Abiquo 4.6

Abiquo launched version 4.6, in April 2019

Major improvements in Abiquo 4.6 include the ability to automatically create scaling actions, making it easier to configure autoscaling, also adding a new dialog that will enable users to select the metrics to control the autoscaling actions.

Improvements to pricing include a new tab for Backup policies for private cloud datacenters and a Public cloud price list synchronization that can obtain pricing details from public cloud providers and update them in Abiquo.

Other improvements include the ability to create VPNs in Microsoft Azure and connect to the Azure VPN gateway using the basic SKU for VPNs, create allocation limits per provider, new multi-cloud infrastructure privileges, new public cloud regions in Amazon and Azure and more.

New general features

Autoscaling Wizard

To make it easier to configure autoscaling, when you define a scaling group in the UI, you can now select the option to automatically create an autoscaling action.

After you save the scaling group, a new dialog will enable you to select the metrics to control the autoscaling action. You can open the dialog out to configure more options, including the thresholds for scaling in and scaling out.

After you add this action, you can add more actions as required. The platform will then automatically create the alarms, alerts and action plan to automatically scale in or out according to your thresholds.

To help you keep track of your scaling actions when you update a scaling group, there is a new tab to display all the details of the autoscaling actions.


Networker backup plugin

Abiquo 4.6.1 introduces a new backup plugin to support Dell EMC Networker.

The Abiquo integration:

  • Supports Complete backups only
  • Does not create/update/delete policies or workflows from NetWorker
  • Expects to manage two sites, which are identified by the hypervisors hosting the VMs
  • Expects to have a single policy with two workflows, one for each site using backup (with or without replication/clone action)

New Veeam backup plugin

Abiquo 4.6.3 has a new backup plugin to support for Veeam 9.5 update 4. To work with the new plugin, customers will require new licenses. Then the administrator can delete the old backup manager and create a new one, selecting the new plugin. Abiquo 4.6.3 drops support for Veeam 8.0.

Improvements to pricing

Public cloud price list synchronization

Abiquo 4.6 can obtain pricing details from public cloud providers and update the details. There is a new Pricing tab to enter a separate set of public cloud credentials for pricing. Or the administrator can select the option to use public cloud credentials that manage virtual resources.

The pricing credentials must have privileges to access the provider’s price list via API, for example, in AWS the IAM user will require AWSPriceListServiceFullAccess.

When you enter the pricing credentials, the platform will retrieve hardware profile prices from the provider and add them to the tenants’ pricing models. By default the platform will refresh hardware profile prices every 24 hours and the administrator may configure this interval for the platform. The platform will not retrieve or update prices for tenants without pricing credentials.

Customers who are resellers of public cloud services can add enterprise properties for pricing markup purposes. Note that for Azure, the format of CSP credentials is different.

Backup pricing

In pricing for private cloud datacenters, there is a new tab for Backup policies. The prices are applied to VMs with the backup policies assigned. The platform includes the prices of all VM backup policies in VM_PRICES, and as part of the estimated price for deploying a virtual appliance.

Move VMs with pricing

When a user moves a VM to another virtual datacenter and the pricing estimate message is enabled, Abiquo will display a message with a new estimate for the VM and the new VApp.

This feature is supported by two new API price methods: one that gets the new message including an additional VM, and one that gets an API data entity with the current and new price data.

New in multi-cloud

Azure VPNs

Users can now create VPNs in Microsoft Azure and connect to the Azure VPN gateway using the basic SKU for VPNs. Abiquo supports site-to-site connections, for example, from NSX to Azure.

Azure automatically selects a compatible encryption value. Azure requires the public IP address of the first site’s VPN in order to create the Azure VPN gateway, however, you can supply a dummy address and edit it later.

The administrator should configure enterprise properties for tenants that will create Azure VPNs. See Configure Azure VPNs.


Provider limits

Abiquo 4.6 enables you to create allocation limits per provider. In public cloud providers, this means the total resources for the enterprise in all regions of the provider. In vCloud Director and OpenStack, it means the total resources for the enterprise per endpoint URL.

In Abiquo 4.6, the limits are set for the whole provider or endpoint. In previous versions, the limits at the provider level were a shortcut to set the default allocation limits for each region of the provider.

To enable grouping by provider and set defaults per provider, see Group public cloud regions by provider or endpoint


Multicloud infrastructure privileges

Abiquo 4.6 introduces new privileges to separate the display of the Infrastructure view for private and public cloud. The two original infrastructure privileges have been changed to apply to private cloud only. The two new privileges are similar. They enable the user to access infrastructure view for public cloud regions and to view the details of public cloud regions. See Changes to Privileges

Changes to Azure CSP credentials

Microsoft has changed the authentication method for CSP customers, which affects the billing dashboard and the public cloud price list synchronization features. 

