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Windows on DreamCompute: The Quest

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the service, DreamCompute is DreamHost’s cloud computing platform. Running on the OpenStack platform, DreamCompute is a scaling service with a lot of potential. DreamHost offers several popular GNU/Linux distributions to get your started, as fits their open source philosophy. However, not all projects and programs will run off a UNIX-based server, as was my case with several game servers I wanted to host. Having access to a copy of Windows Server 2016, I began what would become a long journey to create a working Windows Server instance on DreamCompute. While my ignorance of the platform and cloud computing in general caused many of these issues, I thought it might be helpful to share some common issues I ran into, and their solutions:

Windows on DreamCompute: The Problems

  • Problem 1: While you can easily upload the ISO, you cannot install Windows Server directly to the server. Even after adding the Red Hat Virtio drivers necessary to recognize the storage devices, Windows will refuse to install on the device.
    Solution: You need to create a working VM, install and configure the OS on there, and then upload a raw image file of that installation!

  • Problem 2: The complete disk image (weighing in at 15-30 GB or more!) will often timeout the DreamCompute panel when attempting to upload it
    Solution: The OpenStack CLI, No matter where you upload the image from, you'll need to have the ISO locally availible in the most recent versions of OpenStack. The primary feature here is that your CLI upload won't time out like the panel will, allowing you to upload any large images from your pc to the DreamCompute system.

  • Problem 3: A simple VM installation via VirtualBox isn’t working, and you keep receiving blue screen errors on your uploaded image. Even if you create a successful image, go to the trouble of converting that image to a raw format, and upload it, you are still not able to run that instance!
    Solution: Cloudbase saves the day with their Windows OpenStack Imaging Tools!

Windows on DreamCompute: The Tools

Windows on DreamCompute: The Conclusion

At this point, you should have everything you need to get Windows Server working on your DreamCompute instance! If you run into any other issues or have any solutions, please feel free to send me a message.

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