Getting Started With Rackspace

Rackspace is a major public cloud platform which may be configured using either the rackspace or the openstack driver, depending on your needs.

Please note that the rackspace driver is intended only for 1st gen instances, aka, "the old cloud" at Rackspace. It is required for 1st gen instances, but will not work with OpenStack-based instances. Unless you explicitly have a reason to use it, it is highly recommended that you use the openstack driver instead.


  • Libcloud >= 0.13.2


To use the openstack driver (recommended), set up the cloud configuration at
/etc/salt/cloud.providers or /etc/salt/cloud.providers.d/rackspace.conf:
  # Set the location of the salt-master

  # Configure Rackspace using the OpenStack plugin
  identity_url: ''
  compute_name: cloudServersOpenStack
  protocol: ipv4

  # Set the compute region:
  compute_region: DFW

  # Configure Rackspace authentication credentials
  user: myname
  tenant: 123456
  apikey: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  driver: openstack
To use the rackspace driver, set up the cloud configuration at
/etc/salt/cloud.providers or /etc/salt/cloud.providers.d/rackspace.conf:
  driver: rackspace
  # The Rackspace login user
  user: fred
  # The Rackspace user's apikey
  apikey: 901d3f579h23c8v73q9

The settings that follow are for using Rackspace with the openstack driver, and will not work with the rackspace driver.


Changed in version 2015.8.0.

The provider parameter in cloud provider definitions was renamed to driver. This change was made to avoid confusion with the provider parameter that is used in cloud profile definitions. Cloud provider definitions now use driver to refer to the Salt cloud module that provides the underlying functionality to connect to a cloud host, while cloud profiles continue to use provider to refer to provider configurations that you define.

Compute Region

Rackspace currently has six compute regions which may be used:

DFW -> Dallas/Forth Worth
ORD -> Chicago
SYD -> Sydney
LON -> London
IAD -> Northern Virginia
HKG -> Hong Kong

Note: Currently the LON region is only available with a UK account, and UK accounts cannot access other regions


The user is the same user as is used to log into the Rackspace Control Panel. The tenant and apikey can be found in the API Keys area of the Control Panel. The apikey will be labeled as API Key (and may need to be generated), and tenant will be labeled as Cloud Account Number.

An initial profile can be configured in /etc/salt/cloud.profiles or /etc/salt/cloud.profiles.d/rackspace.conf:

    provider: my-rackspace-config
    size: 512 MB Standard
    image: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)

To instantiate a machine based on this profile:

# salt-cloud -p openstack_512 myinstance

This will create a virtual machine at Rackspace with the name myinstance. This operation may take several minutes to complete, depending on the current load at the Rackspace data center.

Once the instance has been created with salt-minion installed, connectivity to it can be verified with Salt:

# salt myinstance

RackConnect Environments

Rackspace offers a hybrid hosting configuration option called RackConnect that allows you to use a physical firewall appliance with your cloud servers. When this service is in use the public_ip assigned by nova will be replaced by a NAT ip on the firewall. For salt-cloud to work properly it must use the newly assigned "access ip" instead of the Nova assigned public ip. You can enable that capability by adding this to your profiles:

    provider: my-openstack-config
    size: 512 MB Standard
    image: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)
    rackconnect: True

Managed Cloud Environments

Rackspace offers a managed service level of hosting. As part of the managed service level you have the ability to choose from base of lamp installations on cloud server images. The post build process for both the base and the lamp installations used Chef to install things such as the cloud monitoring agent and the cloud backup agent. It also takes care of installing the lamp stack if selected. In order to prevent the post installation process from stomping over the bootstrapping you can add the below to your profiles.

    provider: my-rackspace-config
    size: 512 MB Standard
    image: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)
    managedcloud: True

First and Next Generation Images

Rackspace provides two sets of virtual machine images, first, and next generation. As of 0.8.9 salt-cloud will default to using the next generation images. To force the use of first generation images, on the profile configuration please add:

  provider: my-rackspace-config
  size: 512 MB Standard
  image: FreeBSD 9.0
  force_first_gen: True

Private Subnets

By default salt-cloud will not add Rackspace private networks to new servers. To enable a private network to a server instantiated by salt cloud, add the following section to the provider file (typically /etc/salt/cloud.providers.d/rackspace.conf)

  - fixed:
    # This is the private network
    - private-network-id
    # This is Rackspace's "PublicNet"
    - 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000
    # This is Rackspace's "ServiceNet"
    - 11111111-1111-1111-1111-111111111111

To get the Rackspace private network ID, go to Networking, Networks and hover over the private network name.

The order of the networks in the above code block does not map to the order of the ethernet devices on newly created servers. Public IP will always be first ( eth0 ) followed by servicenet ( eth1 ) and then private networks.

Enabling the private network per above gives the option of using the private subnet for all master-minion communication, including the bootstrap install of salt-minion. To enable the minion to use the private subnet, update the master: line in the minion: section of the providers file. To configure the master to only listen on the private subnet IP, update the interface: line in the /etc/salt/master file to be the private subnet IP of the salt master.