We just announced that we are a Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider which means that you can now confidently deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers in the CenturyLink Cloud cloud. But enough talking about it; let’s show you how it’s done! In this post, I’ll walk through the short steps for getting a Red Hat Enterprise Linux box up and running.

Step 1: Build the Server in the CenturyLink Cloud Cloud

Our customers have two primary ways to build up server environments in the cloud. First off, servers can be included as part of a blueprint. Our customers leverage blueprints when they want to build reusable templates for single or multi-server environments. You can now include Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers as part of sophisticated blueprints. In addition to using blueprints, customers can build servers through a dedicated “create server” workflow. In this flow, users can provision Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers with any resource combination (CPU+memory+storage) and install any private software packages onto the new server.

After completing the workflow, users will see their new server come online in a matter of minutes.


Step 2: Update the server with all the latest patchset

Recall that CenturyLink Cloud cloud servers are private by default, and thus don’t have internet accessible ports open. We recommend secure VPN access, and I used OpenVPN to connect to the network. I’m running Windows 8 and therefore used the popular PuTTY tool to SSH into the server.

Once I was in the server, I logged in using the “root” user and password defined during server setup.  Red Hat uses the Yum package management tool, so to update all the existing packages on the server, I executed a simple yum update command.

At the time of this writing, there were 311 updates totaling 286MB in size. In just a few minutes this process completed and I had a fully refreshed server.


Step 3 (optional): Install a GUI desktop

While many are perfectly comfortable working with Linux servers from the shell, I’ll show you how to quickly add a desktop experience. To install X-Windows and the default GNOME destktop, it takes a single command: yum –y groupinstall “X Window System” “Desktop” “Desktop Platform”.


Step 4 (optional): Access server desktop

Once again because I’m starting from a Microsoft Windows machine, I need a way to bridge the communication from my local machine and the X Windows desktop on the Linux server. There are a few choices for this, but we like Xming. It’s a small, free application that makes it easy for Windows users to access their Linux applications. Once I had the Xming (display) server installed, I started it up. You need to make sure this is running before trying to launch the desktop, or else there won’t be anything listening to draw the windows!

I then logged out of my PuTTY session, and before starting a new one, I made sure to have the Enable X11 forwarding option selected in PuTTY so that I could display graphical applications via SSH.

Finally, back at the SSH shell I ran the gnome-session & command, and a few moments later, I was presented with a ready-to-use Linux desktop.


We’re excited to offer strong support for users of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and think that this reinforces our vision of being the destination for all your enterprise cloud workloads.