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How to Install OpenStack Heat

Published: 01 May 2013

If you’d like to get up and running and hacking on OpenStack Heat this guide is for you. In this post I’ll describe how to get up and running quickly with the goal of creating a fully functional environment that’s easy to hack on (not for production use).

What is OpenStack?

OpenStack is open source software for building public and private clouds.

The OpenStack Open Source Cloud Mission: to produce the ubiquitous Open Source Cloud Computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private clouds regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable.

What is Heat?

Heat is a service to orchestrate multiple composite cloud applications using the AWS CloudFormation template format, through both an OpenStack-native ReST API and a CloudFormation-compatible Query API.

Install devstack

As a convenience, we’ll use devstack which is basically a shell script maintained by the OpenStack developer community to build a complete OpenStack environment.

First, if you haven’t done so already create a fresh install of a recent Ubuntu or Fedora linux distro on a machine with a decent amount of resources. I recommend at least 8GB of RAM and 250GB of disk space. I’ve tested with Ubuntu 12.04 and Fedora 18 so ymmv.

Second, ssh to the machine and install devstack by running the following commands:

  1. sudo apt-get update
  2. sudo apt-get install git
  3. git clone git:// (I simply clone this to ~/devstack)
  4. cd devstack
  5. ./
  6. you’ll be prompted several times for a password. I recommend just making all the passwords the same for the sake of simplicity.

After several minutes, the script will eventually stop and you’ll be presented with output similar to the following:

Horizon is now available at
Keystone is serving at
Examples on using novaclient command line is in
The default users are: admin and demo
The password: password
This is your host ip: completed in 514 seconds.

Enabling Heat

Heat is included in devstack but it must be enabled by adding the following to ~/devstack/localrc:


Now, restart OpenStack with ./, then ./

After several minutes (depending on your internet connection speed and the number of images specified above), you should have a working OpenStack/Heat installation.

Tags: #openstack#heat#how-to#cloudformation