Install a Stackato Micro Cloud in One Command
by Ingy döt Net

Ingy döt Net, March 23, 2012
curl | bash

That's it. One small command line. Less than 40 characters. Half a line, if you will. :)

If you want to install, configure and start up the newly released Stackato 1.0 PaaS offering, on your own laptop, for free... just run the command above in a terminal. If you still have a few questions like:

  • What's Stackato?
  • Who is ActiveState?
  • What is PaaS?
  • Why do I care?

then Read On™!

If you are a Modern Developer™, writing apps that run on Ruby, PHP, Python, Perl, Node or Java, then you are probably aware of the new crop of companies/products that are offering to do all the grunt work of deploying those apps for you. It's called "Platform as a Service" (PaaS), it's the future, ActiveState is one such company and Stackato is its offering.

Stackato has one major difference. Most of these offerings host your app where they want to. Some of the them allow you to choose from a group of hosting providers. Very few let you own the whole thing and host it wherever you desire: on Amazon, Rackspace, Linode, behind your corporate firewall on on your laptop. Stackato does this. Stackato gives you everything. Full access to a fully stacked Unix app platorm. Some purely open source offerings do too, but Stackato is quite advanced, Enterprise-ready, and it still lets you take it home with you.

Enough marketing. This article is about getting a free copy of Stackato on your laptop with one tiny command! While Stackato is not open, it is built over all the best open resources you would use if you DIY, and it is offered for free to use under the Stackato Micro Cloud License. This means that when run in single node configuration (for non-commercial or internal-commercial use) there is no cost. You see, Stackato can be configured into a giant AMI cluster if you need that, but the Micro Cloud version is the exact same VM.

Which reminds me... Stackato is a Virtual Machine (VM). That's what it is. You start it up on the hypervisor of your choice, like the free VirtualBox or VMPlayer. When it starts up it gives you a local url that you can use to:

  • Monitor the VM - Stop/Start things and see pretty graphs
  • Create new users - This is a multitenant system (even in the Micro Cloud)
  • Install new apps - Stackato has an App Store built in, to get you started
  • Read the docs - Expansive documentation is included in each VM
  • Download the client - You can do everything from the command line too

So what about that command:

curl | bash

First off you need a Mac or Debian Linux system to run this command. Stackato will run perfectly fine on Windows too, it's just not supported by this friendly Unix command. So what's this command actually doing? Very simple. It's downloading a bash script and running it. The script is just an automation of a few simple things that you can do yourself... but why bother??!!

Here's what the script will do for you:

  • Download and Install VirtualBox (if not already installed)
  • Download the Stackato VM zip file (if not already downloaded)
  • Unzip the Stackato VM (if not already unzipped)
  • Import the Stackato VM image into VirtualBox
  • Configure the VM to use bridged networking on you active network device
  • Set the VM to use an appropriate amount of RAM on your system
  • Start the newly installed/configured VM
  • Print a message of what to do next, and where to find more doc

The script uses VirtualBox instead of VMPlayer, because the former has an expansive command line interface, which is perfect for a script like this. One thing to be aware of is that the Stackato VM is just over 1GB in size, so try this on a good network. You might also want to try to use ActiveState's Bittorrent links. No matter where you get the Stackato zip file from, if you put it in your current directory, then the script will use that file, rather than downloading it. Likewise, if VirtualBox is already installed, it will skip that part too. Finally, this script will need sudo to install VirtualBox, so it will prompt you for your password. Please read the script over before running it, if you have concerns. It's pretty simple and documented.

So there you have it. You can enter the Brave New World™ of PaaS with one simple command. I look forward to your thoughts on all of this. Please drop me a line.

Subscribe to ActiveState Blogs by Email

Share this post:

Category: stackato
About the Author: RSS

Ingy is a hacker who started programming in Assembler on punchcards, switched over to Perl and has since become enlightened to the goodness of all the OSDC languages (Perl, Python, Ruby, JavsScript) and the people who hack, support and evangelize them. He is one of the creators of YAML, a major CPAN contributor, the father of Acmeism and is drinking a double Americano as you read this. Ingy is a citizen of the Earth who sometimes relaxes in Seattle but more often is headed to a computer conference near you. He loves to make things DRY.


4 comments for Install a Stackato Micro Cloud in One Command

Sweet! Thanks for the run-down, Ingy.


This may be a silly question, but how much disk space is required?


I had a very old (2009?) copy of VBoxManage on my Mac which caused the script to crash. Maybe the script ought to check for a minimum version of VBoxManage.

I manually installed the version of VirtualBox mentioned in the script and reran the script and it's all working nicely.

Many thanks for this.