OpenStack command line clients

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Parent page: Managing your cloud resources with OpenStack

The OpenStack command line tool allows you to perform many of the actions provided by the OpenStack dashboard GUI, as well as providing some functionality which the dashboard does not. The command line client can be used from any machine, virtual or otherwise, and only requires having an internet connection and the client installed. The discussion below assumes that it is being used on a Linux machine.


The OpenStack command lines tools are Python-based. You can install and run them on your personal computer or on a cloud VM. Different Linux distributions may have pre-built packages for the client, see the OpenStack installation documentation for more details. You can quickly install both Python and the OpenStack command line tools, if you have administrative privileges on your machine.

sudo apt-get install python python-dev python-pip
sudo pip install python-openstackclient
CentOS 7

Run as root

yum install epel-release
yum install gcc python python-dev python2-pip
pip install python-openstackclient
sudo dnf install python-openstackclient
If you do not have administrative privileges and cannot use the OS package manager, then you will need to install Python and pip by other means. Once installed, you can get the command line tools installed into your home space like so:
pip install --user python-openstackclient
The install location is probably already included in your $PATH, but you can double check whether ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile contains the following line PATH=$PATH:$HOME/.local/bin:$HOME/bin

If you wish to explore the OpenStack API for Python, add export PYTHONPATH=${HOME}/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/:${PYTHONPATH} to your .bashrc file. Adjust the python2.7 phrase to match the Python version you have installed.

Connecting CLI to OpenStack[edit]

Your command line client must now be told how to find your OpenStack project on our clouds. The most convenient way to do this is to download an OpenStack environment setup file. On the OpenStack dashboard go to Project-> API Access-> Download OpenStack RC File.

On East-cloud there are two RC files to choose from, a v2.0 and a v3 file. Unless you have a specific reason to choose v2.0, choose v3. If your OpenStack client version is version 2.5.0 or later, you will have to add the line export OS_IDENTITY_API_VERSION=3 to the East-cloud v3 file.

Then source the file with something like

[name@server ~]$ source <project name>

It will ask you for your OpenStack password, which is simply your CCDB password. Test your setup by typing

[name@server ~]$ openstack image list

If you switch between different RC files (e.g. east and Arbutus cloud RC files) you should be careful of environment variables which may still be set from the previous RC file, these may cause your OpenStack client commands to fail. Either ensure that all environment variables set in the RC file are unset with unset <variable-name>, or start a fresh new session without any of the RC environment variables set.

Executing commands[edit]

The CLI tool can be used interactively by typing

[name@server ~]$ openstack

and then issuing commands at the prompt. Alternatively the commands can be issued as one-offs by preceding the command with openstack, for example

[name@server ~]$ openstack server list

When running in interactive mode a list of available commands can be seen by typing help at the OpenStack prompt. The available commands are categorized by groups; many of the most commonly used groups are listed below. A list of commands belonging to a command group can be obtained by typing help <command group>. To get help on a particular command (e.g. options and arguments of the command) one can type help <command group> <command>. Note that many commands are available only to OpenStack administrators and will return an error message if a non-administrator tries using it. For this reason a list of available commands grouped by command groups is provided below to allow one to easily identify commands available to the average user.

Command groups[edit]

server command group[edit]

add security group migrate resume unlock
add volume pause set unpause
create reboot shelve unrescue
delete rebuild show unset
dump create remove security group ssh unshelve
image create remove volume start
list rescue stop
lock resize suspend

volume command group[edit]

create set
delete show
list unset

console command group[edit]

log show url show

flavor command group[edit]

list show

image command group[edit]

create save
delete set
list show

ip command group[edit]

fixed add floating list
fixed remove floating pool list
floating add floating remove
floating create floating show
floating delete

keypair command group[edit]

create list
delete show

network command group[edit]

create set
delete show

snapshot command group[edit]

create set
delete show
list unset

security group command group[edit]

create rule list
delete rule show
list set
rule create show
rule delete

limits command group[edit]


Separate Command-line interfaces[edit]

In addition to the openstack command described above which incorporates much of the total functionality available into one command there are also individual commands to work with the separate components of OpenStack which often have extra functionality. These separate commands are installed at the same time as the openstack command, as described above, so no further installation is required to use them. A list of the commands for working with common components of OpenStack are: