Tag Archives: cloud

Linux container LXC on Amazon EC2 server (Cloud inside Cloud)

Amazon AWS announced supporting pvgrub kernel a week ago. So it is possible to run your own kernel with new features like btrfs, cgroup, namespace, high resolution timers. Just be aware the AWS still use a very ancient xen version, so you will need to patch stock kernel to be bootable.

Here is a step by step guide on how to setup a linux container on top of EC2. Since EC2 itself is virtual environment, it is almost impossible to run other vm technology on top of it. You can read these general guide [1] [2] on how to setup a linux container.

Step 1: Host VM

In order to run lxc, the host will need to support cgroup and namespace. Ubuntu 10.4 lucid or newer includes them. I also made two public archlinux AMIs which support all these features, you can find them here.
Mount up /cgroup,

mkdir /cgroup
mount -t cgroup none /cgroup

In order for network to work you will need these two packages: iptables and bridge-utils. Ubuntu has lxc package, but on archlinux you will need to build it from aur.

Bring up the virtual network interface, you only need one here for all your lxc.

brctl addbr br0
ifconfig br0 up

Of course, you can pick other network address. You should skip the step mentioned in other guide to add your physical network such as “brctl addif br0 eth0”, because amazon will not route your private packet.

Step 2: Filesystem

Lxc installation should already include templates for some popular linux distribution. You can read the guide I mentioned above. For archlinux you can use my chroot script and patch.
I am not sure how to manually setup network for other distribution. You can also setup a dhcpd on host for the container.
On archlinux you can disable the eth0 setup but enable the default route like this in rc.conf,

gateway="default gw"

Here I assume your new root filesystem inside /mnt/mini. You LXC config file should look like this

lxc.utsname = mini
lxc.network.type = veth
lxc.network.flags = up
lxc.network.link = br0
lxc.network.name = eth0
lxc.network.ipv4 =
lxc.mount.entry = none /mnt/mini/dev/pts devpts newinstance 0 0
lxc.mount.entry = none /mnt/mini/proc    proc   defaults 0 0
lxc.mount.entry = none /mnt/mini/sys     sysfs  defaults 0 0
lxc.mount.entry = none /mnt/mini/dev/shm tmpfs  defaults 0 0
lxc.rootfs = /mnt/mini
lxc.tty = 3
lxc.pts = 1024

Step 3: Container network

For network inside container to work, you still need to do two more things.

cp /etc/resolve.conf /mnt/mini/etc
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1

Now you can start your container.

lxc-create -f /mnt/config -n mini
lxc-start -n mini

If there is no error during container boot, you can proceed to enter your container.

lxc-console -n mini

Login as root with no password.

ping www.google.com

If you are lucky, you should see ping go through. It may take a second to discover the new route inside container.

Step 3: Run service inside container

The main reason for most people to setup a container inside an EC2 is probably for jailing network daemons. But your container only have non reachable private address, so do it home router style using port forwarding with iptables.
For example, start your httpd daemon inside container as usual, then run this on host

iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i eth0 -p tcp 
   --dport 80 -j DNAT --to-destination

Now you should be able to reach your container from public ip.

Archlinux EC2 Public AMI

I made 2 public Archlinux EC2 AMI.

Important Notes:

  • Most instructions on this page are outdated. All necessary packages have been included inside latest AMI
  • If you want to build your own AMI, I released this build script on gitub and aur packages.

Update 2011/1/25

Update kernel to 2.6.37 and fix account creation.

Update 2010/8/30

Change static ip to kernel dhcp and remove initrd

Update 2010/8/28

The network configure will be saved when image first time booted. If you want to revert to dhcp in case you need to rebuild or stop. You should run this

sudo /etc/rc.d/ec2 stop

I also changed default cflags, so if you want to recompile packages, you can use srcpac. For example

sudo abs extra/python
sudo srcpac -Sb python

Update 2010/8/21

Add a user arch with the same ssh key as root.
The hostname is now static, if you want to rebundle, make sure change HOSTNAME in rc.conf to myhost and remove last line of /etc/hosts.
Here is the new build script.

Update 2010/7/23:

Updated to BTRFS as root.

Update 2010/7/20:

Updated to pvgrub and EBS.
Here is the updated script to generate an EC2 EBS.
I also made an aur package for kernel26 with patch from gentoo and opensuse.
There is a simple patch for mainline kernel from amazon.

i386 ami-5ae11133
x86_64 ami-84e111ed

10/21/2009: Updated all packages and use ubuntu kernels. Here is the new AMI making script. Those kernels will load some unnecessary modules, you will need to unload them manually. I will update again if I can found more stable kernel.

They are very basic installation with just ssh. If you need tools like ec2-ami-tools or ec2-api-tools, you can find my aur packages here. Or you can add my private repo to your pacman.conf.

Server = http://static.iphash.net/public/i686/


Server = http://static.iphash.net/public/x86_64/


pacman -Sy ec2-ami-tools ec2-api-tools

If you want to roll your own image. Here (outdated – see beginning of this post) is the script I used to make these AMIs.

If you wish to set hostname and domainname you can pass following script as instance user-data.

MYHOST=yourhost    #set your real hostname here
MYDOMAIN=yourdomain  #set your domainname here

sed -i s/myhost/$MYHOST/ /etc/rc.conf
hostname $MYHOST

echo "NISDOMAINNAME="$MYDOMAIN"" >/etc/conf.d/nisdomainname
nisdomainname $MYDOMAIN

/etc/rc.d/syslog-ng restart

x=$(curl -s
if [ $(echo $x|grep 404|wc -l) -eq 0 ]; then
cat </etc/hosts
#               localhost.localdomain   localhost
# End of file
cp /etc/skel/.bash* /root/

Deploy Archlinux Chroot onto VPS

Update 7/20/2010: I updated this script to be more Lxc friendly. And I also made small patch to modify inittab rc.sysinit rc.shutdown for lxc. If you are not use using dhcpd, you will still need to modify /etc/rc.conf to setup default route.

Download the new script here, and Lxc patch.

Most VPS providers do not have archlinux image or allow changing root device like Linode does. Even though I am comfortable dealing with debian or ubuntu, but tiny difference between them are still annoying over the time. So I decide to install a mini chroot enviroment onto all of them to normalize linux enviroment.

If you want to use a ubuntu or debian chroot, you probably should read DebootstrapChroot. My method here only applys to Archlinux.

These scripts are only for Linux newbies like myself, who are lazy to type all that many commands every time. If you are a Linux guru or sysadmin, you may find this method trivial, insecure or laughable.

Prepare your local system

I assume you already have at least one working Archlinux system installed. First you need to install some necessary tools. If you do not have an archlinux installed, you may skip to last section of post and test the one I built.

pacman -Sy devtools lzma cpio

Devtools includes mkarchroot which is a script bootstrip a mini root similar to debootstrap. If you just run “mkarchroot miniroot base”, it can make you a working mini archlinux. But the default installation is huge about 500MB. You probably do not want all of them inside a VPS enviroment.

Lzma, Cpio are my choice of packaging, you can also use zip, tar, gzip or bzip2, and modify other parts of my script accordingly.

Make a working chroot

The first script is to make a compact mini root and compress it to a single file.
You can either download (outdated) or copy/paste following lines to a file name miniarch

# 2009 Copyright Yejun Yang (yejunx AT gmail DOT com)
# Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
# http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

PACKS="sed gawk coreutils filesystem texinfo grep pacman 
       module-init-tools wget curl net-tools procps nano tar cpio zip 
       gzip bzip2 lzma psmisc initscripts iputils dnsutils iproute2 
       less dash which"

if [[ $1 == i686 ]]; then


cat < pacman.conf
HoldPkg     = pacman glibc
SyncFirst   = pacman

Server = ftp://mirror.cs.vt.edu/pub/ArchLinux/$repo/os/$ARCH
Server = http://archlinux.mirrors.uk2.net/$repo/os/$ARCH
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
Server = ftp://mirror.cs.vt.edu/pub/ArchLinux/$repo/os/$ARCH
Server = http://archlinux.mirrors.uk2.net/$repo/os/$ARCH
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
Server = ftp://mirror.cs.vt.edu/pub/ArchLinux/$repo/os/$ARCH
Server = http://archlinux.mirrors.uk2.net/$repo/os/$ARCH
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

mkarchroot -C pacman.conf $ROOT $PACKS

chmod 666 $ROOT/dev/null
mknod -m 666 $ROOT/dev/random c 1 8
mknod -m 666 $ROOT/dev/urandom c 1 9
mknod -m 600 $ROOT/dev/console c 5 1
mkdir -m 755 $ROOT/dev/pts
mkdir -m 1777 $ROOT/dev/shm

echo nameserver > $ROOT/etc/resolv.conf
echo nameserver >> $ROOT/etc/resolv.conf

find $ROOT -depth -print | cpio -ov | lzma -5 > $ROOT.cpio.lzma

Modify PACKS= to packages you want to be installed.

