Setting OpenStack environment variables

Find out how to set your environment variables to use the OpenStack API

Last updated 18th August 2021


By setting OpenStack environment variables on your desktop, you can use the OpenStack API to manage your infrastructure.



Step 1: Retrieve the variables

To retrieve your environment variables, you can download the OpenRC file from the OpenStack user account you have created.

Log in to the OVHcloud Control Panel and switch to the Public Cloud section. Select your Public Cloud project at the top of the left-hand sidebar.

Click on Users & Roles, then click on the ... to the right of your user, then select Download OpenStack's RC file.


An OpenRC file corresponds to a specific user and zone. You cannot manage multiple zones in the same file.

Step 2: Set the variables

On Linux

  • Open a terminal, or connect via the user who will be making the OpenStack API calls.
  • Load the file’s contents in the current environment. You will then be prompted to enter the Horizon user password.
admin@vpsxxxxxx:~$ source
Please enter your OpenStack Password:

As outlined in this guide, the password is only visible once — when it is created.

If you forget your password, you will need to reset it.

If the CLIs are already installed, check if they are working properly:

admin@vpsxxxxxx:~$ nova list
| ID                                   | Name | Status | Task State | Power State | Networks               |
| 2278e269-a529-40cc-9a08-794fda9302d3 | deb8 | ACTIVE | -          | Running     | |

You can hard-store the Horizon user password. For example, replace:

echo "Please enter your OpenStack Password: "

With the following:

#echo "Please enter your OpenStack Password: "
export OS_PASSWORD="Your Horizon user password"

By default, you will need to set this environment each time you open a session in the current environment. You can make this permanent by adding the source in the bashrc file. You would need to add the password in the file.

On Windows

The OpenRC file is not designed to be launched on Windows.

There are two ways of setting environment variables:

  • You will need to adapt the file by changing certain commands. The export part can be replaced with set:
set OS_PASSWORD="Your Horizon user password"
  • You can set the variables directly via the system settings: Control Panel > System > Advanced System Properties > Environment Variables:


Go further

To learn how to use OpenStack: OpenStack documentation

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