How to create a new Deltacloud API driver

Posted on | 797 words | ~4mins

Even if we try hard in Deltacloud project to support as many different cloud providers as we can, we just can’t cover every cloud. Also, it might come that you’re building your own cloud based on some virtualization like libvirt or Xen and you have your custom tools to manage it but you want to offer a REST API for your service to make your customers happy. Then this small guide might be handy for you.

Collecting collections

Basically Deltacloud API provide access to cloud services through different collections. In REST terminology a collection is set of resources. So far Deltacloud API offers this basic collections for every driver:

  • Hardware Profiles (/api/hardware_profiles)
  • Realms (/api/realms)
  • Images (/api/images)
  • Instances (/api/instances)

Hardware profiles

To explain them briefly, the Hardware Profile determines how your virtual machine will be sized. Practically, you can specify how much CPUs, memory and storage your machine will consume. Ussualy, these hardware profiles are defined statically in a driver using our DSL like:

As you can see, this DSL allows you to use ranges or enumerative properties. This would be handy if the client want to have a bit of freedom on what size he currently wants.


Realm basically represents a datacenter or a location of where your machine will be deployed. This doesn’t mean only geographical location but it can also represent a place in your data center where it will be placed. For better understanding, you can imagine that you have two Realms. First for ‘development’ where your development machines live and one for ‘production’ where all your production virtual machines reside. If you have a tool to list all your realms, you can use it in a driver method, otherwise they can be defined statically like:

The last method is used across the drivers to filter final results. It’s not the perfect way of how to ‘filter’ whole collection. Some ‘cloud’ providers offer a method to get just one single realm which is in some cases much faster than filtering the whole set.


Image stands for a virtual machine template. Long story short, it represents a recipe of how a new machine will be built. In EC2 or Rackspace it stands for a pre-installed operating system image you can convert to your instance. In VSphere driver it represents a virtual machine, marked as a template you can clone to a regular virtual machine. In your cloud, it can represent a prepared QCOW image you just copy over and launch via libvirt or other virtualization tools. In a Deltacloud driver, Image is defined like:

A state represents the current state of an image. It might indicate to user whether image is available or not, since sometimes the image is being built or updated.

Instance states

Almost done, but one part is still missing there. Instance represents a realised virtual machine. So take all previous resources and you can create a new instance.

Actually the Instance resource in Deltacloud API is the only object which has a real state. According to the state of the Instance, client is able to execute particular operations on it, like start, stop or destroy.

It’s up to you how you describe a behavior of your cloud. For inspiration you can take a look on the EC2 state-machine. It’s defined using our DSL inside driver:

It would take a while to actually understand this but it’s very important and it basically describes a behaviour of your cloud implementation.


Now is the time to implement the Instance collection. In Deltacloud, it’s implemented like:

As you can see, an Instance resource references to an Image, Realm and HardwareProfile. The Hardware Profile is a bit tricky, since it became an Instance Profile once it’s used with Instance. The public_addresses property tells user an IP address he can use for connecting to the instance. The username and password properties are optional and you can also use the ‘key’ property if you want to use public_key authetication (for SSH). Property which is responsible to track the state of the Instance is ‘state’. Instance should have state defined in your state machine (see top). To advertise the currently available actions to the user you can use our ‘instanceactionsfor’ helper.

Instance actions

Since the Instance object is ‘creatable’, you must define the ‘create_instance’ method in your driver in order to allow Instance creation. This method looks like:

This method should return an Instance resource after successful create operation. To manage your instances you need to add method for all actions defined in your state machine like:

After this, you’re done and you have a fully functional Deltacloud driver. Besides this brief tutorial, you should take a look on the available drivers source code and also read the our official documentation available on Deltacloud web site.