You should also modify the Server= to whichever fast for you. I used rankmirrors to find out the fastest server.

Run this script



./miniarch i686

or both.
It will make a minimal working chroot for Archlinux under currect directory and pack them into a single file mini_x86_64.cpio.lzma or mini_i686.cpio.lzma. These two file should be around 40MB if everything worked correctly.

Copy these .lzma file to your webserver root. Now you can safely delete the working directory

Deploy to VPS

You can download the files you just made to your vps and unpack them. But I made simple script to do that.

You can download or copy/paste following line to a file name deploy

# 2009 Copyright Yejun Yang (yejunx AT gmail DOT com)
# Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
# http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

ARCH=$(uname -m)

if [[ $ARCH != x86_64 ]]; then


if [ -e /var/chroot/mini_${ARCH} ]; then
  echo "**** /var/chroot/mini_${ARCH} already exists. "
  echo "**** You have to remove previous deployment."
  exit 1

mkdir -p /var/chroot
cd /var/chroot
echo "Start downloading ${URL}mini_${ARCH}.cpio.lzma , be patient ..."
wget -q -O - ${URL}mini_${ARCH}.cpio.lzma | lzma -d | cpio -idv

deploy_success () {
cat <

Change URL= to your own webserver.

Before you running this script on your target machine. Make sure lzma, wget and cpio are installed. If you are using ubuntu, you can run

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install lzma wget cpio

Running this script will deploy a mini chrootable archlinux in to /var/chroot/mini_i686 or /var/chroot/mini_x86_64. The unpacked size will be around 200MB.

To simplify this process, you can copy this file to webserver as well.

wget -q -O - http://yourwebsite/deploy |sudo bash


For lazy people or testing only

If you are so lazy to make your own archlinux mini root or you don't have a working archlinux, you may test my prebuilt mini root by running following line, you will still need lzma, cpio and wget on your target machine.

wget -q -O - http://bit.ly/iZzq |sudo bash


I DO NOT guarantee the correctness of these script and my prebuilt chroot. Be caution running any command with sudo. You may not hold me responsible for anything happened to your system.

April 5, 2009: changed /bin/sh to /bin/bash

Cloud files uploading script

This is a very simple linux bash script to help uploading files to mosso cloud files.

Mosso uploading script: Mosso.sh
Updates: Here is a Mac OSX Version (provided by Bryan Rehbein)

You will also need curl .

After you sign up mosso cloud files service, first you need to login your mosso cloud files control panel then navigate to Your Account / API Access, where you will generate your API key. Edit the begin of mosso.sh


Now change to the directory where you want to upload files. e.g. a wordpress installation:

cd /srv/http/wordpress
bash mosso.sh wp-includes/js/jquery
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.table-hotkeys.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/interface.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/ui.core.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.color.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/ui.tabs.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/ui.resizable.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.hotkeys.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/ui.sortable.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/ui.dialog.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/ui.draggable.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.form.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/suggest.js .... done.
Uploading wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.schedule.js .... done.
HTTP/1.1 202 Accepted
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 2009 00:06:41 GMT
Server: Apache
X-CDN-URI: http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c12345
Content-Length: 0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

Write down the url on the line begn with X-CDN-URI. This is your mosso CDN url. You can also find this url inside your mosso control panel.

If you want to upload entire current directory, you can execute this script without argument.

A lot Cloud buzz today

I have used ubuntu 8.1 ec2 release for a while. I am actually very impressed by the beta version ubuntu cloud. It is a very lean version of ubuntu server. The default configuration run very fast with minimal number of services comparing to CentOS or Redhat. It is fast.

Meanwhile stock market indexes fall to 1997 levels, and Nasdaq took the lead.