openstack man page

openstack — OpenStack Command Line Client

OpenStack Command Line


openstack [<global-options>] <command> [<command-arguments>]

openstack help <command>

openstack --help


openstack provides a common command-line interface to OpenStack APIs. It is generally equivalent to the CLIs provided by the OpenStack project client libraries, but with a distinct and consistent command structure.

Authentication Methods

openstack uses a similar authentication scheme as the OpenStack project CLIs, with the credential information supplied either as environment variables or as options on the command line. The primary difference is the use of 'project' in the name of the options OS_PROJECT_NAME/OS_PROJECT_ID over the old tenant-based names.

export OS_AUTH_URL=<url-to-openstack-identity>
export OS_PROJECT_NAME=<project-name>
export OS_USERNAME=<user-name>
export OS_PASSWORD=<password>  # (optional)

openstack can use different types of authentication plugins provided by the keystoneclient library. The following default plugins are available:

token: Authentication with a token
password: Authentication with a username and a password

Refer to the keystoneclient library documentation for more details about these plugins and their options, and for a complete list of available plugins. Please bear in mind that some plugins might not support all of the functionalities of openstack; for example the v3unscopedsaml plugin can deliver only unscoped tokens, some commands might not be available through this authentication method.

Additionally, it is possible to use Keystone's service token to authenticate, by setting the options --os-token and --os-url (or the environment variables OS_TOKEN and OS_URL respectively). This method takes precedence over authentication plugins.


To use the v3unscopedsaml method, the lxml package will need to be installed.


openstack takes global options that control overall behaviour and command-specific options that control the command operation. Most global options have a corresponding environment variable that may also be used to set the value. If both are present, the command-line option takes priority. The environment variable names are derived from the option name by dropping the leading dashes ('--'), converting each embedded dash ('-') to an underscore ('_'), and converting to upper case.

openstack recognizes the following global options:

--os-cloud <cloud-name>
openstack will look for a clouds.yaml file that contains a cloud configuration to use for authentication. See Cloud Configuration below for more information.
--os-auth-type <auth-type>
The authentication plugin type to use when connecting to the Identity service. If this option is not set, openstack will attempt to guess the authentication method to use based on the other options. If this option is set, its version must match --os-identity-api-version
--os-auth-url <auth-url>
Authentication URL
--os-url <service-url>
Service URL, when using a service token for authentication
--os-domain-name <auth-domain-name> | --os-domain-id <auth-domain-id>
Domain-level authorization scope (name or ID)
--os-project-name <auth-project-name> | --os-project-id <auth-project-id>
Project-level authentication scope (name or ID)
--os-project-domain-name <auth-project-domain-name> | --os-project-domain-id <auth-project-domain-id>
Domain name or ID containing project
--os-username <auth-username>
Authentication username
--os-password <auth-password>
Authentication password
--os-token <token>
Authenticated token or service token
--os-user-domain-name <auth-user-domain-name> | --os-user-domain-id <auth-user-domain-id>
Domain name or ID containing user
--os-trust-id <trust-id>
ID of the trust to use as a trustee user
--os-default-domain <auth-domain>
Default domain ID (Default: 'default')
--os-region-name <auth-region-name>
Authentication region name
--os-cacert <ca-bundle-file>
CA certificate bundle file
--verify | --insecure
Verify or ignore server certificate (default: verify)
--os-cert <certificate-file>
Client certificate bundle file
--os-key <key-file>
Client certificate key file
--os-identity-api-version <identity-api-version>
Identity API version (Default: 2.0)
--os-XXXX-api-version <XXXX-api-version>
Additional API version options will be available depending on the installed API libraries.
--os-interface <interface>
Interface type. Valid options are public, admin and internal.
--os-profile <hmac-key>
Performance profiling HMAC key for encrypting context data

This key should be the value of one of the HMAC keys defined in the configuration files of OpenStack services to be traced.
Enable beta commands which are subject to change
--log-file <LOGFILE>
Specify a file to log output. Disabled by default.
-v, --verbose
Increase verbosity of output. Can be repeated.
-q, --quiet
Suppress output except warnings and errors
Show tracebacks on errors and set verbosity to debug


To get a list of the available commands:

openstack --help

To get a description of a specific command:

openstack help <command>

Note that the set of commands shown will vary depending on the API versions that are in effect at that time. For example, to force the display of the Identity v3 commands:

openstack --os-identity-api-version 3 --help

Print the bash completion functions for the current command set.
Print help for an individual command

Additional information on the OpenStackClient command structure and arguments is available in the OpenStackClient Commands wiki page.

