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Latest release feature highlights – Abiquo 4.5

Abiquo launched the latest version of its award-winning software, Abiquo version 4.5, in December 2018.

Major improvements in Abiquo 4.5 include a closer integration with vCloud Director and a deeper support for VMware DRS rules to save license costs.

New multi-cloud capabilities include resizing of disks in action plans, and remove NICs with hot reconfigure through the UI. Also, when managing a tenant hierarchy, users can now retrieve the tenants under a reseller or a key node through the API. Abiquo 4.5 also enables you fine-tune your control of concurrent operations, including the ability to apply the limit of concurrent VM operations at the virtual datacenter.

Improvements in the user interface include improvements to VM searches with the ability to sort and filter VMs by label and by FQDN, a hypervisor shortcut link for administrators as well as the ability to easily publish notices of maintenance windows, automatically configure default template icons by operating systems, and define a Cookie message and privacy policy link.

Within the public cloud improvements added, Abiquo opens the door to new cloud regions in AWS and Azure RM and user will find easier management of larger public cloud estates.

New multi-cloud capabilities

Resize disks in Action plans

Abiquo 4.5 includes a new action to resize a disk as part of an action plan. You just need to select the disk, and supply the amount of disk space to add, and the units.

For more details on how to use the Action plans feature for VM automation, see Manage Action Plans.

Remove NICs with hot reconfigure

In Abiquo 4.5 users can remove NICs with hot configure, whereas in previous versions this functionality was blocked in the user interface.

Tenant hierarchy management

Abiquo has continued to develop this functionality and through the API you can now retrieve the tenants under a reseller or a key node.  In future versions, administrators will be able to display aggregate statistics and billing data for resellers and key nodes.

See Manage Scopes and Create a Reseller Administrator User for more information.

Greater control of concurrent operations

Abiquo 4.5 introduces new configuration properties to control the number of concurrent operations for a hypervisor or provider, device, or backup manager.  The platform can control concurrency for VM operations and many kinds of entities associated with VMs (firewalls, load balancers, NAT IPs, and backups).

You can now define limits for specific hypervisor type or provider (e.g. vCloud with no concurrency) without affecting other types (e.g. ESXi with maximum concurrency).

And you can also change the context of concurrency control to the VDC level. This means the platform can limit concurrent operations that affect the same virtual datacenter, while allowing concurrent operations to other VDCs. You set the limits at the platform or provider level, and the platform applies these limits PER VDC. For example, if you allow 2 concurrent operations on AWS regions, and you limit by VDC, this will allow 2 concurrent operations per VDC in AWS.

You can also allow concurrent operations that change the state of a VM (e.g. power on), while limiting concurrent configure operations.

 

 

User interface improvements

Improvements to VM search

Abiquo 4.5 introduces some useful improvements to the Virtual machines tabs in both the Infrastructure view and the Cloud or Virtual datacenters view.

Sort and filter VMs by Label and FQDN

It is now even easier to find VMs, because you can sort and filter by the VM friendly name and fully qualified domain name on the Virtual machines tabs.

Hypervisor shortcut link

If a VM entity contains a machine link, users with infrastructure privileges can click through from the Hypervisor column to the server where the VM is deployed.

See Administer VMs in infrastructure and Manage Virtual Machines – Display all VMs.

 

Maintenance window notices

Abiquo 4.5 enables you to configure a scheduled maintenance window. When you activate the window, the platform will display a status popup for users when they log in.

The platform will also display a maintenance link at the bottom of the screen. To open the maintenance popup, the user can click on the link.

Maintenance can have a status of: scheduled, in progress, or finished that the platform determines from the dates you enter in the Configuration view on the Dashboard tab.

Add default template icons by operating system types

Administrators can now configure the UI with the default icons to display for the operating systems used by VM templates. You can simply enter the OS type name and the link to the icon in the user interface configuration file. We have loaded some default files in the Abiquo default theme.

See Configure Abiquo UI for more information.

 

 

Save license costs with VMware DRS rules

Customers may have DRS rules to ensure that certain operating systems run on defined hosts, in order to save on licence costs. Administrators create a cluster VM group and Abiquo adds the VMs to the appropriate group during deploy. Abiquo selects the group based on the group naming convention and the operating system set in the VM template. Note that this feature is for use at deploy time and the platform won’t add captured VMs to a group and it won’t check the group during the reconfigure process. The administrator can enable this feature by setting the properties for the required operating system types.

