windows. You can also check in Linux if a computer supports VT by seeing if "vmx" or "svm" is listed in the /proc/cpuinfo file. Run the command: egrep '(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo. Bear in mind, however, this tells you only if it's supported; the BIOS could still be set to disable it.

Preparing for the Installation

First, download the CD image for the Ubuntu Server remix — we're using version 9.10 — on any PC with a CD or DVD burner. Then burn the ISO image to a CD or DVD. If you want to use a DVD, make sure the computers that will be in the cloud read DVDs. If you're using Windows 7, you can open the ISO file and use the native burning utility. If you're using Windows Vista or later, you can download a third-party application like DoISO.

Before starting the installation, make sure the computers involved are setup with the peripherals they need (i.e., monitor, keyboard and mouse). Plus, make sure they're plugged into the network so they'll automatically configure their network connections.

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