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Industrialising template creation in Hybrid Clouds

Written by Nik Tetteh-Lartey le 06 february 2014

The Why and the How

Hybrid Cloud, yes, we understand the business value propositions, or, at least, we think we do. We see the advantages of using an IaaS platform for template modelling, generation and image publication and furthermore we really appreciate these advantages compared to "how we did it" in the good old bad days. So with this safely all taken onboard, how do we actually get started on automating all this wonderful technology for a flourishing and often changing hybrid cloud environment?

This question may be more simple to answer than we may first imagine, so let us explain why? Since, the UForge Platform permits us to seamlessly execute all the various steps we can perform "manually" using a powerful UI, by giving us the additional flexibility, strength and option, to switch into an "automation" or "industrialisation" mode, using standard RESTful web services methods or by just writing code, for direct access to the backend services, using a Java API SDK.

At the workshop

Using the Java API SDK code taken from the samples provided on our website. We can very quickly "build and run" the java module CreateWindowsAppliance.java in a NetBeans IDE, for example. What happens in this module is roughly algorithmically equivalent to what we demonstrated in our previous blog, where we used the UI to do all the "hard work", but now let's use the Java API SDK, which will empower us further, by subsequently allowing us to incorporate complex or simple processes into any semi or fully automatic or industrialised production methodology we care to choose. Even transforming such automated processes into fully RESTful procedures, should be easily feasible, if needs be. Obviously, development proceeds in iterative cycles, so this will ultimately "cut down" drastically on defect evolutions, which can be spuriously introduced by manual template production and manipulation processes.

Once the appliance creation is completed, we can use another code module, to take the appliance template, generate and then publish the image to any of the many (Hybrid) Cloud infrastructures supported by the UForge Platform. For this demonstration, we will use a "QCOW2" format to be published on CloudStack infrastructure. But this could easily have been any one, of the many other cloud format offerings, we support in our comprehensive coverage of cloud connectors (e.g. AMI, Flexiant, OpenStack, Windows Azure and Abiquo, to name a few).

The PublishCloudstack.java module will generate the appliance image and publish it to our CloudStack (hybrid) cloud using the provided API access and keys. Once successfully published, we can access the cloud management console and launch our image on a compute node and finally access our running instance using the provided console, that's all there is to it!

The Hybrid Cloud challenge

We have to note, that in any real Hybrid Cloud environment we will have many different services. We can envisage; launched and running image templates, providing their services on many different cloud infrastructures, most likely deployed from an IaaS platform, using differing connectors and or supporting multiple and different image formats. Such diverse cloud ecosystems may lead to hugely challenging situations, which would need highly adaptable, agile and flexible solutions to succeed well in. Management of these Hybrid Cloud systems would be well suited to the rich functionality provided in the UForge Platform, which can easily aide, in adapting any cloud service, on any cloud, in a world of very rapid changes by making the change process, as simple as regenerating and publishing images, from existing appliance templates to any new cloud environment in a few automatable steps.

Classified in : Cloud Computing, Technology, Tutorial, Tip, Microsoft Windows, Hybrid Cloud - Tags : CloudStack, Appliance Template, cloud computing, - no comments


Curtain's Up on UForge 3.4

Written by James Weir le 29 october 2013

We are happy to announce that UForge 3.4 release is ready! This release includes a major new service - Migration. We've also moved to RBAC and made some huge improvements to supporting Windows.

Migration (Beta)

The new Migration service (launched in Beta) allows you to deep scan a live system (whether the system is virtual, cloud or physical) and import this scan as a model (i.e. server template) into UForge. This is a game-changer in the way customers create server templates in UForge. Live systems are simply teleported into UForge and transformed into a model, allowing you to re-generate images to any other target platform (traditional migration) as well as having access to the model of the live system - i.e. all the package information, licensing etc. This allows you to retrieve information on a live system for auditing purposes, or lets you tweak and change the model (updates) prior to migrating the system. Debian and RPM-based systems are supported, with Windows coming in the near future. For more information read this article, for a demo, see this video.

Role-Based Access Control

Up until now resource access has been enforced on a user per user basis. UForge resource access management has now been overhauled. Administrators can now create roles that manage entitlements that describe access to various UForge resources. These roles can then be assigned to one or more users. UForge RBAC is handled by Apache Syncope which has been embedded into the UForge platform. This module includes identity and access management, opening the door for UForge to integrate seamlessly with IAM use cases.

Windows Improvements

Ever since the arrival of UForge 3.0, users have been able to create templates using Windows as a guest OS (not available with UForge online). With this upcoming release it will now be possible to have more control of your Windows templates, including:

  • adding boot scripts to configure the instance on first (or every) boot.
  • silent installation of 3rd party software by automatically executing the installation with parameters.
  • include Windows activation keys in the template.

Sticky Packages

UForge calculates package versions and dependencies during an image generation based on a date. This allows the user to roll-forward or roll-back operating system packages in an OS profile. The negative impact on using the mechanism is that the user couldn't specify a particular package version to be part of the generation; depending on the build date of the package, an earlier or more up to date version of the package would be chosen instead. UForge now provides a mechanism to select a particular package version, known as making a package “sticky”. This increases the flexibility the user has in choosing package versions as well as protecting against destructive upgrades. This article provides more information on package dependencies.

User Usage & Statistics

The new UForge 3.4 has been updated to allow you to get usage statistics per user. We've also put in place the necessary mechanisms to integrate a third party billing system with UForge, allowing you to bill end users based on their user of UForge Factory. In addition, you can set quotas for the number of templates, generations, and migrations a user can carry out.

 

Classified in : News - Tags : UForge Release, Migration, RBAC, Windows, Statistics, Billing, Cloud Computing - no comments


Two Workloads. One Cloud.

Written by James Weir le 20 september 2013

Today, UShareSoft's partner, Citrix, is announcing CloudPlatform 4.2, which will orchestrate both cloud-native workloads and existing enterprise workloads within a single cloud management platform.

Why is that important for UShareSoft and our customers?

Read more Two Workloads. One Cloud.

Classified in : News, Cloud Computing, Technology - Tags : cloudstack, cloudplatform, apache, citrix, cloud computing, hybrid cloud, enterprise workload, cloud migration, workload migration - no comments


Catch up on cloud with this summer reading list!

Written by Gillian Gover le 20 august 2013

Not taken your vacation yet? Or looking to extend the summer as long as possible? Take advantage of summer downtime to catch up on some of the best cloud content of 2013, so far. UShareSoft's partner, Flexiant, has put together this summer reading list to help cloud providers learn more about technologies, products and services to grow your cloud offer.

Read more Catch up on cloud with this summer reading list!

Classified in : News, Cloud Computing - Tags : flexiant, usharesoft, cloud computing, white paper - no comments


New UForge Release: Onboard Applications to Windows Azure and Flexiant.

Written by Catherine Nuel le 17 january 2013

Self-service application onboarding to Azure and FlexiantWe are pleased to announce the UForge 3.3.1 release.
This version includes support for Windows Azure and Flexiant IaaS platforms.

UShareSoft is continuously expanding UForge connectors to different clouds, providing users with high level interoperability and maximum choice in software delivery to cloud.

 

Read more New UForge Release: Onboard Applications to Windows Azure and Flexiant.

Classified in : Technology - Tags : cloud, cloud computing, UForge, Flexiand, Azure, Windows Azure, Enterprise App Store - no comments


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