 

 

Cookie message and privacy policy

In Abiquo 4.5 you can add a Cookie message and configure the link to your privacy policy. Abiquo only uses cookies to improve the user experience, for example, to record that the user is logged in or to record that the user does not wish to display a popup again.

 

Public cloud support

Support for new public cloud regions

Abiquo 4.5 adds support for the AWS regions of London (eu-west-2), Canada (ca-central-1), Paris (eu-west-3), Seoul (ap-northeast-2), Mumbai (ap-south-1), and Ohio (us-east-2).
Abiquo 4.5 also adds support for Azure RM in China, which requires different credentials (as does AWS China). Microsoft has updated the ARM regions in Canada and Korea, which are now compatible with Abiquo.

 

Release tenant resources in public cloud

The platform now enables you to easily manage the offboarding of tenants with an option to delete resources in the platform only, while they remain intact in the cloud provider.

When you delete the tenant’s VDCs, you can select the option to delete them in the platform only. The platform will automatically delete the associated resources in the platform only, including public IPs, firewalls, load balancers, and so on.

 

Group vCloud Director regions by endpoint

In Abiquo 4.5, vCloud Director regions can be grouped by endpoint. This is an extension of the Abiquo 4.4 feature to group regions by provider. It is configured with the same UI settings that allow Administrators to work with groups of regions or specific regions when allowing tenants access to a provider, and when creating, editing, viewing scopes, and so on.

Filter by template publisher in Microsoft ARM

When importing templates from Microsoft Azure, Abiquo administrators can now filter by publishers. You can eaisly add a new publisher you can start typing the name and select from the pull down list. The system administrator can load the predefined publishers using system properties.

 

 

New REST API documentation site

Abiquo 4.5 introduces new API documentation. The API reference documentation will be automatically generated from the source code. The resource documentation now includes more information about REST links. The new link is https://wiki.abiquo.com/api

 

New strategic improvements

Extended integration with vCloud Director

Abiquo has been working hard to consolidate and extend our integration with vCloud Director. As in previous versions, Abiquo onboards vApps from vCloud Director as VDCs where you can create VMs using templates from the vCloud Director template repository.

You can now hot reconfigure VMs if their vCloud Director templates and operating systems allow it, and the platform will now use the VMXNET3 ethernet driver by default for vCloud Director.

Users can work with VM templates with multiple disks, although the platform still represents these as a single disk with the total size of all disks. When you onboard a VM, Abiquo creates a temporary template. To create a valid template, users clone the VM disks to create an instance and the platform now automatically updates the VM template to make it available to deploy. So users can then undeploy and redeploy the onboarded VM.

When importing templates into the platform, the private checkbox filters to display templates in the same organization, and the public checkbox filters to display templates in other organizations.

Abiquo onboards and synchronizes private and external networks, although you must create static routes and NAT configurations directly in vCloud Director. In vCloud Director, when you create an external network that can support load balancers (direct or routed, with a connection to an Edge), you must create a static IP pool for load balancers, which represents the number of load balancers that users can create in this network. If there is no static IP pool, Abiquo will not onboard the network.

As in the previous version of Abiquo, you can onboard existing Edge firewalls from vCloud Director as Classic firewalls in Abiquo. Do not create vCloud Director security groups for VMs because they are not supported in the platform.

In vCloud Director, load balancers can span more than one vApp, and Abiquo 4.5 supports load balancers that span Abiquo VDCs. When you create a load balancer for vCloud Director, you must select a “public address” on an external network connected to the Edge (meaning external to the OrgVDC or external routed networks). The platform does not support private subnets for load balancers in vCloud Director, or NSX-Edge Compact or fenced vApps. You can onboard compatible load balancers.

For details of the vCloud Director features that Abiquo supports, see vCloud Director.

 

New in Abiquo 4.5.1

 

Dynamic hardware profiles and cost codes for hardware profiles

In private cloud, dynamic hardware profiles support different values of CPU and/or RAM, so they enable administrators to create fewer hardware profiles. Administrators can now set prices for hardware profiles at the platform level (instead of at the cloud location level) by assigning cost codes to hardware profiles. Dynamic hardware profiles have one or more dynamic attributes (CPU and/or RAM). Users can set values of CPU and/or RAM when they create or edit VMs with dynamic hardware profiles.

