Accessing the Catalyst Cloud

In the previous section, we learned about the various services the Catalyst Cloud offers. Now we’ll learn about the various ways you can interact with these services.

The web dashboard

The cloud dashboard is a simple way to interact with The Catalyst Cloud. It is publicly available on the Internet and can be reached at: https://dashboard.cloud.catalyst.net.nz

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Our web dashboard is a great tool that we recommend you have a look at before progressing. You’ll notice on the left hand side the different tabs for services that are available to you as a user, services like our images, volumes and networking options. These are all explained in detail later, but getting used to the layout of the dashboard can give insight into their functionality too.

For more information on the Dashboard you can view it here

The command line interface

The command line interface (CLI) is a very powerful, efficient way to interact with Catalyst Cloud. To use the CLI you will need to:

  1. Install the OpenStack CLI.

  2. Tell the OpenStack CLI who you are, and which OpenStack cloud you want to connect to. This is typically done by sourcing a configuration file that sets environment variables to configure the CLI.

You can find instructions on how to install and set up the CLI here. After which, you may want to familiarise yourself with its functioning by following this tutorial to use it to deploy a compute instance.

We’re also working on a containerised version of the CLI designed to help you get up and running as quickly and intuitively as possible. You can try it here.

For more in depth documentation, the official OpenStack Client documentation is the most thorough source of information. You can find it here.

Automation tools

To utilise the most valuable aspects of cloud computing, or to manage and orchestrate a cloud computing environment at scale, automation tools are invaluable. Because Catalyst Cloud is based on the world’s most popular open source cloud computing platform, OpenStack, many automation tools work with the Catalyst Cloud, or have plugins to work with the Catalyst Cloud.

Among our preferred automation tools are:

API access

Behind the scenes, all of the access methods to the Catalyst Cloud are just accessing the Catalyst Cloud APIs. They just provide convenient abstractions to do so. Every action you perform on the Catalyst Cloud can be performed via the APIs. This means that you can incorporate custom logic into your applications to modify your infrastructure. This is important for SaaS applications, or applications that otherwise need to scale to meet demand. To make this integration easier, the OpenStack community has developed a range of software development kits (SDKs) for numerous languages. You can find a list here.

As an additional security measure, the Catalyst Cloud APIs only accept requests from whitelisted IP addresses. If you have provided an IP address during sign up, you should be able to reach the APIs from that IP. Otherwise, you can open a support request via the dashboard at any time to request a change to the white-listed IPs.


Whitelisting and access

All compute instances on the Catalyst Cloud have whitelisted IP addresses by default. Because compute instances are whitelisted, you can use them as a “jump box” by creating an instance using the cloud dashboard, SSH-ing into the instance, and installing and configuring the CLI tools there. An explanation of launching an instance using the web dashboard can be found here.

The compute instances you launch on the Catalyst Cloud are created in your private network by default. You have the option to associate a floating IP (public IP) with your compute instances to expose them to the Internet. You can use security groups (similar to firewalls) to define who has access to your compute instances, as explained in Security groups.


Now that you understand how you can access the Catalyst Cloud, there are a few small administrative concerns to be aware of before we dive into a hands on demonstration.

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