The Command Line Interface


The Command Line Interface (CLI) provides a way to interact with Chameleon resources using shell and scripting tools. Chameleon uses the OpenStack Client to provide CLI functionality. This documentation section provides an overview on how to install the client and configure your shell environment to access Chameleon features.


Some of the Chameleon features are only accessable via the CLI, such as the Gnocchi metrics and the advanced networking features.


Chameleon Cloud is primarily designed to support Unix-like environments. Threfore, it is highly recommended using CLI in a Unix-like system. For Windows 10 users, you may want to enable Windows Subsystem for Linux to get better experience with the Chameleon CLI.

Installing the CLI


  1. Python - Check if you have Python installed.
  2. PIP - If you’re using Python 2.7.9 (or greater) or Python 3.4 (or greater), then PIP comes installed with Python by default.

OpenStack Client Installation

  1. Install the CLI by typing pip install python-openstackclient in the terminal.
  2. Verify that it has installed correctly by typing openstack. You will enter the Openstack Client in interactive mode and your prompt should change to (openstack).
  3. Exit the client by typing exit.

CLI authentication

When using the CLI, you have to provide some credentials so the system trusts that the operations are really being executed by your user account. There are two ways of doing this.

Using your Chameleon password

The simplest way to authenticate is to use your Chameleon password. However, this can come with some security risk; if you accidentally commit your CLI code with your password included in to source control, an attacker would know your password and could potentially take over your account (or other accounts that share the same password.) Be sure you never commit your RC files in to source control for this reason.

Creating an application credential

You can also generate application credentials, which act as dedicated one-off passwords that are authorized with the same permissions as your user account, within a single project. If you work on multiple projects simultaneously, you will need to generate one application credential for each project.

To create an application credential, navigate to the “Identity” dashboard in the The Graphical User Interface, and go to the “Application Credentials” panel. Create a new application credential and name it something meaningful (such as “CLI access for project CH-XXX”). You will also need to check the “unrestricted” checkbox in order to use the CLI to make leases in Blazar. If you do not need to make reservations via the CLI, you can leave the box unchecked, as it is the safer option.

Creating an application credential via the GUI

Once the system generates the credential, you will be given the option to download an RC file that configures the CLI to use the application credential for authentication. You will only see the secret credentials once, so make sure to save the RC file or the secret somewhere, as if it’s lost, you will have to delete the credential and create a new one.

The OpenStack RC Script

You must use the OpenStack RC Scripts to configure the environment variables for accessing Chameleon features. You can downloaded the script from the Chameleon GUI at the API Access.

  1. Log in to the GUI at CHI@TACC or CHI@UC.


    Download the RC file from the site you would like to interact with. The RC files are different for each site.

  2. Select the project you wish to access via Project and Site Menu.

    The Project Dropdown

    The Project Dropdown

  3. Download OpenStack RC Script using User Menu by clicking on Openstack RC File v3.

    The OpenStack RC File v3 link in the User Dropdown

    The OpenStack RC File v3 link in the User Dropdown

  4. Run the following command in the terminal:

    source <path/to/openstack_rc_file>


    The command will not work for Windows users. Skip this step and the next step if you are using Windows system.

  5. Enter your password when prompted.

  6. For macOS/Linux users, your current terminal session has been configured to access your project. Now type openstack in your terminal session.

    For Windows users, you have to provide the environment variables in the OpenStack RC script as openstack command parameters. Run the following command in your Windows prompt:

    openstack --os-auth-url <OS_AUTH_URL> \
    --os-project-id <OS_PROJECT_ID> \
    --os-project-name <OS_PROJECT_NAME> \
    --os-user-domain-name <OS_USER_DOMAIN_NAME> \
    --os-username <OS_USERNAME> \
    --os-password <OS_PASSWORD> \
    --os-region-name <OS_REGION_NAME> \
    --os-interface <OS_INTERFACE> \
    --os-identity-api-version <OS_IDENTITY_API_VERSION>

    Replace values of the parameters by reading from the OpenStack RC script.

    Another way to configure the OpenStack client for Windows users is to add/edit environment variables manually via System Properties window. Then, click on Environment Variables… button and manually add/edit the environment variables in OpenStack RC Script to Environment Variable window.

    System Properties Window of Windows System

    System Properties Window of Windows System


    For macOS/Linux users, every time when open a new terminal, you have to run the source command to access the OpenStack client.


    If you get authentication error, check if you input your password correctly.

  7. Type project list at the (openstack) prompt. You should see a list of the projects you belong to.


    If you get permission error at this step, please check that 1) the terminal session has been configured correctly with the environment variables; 2) the OpenStack RC script you source is v3; 3) the OpenStack client version is the latest. To check the OpenStack client version, use openstack --version command. Some older versions may cause errors.


    If you get the Missing value error when using a command, it is likely that your terminal session has not been configured correctly and completely with the environment variables. The error may be fixed by re-running the source command over the OpenStack RC Script or using the command line switches.

Using the CLI

You can use the CLI in either Interactive Mode or Shell Mode. In either mode, the OpenStack client has to be configured by using the OpenStack RC Script or by providing the command line switches. For more information about the usage of the OpenStack client, run openstack --help.

Interactive Mode

The Interactive Mode allows you to use the openstack commands through an interactive prompt. To start the Interactive Mode, type openstack in the configured terminal. Once entering the Interactive Mode, you will see a (openstack) prompt. Type the command you would like to run at the prompt. To find out the commands, type help.

Shell Mode

Each CLI command can be used in your terminal exactly the same way that it appears in the Interactive Mode, simply by preceding the command with openstack. For example, the command image list in the Interactive Mode is equivalent to the command openstack image list in the Shell Mode.