 

Require a datastore tier for VM template disks

In private cloud, the Administrator can require a user to specify a datastore tier when they create a VM.

To configure this feature, the Administrator edits the VM template, and goes to the Disks tab to edit the disk and select the checkbox to require the user to specify a datastore tier.

On the Disks tab, the platform marks a disk that requires a tier with a star symbol.

 

Captured VMs resynchronized after physical machine changes

Captured VMs will now behave more like VMs deployed by Abiquo. When you delete a physical machine, the platform will put deployed VMs of all types in the “Not allocated” state, without changing the state of the VMs on the hypervisor.

If you later add the physical machine again or upgrade to using clusters as physical machines, the platform will automatically update all VMs from the hypervisor, returning captured VMs on the hypervisor to a deployed state, whether the VM is running, paused or stopped. In the API these resynchronized VMs will have the same ID and URL as before.

 

 

New cloud control features

Cloud bursting with action plans

In the new Control view, users can create action plans that act on multiple elements throughout the cloud. This means that you can implement cloud bursting driven by application monitoring. VMs in one VDC could run out of resources, such as CPU and RAM. In a second VDC an application could report its slow running. This would be identified by monitoring, which could then trigger an action plan to deploy or scale VMs in a third VDC. All these VDCs, VMs, and applications can be in different cloud providers. And you can connect the VDCs with site-to-site VPNs using the new VPN as a Service feature.

 

Alarms throughout the cloud

The platform now has two Alarms tabs: in infrastructure and the cloud (virtual datacenters), replacing the VM alarms tab. Users can select entities with metrics from a tree menu and create alarms for them. Users can also clone alarms. The dialog to create an alarm has also been simplified for datapoint entry and automatically uses the last datapoints.

Metrics throughout the cloud

As the foundation of cloud-bursting, users can work with built-in metrics for VMs and scaling groups, and custom metrics throughout the cloud, i.e. for VMs, scaling groups, virtual appliances, virtual datacenters, machines, racks, datacenters and public cloud regions. The endpoints for custom metrics also support collectd format.

 

Control view at cloud level

You can create alerts that incorporate alarms from across the platform and these alerts can trigger action plans. This means you can combine any alarms for any metrics on any VMs, any scaling groups, and any custom metric entities throughout the platform.

 

Scaling group metrics

The platform creates metrics for a scaling group using the metrics of the master VM as the base. It uses the same metrics for all clone VMs and evaluates them cumulatively. You can also use custom metrics for scaling groups and create alarms for scaling group metrics.

 

Hybrid cloud features

VPN as a Service

Abiquo 4.4 introduces VPN as a Service so users can create VPNs between Abiquo VDCs, and between a VDC and external infrastructure.  A user could create a VDC in a private cloud with an app server, a database, and a load balancer. Then they could deploy a scaling group in Amazon with the same app server connected through the VPN tunnel to the load balancer and the database. Initial support is for VMware (with NSX NAT or NSX Gateway plugins) and AWS.  A new tab has been added for VPNs under the Network tab in the virtual datacenter.

To create a site-to-site VPN between VDCs, the user creates a VPN site in the first VDC and enters the encryption and authentication details. Then they configure the local and remote endpoint and network. The user then creates a second VPN site in the other VDC, with the same encryption and authentication, but the inverse local and remote configuration.

 

Cloud VM features

Virtual datacenter roles

In addition to creating an access list of virtual datacenters (VDCs) for a cloud user, in Abiquo 4.4 you can define restricted access to VDCs. For example, this may mean that you restrict cloud users to read-only access to some VDCs and give them full access to others. You can create exception rules by assigning higher roles for specific users. When there is an exception rule, the platform will enable the privileges that are in both the user role and the higher role. Once again, the platform will never give a user new privileges based on the exception rule.

 

Restricted VMs and Virtual Appliances

Users cannot view or perform actions on restricted virtual appliances and their contents without the appropriate privileges. This feature could be used for outsourcing virtual appliances or running provider applications in the user’s VDC. The restricted virtual appliances will not be visible to a user without the privilege to view them. Users who can Manage restricted virtual appliances can select the Restricted checkbox when creating or editing. For other users this checkbox will not display.