Command Objects

The list of command objects is growing longer with the addition of OpenStack project support. The object names may consist of multiple words to compose a unique name. Occasionally when multiple APIs have a common name with common overlapping purposes there will be options to select which object to use, or the API resources will be merged, as in the quota object that has options referring to both Compute and Block Storage quotas.

Command Actions

The actions used by OpenStackClient are defined with specific meaning to provide a consistent behavior for each object. Some actions have logical opposite actions, and those pairs will always match for any object that uses them.

Cloud Configuration

Working with multiple clouds can be simplified by keeping the configuration information for those clouds in a local file. openstack supports using a clouds.yaml configuration file.

Config Files

openstack will look for a file called clouds.yaml in the following locations:

Current Directory

The first file found wins.

The keys match the openstack global options but without the --os- prefix:

      project_name: demo
      username: demo
      password: 0penstack
    region_name: RegionOne
      project_name: admin
      username: admin
      password: 0penstack
    region_name: RegionOne
    cloud: rackspace
      project_id: 275610
      username: openstack
      password: xyzpdq!lazydog
    region_name: DFW,ORD,IAD

In the above example, the auth_url for the rackspace cloud is taken from clouds-public.yaml:

      auth_url: 'https://identity.api.rackspacecloud.com/v2.0/'

Authentication Settings

OpenStackClient uses the Keystone authentication plugins so the required auth settings are not always known until the authentication type is selected. openstack will attempt to detect a couple of common auth types based on the arguments passed in or found in the configuration file, but if those are incomplete it may be impossible to know which auth type is intended. The --os-auth-type option can always be used to force a specific type.

When --os-token and --os-url are both present the token_endpoint auth type is selected automatically. If --os-auth-url and --os-username are present password auth type is selected.

Logging Settings

openstack can record the operation history by logging settings in configuration file. Recording the user operation, it can identify the change of the resource and it becomes useful information for troubleshooting.

See ../configuration about Logging Settings for more details.


The command list displayed in help output reflects the API versions selected. For example, to see Identity v3 commands OS_IDENTITY_API_VERSION must be set to 3.


Show the detailed information for server appweb01:

openstack \
    --os-project-name ExampleCo \
    --os-username demo --os-password secrete \
    --os-auth-url http://localhost:5000:/v2.0 \
    server show appweb01

The same command if the auth environment variables (OS_AUTH_URL, OS_PROJECT_NAME, OS_USERNAME, OS_PASSWORD) are set:

openstack server show appweb01

Create a new image:

openstack image create \
    --disk-format=qcow2 \
    --container-format=bare \
    --public \
    --copy-from http://somewhere.net/foo.img \


Configuration file used by the --os-cloud global option.
Configuration file containing public cloud provider information such as authentication URLs and service definitions. The contents of this file should be public and sharable. clouds.yaml may contain references to clouds defined here as shortcuts.
Placeholder for future local state directory. This directory is intended to be shared among multiple OpenStack-related applications; contents are namespaced with an identifier for the app that owns it. Shared contents (such as ~/.openstack/cache) have no prefix and the contents must be portable.

Environment Variables

The following environment variables can be set to alter the behaviour of openstack. Most of them have corresponding command-line options that take precedence if set.

The name of a cloud configuration in clouds.yaml.
The authentication plugin to use when connecting to the Identity service, its version must match the Identity API version
Authentication URL
Service URL (when using the service token)
Domain-level authorization scope (name or ID)
Project-level authentication scope (name or ID)
Domain name or ID containing project
Authentication username
Authenticated or service token
Authentication password
Domain name or ID containing user
ID of the trust to use as a trustee user
Default domain ID (Default: 'default')
Authentication region name
CA certificate bundle file
Client certificate bundle file
Client certificate key file
Identity API version (Default: 2.0)
Additional API version options will be available depending on the installed API libraries.
Interface type. Valid options are public, admin and internal.


Bug reports are accepted at the python-openstackclient LaunchPad project "https://bugs.launchpad.net/python-opens…".


Please refer to the Authors file distributed with OpenStackClient.



See Also

The OpenStackClient page in the OpenStack Wiki contains further documentation.

The individual OpenStack project CLIs, the OpenStack API references.


OpenStack contributors


OpenStack Command Line Client 3.2.0 Sep 13, 2016