spice console in openstack

Documentation for many openstack features exists only in the form of source code. This is a result of everything still being under heavy development. My most recent experience in divining configuration details from python source was related to the use of spice as the console protocol.

I’m told that Redhat is shipping spice enabled by default. Ubuntu still ships with vnc. Converting from vnc to spice should be easy – and it is if you know what nova is looking for. I couldn’t find any practical references in the official documentation nor in any of the various support forums.

Initially, after disabling vnc (‘vnc_enabled=False’ – this is mandatory) and adding the spice configuration options, I was getting libvirt xml files that did not containg any graphics or video stanzas. It turns out that, unlike vnc, spice needs its own tag. Here’s what needs to be appended to nova.conf to bring spice to life:

Controller Node
html5proxy_base_url=http://{nova-spiceproxy public IP}:6082/spice_auto.html

Compute Nodes
html5proxy_base_url=http://{nova-spiceproxy public IP}:6082/spice_auto.html
server_listen={private IP of compute node or}
server_proxyclient_address={private IP of compute node}

Other notes:
– Be sure to comment out or remove all vnc-related options ~except~ vnc_enabled=False.
– The previous example assumes port 6082 for nova-spiceproxy.
– Ensure that the vncproxy has been disabled and that the spiceproxy is running on this port (or adjust the url’s above accordingly).
– In order to get secure (encrypted) console sessions, you’ll need to enable tls w/ spice.

Slipstream virtio drivers into Windows Server 2012 install ISO


Windows administration is not my strong suit but occasionally I find myself having to coax MS products into action. I was surprised when I couldn’t find any specific guidance for slipstreaming virtio since…you know…openstack. Anyway, the following process was undertaken on a Win 2012 server (64-bit) with the resulting image also being Win 2012. Since this version of Windows appears to be little more than Windows 8 without the magnificently atrocious Metro interface, it should work on there as well…that is if you can keep random crap from popping up and stealing focus while you’re trying to work. Good luck on that.


You’ll need:

– Windows 2012 Server install ISO
– The latest signed virtio drivers for windows from RedHat. As of the time of writing, these are contained within virtio-win-0.1-59.iso
ImgBurn or any other tool capable of manipulting ISO images. That we’re in the year CE 2013 and this functionality is not included out of the box on every version of windows is nothing short of criminal. You’re free to open the iso’s in linux and grab what you need as well.
– That’s pretty much it. Everything else, amazingly, is included with a standard windows installation.


  1. I’ve found relative paths to be a bit of a foreign concept in windows-land (%WINDIR% being the-difficult-to-type exception)  so, for ease of explanation, I’ve created the following:

    Go ahead and put the windows and virtio iso images in c:\iso.
  2. Using ImgBurn or the tool of your choice, extract the contents of the windows install iso to c:\iso\ms-iso.
  3. Extract the contents of the virtio iso into c:\iso\virtio-iso. Alternatively, you could just mount the iso and reference the appropriate path when you reach step  #5. I’m just trying to keep this walk-through simple and tidy.
  4. Next, we’ll use dism to mount the wim image. From an elevated command prompt:
  5. dism /mount-image /imagefile:c:\iso\ms-iso\sources\install.wim /index:1 /mountdir:c:\iso\ms-mount
  6. Time to insert the drivers. Note that due to linux’s own historical baggage, the driver directory is named AMD64. In spite of the name, the drivers are perfectly compatible with all 64-bit x86-derivative platforms.
  7. dism /image:c:\iso\ms-mount /add-driver /driver:c:\iso\virtio-iso\WIN8\AMD64 /recurse

    I find myself recursing quite a bit when interacting with dos’ archaic shell but, alas, we’re almost through. Don’t even get me started on the wildly verbose and pseudo-random command syntax of powershell. 

  8. If all went well, 5 of 5 drivers will have successfully ‘installed’. Now we seal the deal:
  9. dism /unmount-wim /mountdir:c:\iso\ms-mount /commit
  10. Now we have to run through the same process but this time we’re updating boot.wimso that we can see the virtual drive during the install process.
  11. dism /mount-image /imagefile:c:\iso\ms-iso\sources\boot.wim /index:1 /mountdir:c:\iso\ms-mount
    dism /image:c:\iso\ms-mount /add-driver /driver:c:\iso\virtio-iso\WIN8\AMD64 /recurse
    dism /unmount-wim /mountdir:c:\iso\ms-mount /commit
  12. Now all that’s left is to glue the iso back together. In ImgBurn this accomplished by:
    1. Mode -> Build
    2. In the ‘Source’ section, click the ‘Browse for a folder’ icon. Select c:\iso\ms-iso.
    3. In the ‘Destination’ section, click the ‘Browse for a file’ icon. Give your iso a name and put it where you’d like.
    4. Under the Options tab on the right, set ‘File System’  to ‘UDF’ and ensure that ‘Recurse Subdirectories’ is checked.
    5. Under the Labels tab, set an appropriate label (eg., ‘win2012-virtio’) in the UDF field.
    6. Under the Advanced -> Bootable Disc tab:
      1.  Check the ‘Make Image Bootable’ checkbox
      2. Emulation Type: None (Custom)
      3. Boot Image: c:\iso\ms-iso\boot\etfsboot.com
      4. Platform ID: 80×86
      5. Developer ID: Microsoft Corporation
      6. Load Segment: 07C0
      7. Sectors to Load: 8 (for Vista and earlier, this would be 4)
      8. Patch Information Table: Unchecked
    7. Finally, click the ‘Build Image’ button on the bottom left.

All done. I’ve noticed that ImgBurn seems to be under regular development so the UI may present additional features beyond those listed here. If so, use your best judgement or google (preferred).