Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Playing with Silvereye

Silvereye is a bird native to Australia (I have to admit I have never seen one live) but it is also a project that allows a very quick and easy installation of Eucalyptus. The project is fairly young, but it is already very usable: you can follow its development on github. While Faststart has a very small footprint (it fits on a 1GB thumb drive) and requires a CentOS base installation, Silvereye creates a CD iso image which can be used to install bare machines.

Tonight  I took the latest Silvereye for a spin, and here are my notes. Let me start with a single word: wow! I forked the latest version from github, moved the silvereye.sh script to a CentOS Virtual Machine (VM) I had on my laptop, and ran the script while I went to grab some coffee. When I came back, I had an iso file freshly baked and ready to go.

I booted a VM using the Silvereye CD (I will write in another blog my libvirt configuration for this experiment) and connected to it with a VNC viewer to be greeted with the boot menu.
Boot menu for Eucalyptus Front-End or Eucalyptus Node Controller.
The options are to install a Eucalyptus Front-End, a Eucalyptus Node Controller, a minimal CentOS without Eucalyptus, to boot into a rescue image or to boot from local hard disk. I selected the Front-End installation.

The process continued with the usual CentOS installation,
Default CentOS 6 installation.
and in few minutes the (virtual) machine was ready to be restarted into its new OS.
CentOS 6 is now installed and ready to go.
At the first root login, Silvereye kicked in and configured Eucalyptus. I did follow the few easy questions (it also allows you to reconfigure network, DNS and hostname if needed) and I ended up with a working Eucalyptus Front-End in no time!
Silvereye first question.
You will need the physical network layout of your machines: IP addresses used by the machines and IP addresses available for the instances,  network netmask, gateways, DNS server. Also make sure that when you configure the private network for the instances, there is no overlap with your real network.
Network configuration for Eucalyptus, and database initialization.
As a final touch, Silvereye created an Eucalyptus Machine Image (EMI) for me!  Of course I could have downloaded the one we provides, created my own one, or found some Amazon's compatible images, but I have to say that having Silvereye doing all the dirty work was simply gratifying.
Silvereye can create an EMI for you.
The end result was a kernel, ramdisk and image ready to use.
List of available images.
And here is where I stopped: I didn't have an NC ready to go, and my latest book was waiting for me. It took me about 20 minutes from the time I started the VM the first time with the Silvereye CD, to have a list of EMIs.