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A super lightweight KVM virtualization manager

Project description

# picostack

A super lightweight KVM virtualization manager suitable for single linux-based host system. A motivation to write yet another VM manager is simple - picostack is

* open source (MIT license)
* is written to be minimalistic
* has little overhead, only control over instances
* can be installed as a python package, i.e. `pip install picostack`
* has a *KVM (qemu)* back-end
* has web-interface to manipulate execution of VMs (in a fashion motivated
by OpenStack)
* powered by *django* framework
* allows mapping of network ports from guest system into the host system

Note that picostack is conceived as a virtualization manager - not a cloud
service provider' software, but a single server split of available resources.

![alt text]( "Screenshot of the web-interface with the overview of running VM instances")

Copyright (c) 2014 Yauhen Yakimovich

Licensed under the MIT License (MIT). Read a copy of LICENSE distributed with
this code.


### Creating VM instances by cloning

To produce a new VM instance one should always clone a previously registered
image disk. Machine starts with "In cloning" and transits to "Stopped" once
done. Such a machine can be "launched" using web-interface with **//host/instances** overview. As soon as the VM is started it obtains state "Running"
and continues to boot. After some period of time one can connect to mapped
ports over the network to check if the guest has complete booting.

### Adding new images

picostack init jeos

Will attempt to use *vmbuilder* to create an example ubuntu JeOS image, which can be copied and registered in the DB.

In practice, anything supported by KVM can be used as long as you can convert the disk image into [qcow2]( format (e.g. virtual box machines can be converted to be run by KVM).

Currently, in order to register a new *image* one should use an admin part of the web interface (which is a usual django-based ORM editing interface).

## Installation

### Create a dedicated pstk user

Start by creating a new separate user for dedicated to run picostak daemon.

adduser pstk
sudo usermod -a -G www-data pstk
sudo usermod -a -G kvm pstk

where `www-data` is your apache user.

### Debian prerequisites

sudo apt-get install python-dev

### Get a copy of picostack

Installation starts with obtaining a copy of picostack code either from github
and perform a developer's installation like this:

git clone
cd picostack
pip install -e .

or just give it a try your luck and directly pick a PyPI package:

pip install picostack

## Configuration

### Two consoles

Picostack has two controlling scripts that can be used in a command line to
operate the program.

whereis picostk
picostk: /usr/local/bin/picostk


whereis picostk-django
picostk-django: /usr/local/bin/picostk-django

First one provides controlling interface over the picostack daemon as well as
instances and images of the application.

Second one is a django-admin interface to access functionality pf the django

### Default configuration

You should use a (sudoer) user to run the application.
Currently the configuration folder is located in ~/.picostack


picostk init config
sudo picostk init db

will populate the configuration folder with some default settings.
Please navigate there and adjust it if you need to.

You would also need to init the database. Make sure to add you picostack user () or in any other way make access to the DB file shared with apache user.
Default location is:


### Running at boot time

First, make sure you have the service script placed at */etc/init.d/pstk*.

Second, to install picostack service as a boot time script to be run by debian-like system one has to register it with:

update-rc.d pstk defaults

Removing is achieved by:

update-rc.d -f pstk remove

### Configuring apache as the webinterface

It is not recommended to use `picostk-django runserver` for production
environment. Instead one should use something more reliable and production
ready, e.g. [apache web server](

This should install and enable WSGI module in your apache: `aptitude install libapache2-mod-wsgi`.

Once module is installed, you can adopt the following example configuration of
the virtual host:

# picostack virtual host:
<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAdmin i@am.admin
DocumentRoot /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/picostack

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/picostack.error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/picostack.access.log combined

WSGIScriptAlias / /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/picostack/
WSGIDaemonProcess python-path=/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/picostack:/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/:/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages

<Directory "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/picostack/">
Require all granted
# For apache <= 2.4 uncomment and use lines below instead
# Order allow,deny
# Allow from all

Alias /static/admin/ /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/contrib/admin/static/admin/

<Directory "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/contrib/admin/static/admin/">
Require all granted
# For apache <= 2.4 uncomment and use lines below instead
# Order allow,deny
# Allow from all

Alias /static/ /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/picostack/static/

<Directory "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/picostack/static/">
Require all granted
# For apache <= 2.4 uncomment and use lines below instead
# Order allow,deny
# Allow from all

where */usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/picostack/* is the path to
user's home folder and is the website URL to be installed

For further details follow [modwsgi documantaion on django page](

## Running tests

There are a bunch of nose tests inside *tests* folder. A quick start to run

pip install nose
cd tests/

wbr, yy

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