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.


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

  • openid : Authentication using the protocol OpenID Connect

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-endpoint (or the environment variables OS_TOKEN and OS_ENDPOINT respectively). This method takes precedence over authentication plugins.


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


To use federated authentication, your configuration file needs the following:

export OS_PROJECT_NAME=<project-name>
export OS_PROJECT_DOMAIN_NAME=<project-domain-name>
export OS_AUTH_URL=<url-to-openstack-identity>
export OS_AUTH_PLUGIN=openid
export OS_AUTH_TYPE=v3oidcpassword
export OS_USERNAME=<username-in-idp>
export OS_PASSWORD=<password-in-idp>
export OS_IDENTITY_PROVIDER=<the-desired-idp>
export OS_CLIENT_ID=<the-client-id-configured-in-the-idp>
export OS_CLIENT_SECRET=<the-client-secred-configured-in-the-idp>
export OS_OPENID_SCOPE=<the-scopes-of-desired-attributes-to-claim-from-idp>
export OS_PROTOCOL=<the-protocol-used-in-the-apache2-oidc-proxy>
export OS_ACCESS_TOKEN_TYPE=<the-access-token-type-used-by-your-idp>
export OS_DISCOVERY_ENDPOINT=<the-well-known-endpoint-of-the-idp>
export OS_ACCESS_TOKEN_ENDPOINT=<the-idp-access-token-url>


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-endpoint <service-url>

Service ENDPOINT, when using a service token for authentication

--os-domain-name <auth-domain-name>

Domain-level authorization scope (by name)

--os-domain-id <auth-domain-id>

Domain-level authorization scope (by ID)

--os-project-name <auth-project-name>

Project-level authentication scope (by name)

--os-project-id <auth-project-id>

Project-level authentication scope (by ID)

--os-project-domain-name <auth-project-domain-name>

Domain name containing project

--os-project-domain-id <auth-project-domain-id>

Domain 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>

Domain name containing user

--os-user-domain-id <auth-user-domain-id>

Domain 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` | :option:`--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.


If you switch to openstackclient from project specified clients, like: novaclient, neutronclient and so on, please use –os-interface instead of –os-endpoint-type.

--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


Show help message and exit


Print API call timing information


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.

help <command>

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.


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

  • ~/.config/openstack

  • /etc/openstack

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: ''

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-endpoint 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 secret \
    --os-auth-url http://localhost:5000:/v2.0 \
    server show appweb01

The same but using openid to authenticate in keystone:

openstack \
    --os-project-name ExampleCo \
    --os-auth-url http://localhost:5000:/v2.0 \
    --os-auth-plugin openid \
    --os-auth-type v3oidcpassword \
    --os-username demo-idp \
    --os-password secret-idp \
    --os-identity-provider google \
    --os-client-id the-id-assigned-to-keystone-in-google \
    --os-client-secret 3315162f-2b28-4809-9369-cb54730ac837 \
    --os-openid-scope 'openid email profile'\
    --os-protocol openid \
    --os-access-token-type access_token \
    --os-discovery-endpoint \
    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 \



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.


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


Define the authentication plugin that will be used to handle the authentication process. One of the following:

  • v2password

  • v2token

  • v3password

  • v3token

  • v3oidcclientcredentials

  • v3oidcpassword

  • v3oidcauthorizationcode

  • v3oidcaccesstoken

  • v3totp

  • v3tokenlessauth

  • v3applicationcredential

  • v3multifactor


Service ENDPOINT (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.


Define the protocol that is used to execute the federated authentication process. It is used in the Keystone authentication URL generation process.


Define the identity provider of your federation that will be used. It is used by the Keystone authentication URL generation process. The available Identity Providers can be listed using the openstack identity provider list command


Configure the CLIENT_ID that the CLI will use to authenticate the application (OpenStack) in the Identity Provider. This value is defined on the identity provider side. Do not confuse with the user ID.


Configure the OS_CLIENT_SECRET that the CLI will use to authenticate the CLI (OpenStack secret in the identity provider).


Configure the attribute scopes that will be claimed by the Service Provider (SP), in this case OpenStack, from the identity provider. These scopes and which attributes each scope contains are defined in the identity provider side. This parameter can receive multiple values separated by space.


Define the type of access token that is used in the token introspection process. This variable can assume only one of the states (“access_token” or “id_token”).


Configure the identity provider’s discovery URL. This URL will provide a discover document that contains metadata describing the identity provider endpoints. This variable is optional if the variable OS_ACCESS_TOKEN_ENDPOINT is defined.


Overrides the value presented in the discovery document retrieved from OS_DISCOVERY_ENDPOINT URL request. This variable is optional if the OS_DISCOVERY_ENDPOINT is configured.


If you switch to openstackclient from project specified clients, like: novaclient, neutronclient and so on, please use OS_INTERFACE instead of OS_ENDPOINT_TYPE.


Bug reports are accepted at the python-openstackclient Launchpad project “”.


Please refer to the AUTHORS file distributed with OpenStackClient.



The OpenStackClient page in the OpenStack Docs contains further documentation.

The individual OpenStack project CLIs, the OpenStack API references.