In The Vapor

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EucaNUC – Building a Eucalyptus Cloud Lab and More!

As a Eucalyptus Technical Marketing Manager I need to understand all aspects of Eucalyptus and test and compare our competitors products, such as OpenStack, CloudStack and VMware vCloud Director. The requirements of a lab to support all of these different environments can be demanding.

Prior to this posting, what we’ve discussed was virtualizing cloud environments in the lab. Now we will demonstrate a physical lab. These cloud testing environments are used to test installation, configuration and functionality not performance. Trying to replicate a physical environment can be expensive, noisy, hot and take a considerable power.

The goal of this lab write up is to show that with few compromises we can meet and exceed the physical demands, while being cost effective, taking up less space, less power, be cooler and run quieter than my previous lab. This lab is also home office friendly (mine sits on my desk).


The main component is the Intel NUC. This small but very powerful machine is perfect for a cloud testing lab.

Below are two examples of how to build a simple, very effective cloud testing lab.

Basic components:

A Cloud of 12 CORES, 48GB RAM and 384GB Flash Storage for less than $1650

*Note: Amazon pricing as of Aug 5, 2013 – Links below:


Intel NUC Setup – Low Cost

Note: This is a great setup to get started using a home lab. The laptop is the “Control Center” for the lab, gateway to the Internet and any VPN the laptop is connected to. Running Cobbler in a virtual machine is very effective and can be shutdown when not in use.

Note: This can be very portable and used at trade shows and on the road demo’s.

Home Lab - Low Cost

Parts Needed

  • Laptop
    • Whatever OS your laptop has
    • VirtualBox/VMW Workstation/VMW Player/VMW Fusion/KVM etc.
    • VM1 – Cobbler (see below for setup instructions)
    • VM2 – MicroQA
    • VM3 – Windows for VMware Virtual Infrastructure Client (Opt.)
  • 3 Intel NUC
  • 4 port ethernet switch
  • 4 ethernet cables
  • HDMI Monitor
  • HDMI Cable
  • USB Keyboard
  • Power Strip – minimum 6 outlets
    • Laptop
    • 3x Intel NUCs
    • Switch
    • Monitor

Intel NUC Setup – Extreme

Home Lab - Extreme

Parts Needed:

  • Lab Control Center Machine
    • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS x64
    • Cobbler installed (see below for instructions)
    • VMW Workstation
    • VM1 – MicroQA
    • VM2 – Windows for VMware Virtual Infrastructure Client (Opt.)
    • Vagrant – VMware paid provider
  • 3 Intel NUC
  • Shared Storage capable of NFS/iSCSI
  • 8 port ethernet switch
  • 5 ethernet cables
  • HDMI Monitor
  • HDMI switch – 3 ports
  • 4 HDMI Cables
  • USB Keyboard
  • USB Mouse
  • 4 port USB KVM
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) – 8 ports or Power Strip – minimum 8 outlets
    • Lab Control Center Machine
    • Router
    • 3x Intel NUCs
    • Shared Storage
    • Monitor

Using the Intel NUC we can build a small, very powerful, cost effective and quiet cloud computing testing lab. This lab has provided me the ability to install, configure and test various cloud products. It’s quiet and takes up very little room on my desk. This lab has met and exceeded all of my cloud lab needs.

5 Responses to EucaNUC – Building a Eucalyptus Cloud Lab and More!

  1. Fred says:


    How many VMs/AMI instances can you launch with this 3 node setup ?

    • Paul Weiss says:

      Hello Fred,

      The EucaNUC design on the site has 3 Intel NUC’s. If you went with this design, one Intel NUC would be the CLC,Walrus,CC and SC, the other 2 would be NC’s. With any design the amount of instances depends on the core count, memory and disk available on the NC’s plus the configuration of VMTypes.

      With this design, there are 8 cores available across the 2 NC’s. Depending on how VMTypes is configured, that’s how many instances can be running at the same time.

      Another factor is you could overcommit the CPU. Think Amazon AWS EC2 Compute Unit.

      One EC2 Compute Unit provides the equivalent CPU capacity of a 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor. This is also the equivalent to an early-2006 1.7 GHz Xeon processor referenced in our original documentation.

      I hope that helps. You can always add additional NC’S for additional capacity.


  2. Chris Coleman says:


    1. The Intel NUCs have at best an Intel Core i5 processor with 2 cores. Are you counting the number of CPU threads as cores in your setup?

    2. If so wouldn’t they compete heavily for resources or take a massive performance hit (understanding this might not be a major concern in a test environment but I am considering for personal use)?

    • Paul Weiss says:

      Hi Chris,

      I’m counting threads across the 3 NUC’s not that it really matters. Virtual machines are mostly memory bound and not CPU. You normally overcommit CPU and not memory. Look at AWS, they rate instance types with EC2 Compute Units (ECU) which is based on a 2007 spec, so cpu overcommit is a given, but no overcommitting of memory.

      I hope that helps.


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