Stackato: Not Your Ordinary Micro Cloud
by Diane Mueller

Diane Mueller, August 25, 2011

As many of our beta testers happily discovered, the Stackato Micro Cloud VM, which has been available in Beta for a couple of months, is a great way for developers to easily test and deploy on their desktops before rolling out to a staging or production server.

Stackato Micro Cloud is designed to be cloned and clustered!

One of the key benefits of the Stackato Micro Cloud VM is that it can be easily cloned, then assigned to various roles to make a multi-node cluster, such as on vSphere. This functionality is not available with the Micro Cloud Foundry VMs.

Stackato VMs can take one or more of the following roles: Cloud Controller, Router, Droplet Execution Agent, or Data Services for mysql, postgresql, redis, or mongodb. The key is that every component in this system is horizontally scalable and decoupled. You can add as many copies of each component as needed in order to support the load of your application on the cloud.

For example, a typical Stackato cluster deployment might look like this:

  • one controller and router with health monitor VM
  • 10 DEA VMs
  • 1 database service VM


The controller VM should be set up first, as all other components must be able to connect to it. For all but the largest deployments, the router can be run on the same VM as the controller to minimize complexity.

Assigning roles with stackato-admin

Role assignment is done using the stackato-admin utility. The cloning process will vary by hypervisor.

By default, the Stackato VM starts as a micro-cloud.

To make the VM take on a specific role, use the stackato-admin become [role-n] ... command.

For example, to create a controller/router VM:

stackato-admin become controller router -m -e

Since this is the controller VM, the -m flag is set to it’s own IP address (one that other Stackato VMs can route to). Subsequent Stackato cluster VMs (DEAs, data services) will use this same IP address to connect to the controller VM.

The -e flag sets the API endpoint. This must be resolvable by the other Stackato VMs as well as external Stackato clients (e.g. stackato target See the DNS section of the Server Setup documentation for setting up wildcard DNS entries.

Creating an Admin User

When a Stackato Micro Cloud VM is turned into a controller VM, it changes to Restricted Mode. Users can’t add themselves with the stackato client as they can with a micro-cloud , they have to be added by an admin user.

To create an admin user, log in to the controller via SSH or through the VM console (as the stackato user) and run stackato register:

stackato target stackato register superuser [at] example [dot] net ...

Grant administrative privileges with stackato-admin:

stackato-admin admin grant superuser [at] example [dot] net

Subsequent new users can be added either remotely with the stackato client by an admin user or directly on the controller machine as above.

vSphere Cloning

In addition, if you are deploying on the VMware Cloud Infrastructure, vSphere has additional tools to help with the cloning of virtual machines. Instead of manually configuring the hostname for each Stackato VM, you can create a Customization Specification.

Get Started now

Get started today by signing up to the Beta and downloading your own Stackato Micro Cloud. The Stackato Micro Cloud VM can be run on VMware Player, VMware Fusion or VirtualBox.

For multi-server implementations, we recommend using vSphere.

The Stackato client will run on Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. If you have ActivePython or ActivePerl installed, you can install it with pypm or ppm. If not, you can download a stand-alone executable. There's no Ruby dependency as there is with vmc (from Cloud Foundry).

You will find all the sample applications and techncial guides on our Stackato community site as soon as you login. We look forward to your feedback!

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Category: stackato
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Diane Mueller is a Cloud Evangelist at ActiveState. She has been designing & implementing financial applications at Fortune 500 corporations for over 20 years. Diane has been actively involved in development efforts of XBRL Open Standard ( since 1999.


1 comments for Stackato: Not Your Ordinary Micro Cloud

Hi Diane,

Does Stackato deployment work on vSphere 5.0? I ask because in your "vSphere Cloning" section the "Customization Specification" link points to vSphere 4.1 documentation.

If so, does this recipe work for vSphere 5.0. Since I already have a copy of vSphere 5.0 and pretty comfortable with it, I have a strong preference for sticking with it for my Stackato work until there is support for an open source hypervisor.