CSP customers will need to obtain an authentication code and use it along with the application ID and secret key to call the Azure AD Tokens API to obtain a refresh token. The CSP customer can then enter the new credentials for each tenant in the billing script configuration file.


New in private cloud

Move a VM to a different virtual datacenter

Abiquo 4.6.1 introduces a new feature to move a deployed VM to a virtual datacenter within the same Abiquo datacenter. The target VDC must have the same hypervisor type. The privilege to control this feature in the API is MANAGE_MOVE_VM. Work in progress: add this privilege to the UI as “Manage VM move”. By default only the CLOUD_ADMIN user has this privilege.

Public cloud improvements

New public cloud regions in Amazon and Azure

Abiquo 4.6 introduces support for the AWS China Northwest region and support for new ARM regions in Johannesburg (South Africa North) and Cape Town (South Africa West).

Also, Abiquo 4.6.3 adds support for Microsoft Azure Dubai region.

Improvements for Admins

Asynchronous tasks and task progress

Abiquo 4.6 introduces asynchronous tasks for the following actions:

  • Create and Delete virtual datacenters
  • Create, Edit and Delete VPNs.

This means that the user does not have to wait for these operations to complete before they can continue working on the platform. You can display the progress of tasks in the user interface in Events view on the Tasks tab.

You can select dates to filter the tasks. With the Access users view privilege, you can select your users from the pulldown list to display their tasks.

On the Tasks tab, the Owner attribute represents the entity that the task is operating on, for example, the name of the virtual datacenter. The Owner attribute will be empty after a delete task because the entity no longer exists.

New Discovery manager remote service

There is a new version of the Discovery Manager remote service that now performs all resource discovery tasks in private and public cloud. It replaces the previous version of the Discovery Manager and the Cloud Provider Proxy, which the platform will no longer use. The name of the Discovery Manager remote service has changed from “NODECOLLECTOR” to “NARS” and the web application has changed from “nodecollector” to “nars”.

This remote service introduces asynchronous tasks with support for:
VDC: Create and Delete
VPN: Create, Edit and Delete

The platform’s api-java-client now supports asynchronous tasks.

Metrics improvements

The Watchtower monitoring system will now delete datapoints from its data stores when you delete a metric. And you can now push custom metrics to VMs that are clones in a scaling group.

In Abiquo 4.6, the monitoring system has been improved to better support very large numbers of VMs. The improvements were made based on the results of a simulation where a script deployed VMs and modified metrics to activate and deactivate alarms and alerts. For the simulation, 5000 VMs were deployed on 5 hypervisor emulators running as Docker containers. During the simulation, 2 metrics of each VM had values that forced the activation of alarms and alerts for a 15 minute period, followed by default values.

The activated alarms and alerts were quickly detected and notified by the system. However, the following improvements were made.

Increased the speed of the push of metric data points after collection.
Optimized configuration of KairosDB incoming queue processor
New KairosDB version with CQL instead of Thrift
Reduced response time of the Emmett module in the request to push metric data points. The Emmett module manages metrics, alarms, and alerts. It retrieves metric data and obtains alarm details and requests alarm evaluation. Performance was improved by decoupling tags from entities, reducing unnecessary database transactions, and introducing caching of get requests.

Default firewalls for virtual datacenters 

Abiquo 4.6.1 enables you to define a default firewall for a virtual datacenter where firewall policies are available. When the user creates a VM, the platform will assign the default firewall. The firewall ruleset applies to VMs, not individual NICs on the VMs. 

There is a new privilege to Manage Default Firewall, assigned to the CLOUD_ADMIN role by default.

Private IP reservation

Abiquo 4.6.1 introduces the private IP reservation feature to prevent users from assigning reserved IPs to VMs within Abiquo. The platform does not display reserved IPs to allow users to select them for VMs. You can only assign reserved IPs to VMs from outside of Abiquo, for example, using a script. The new privilege to control access to this feature is Manage private IP reservation.

Support for more guest operating systems on VMware

This feature introduces more operating systems for VMware including support for new guest identifiers available in vSphere version 6.7+. 

It is now easier to specify Windows 9 Server using the name of the operating system, for example, WINDOWS_SERVER_2016 gives “windows9Server64Guest” as the guestIdentifer of VMware.  

See New Abiquo OSTypes and for vSphere 6.7+

Filter vCenter Management IPs

When adding vCenter or vCenter cluster hosts, you can select which IPs to use as management IPs. In Abiquo 4.6.1 you can filter the list to display vCenter’s Management IPs to ensure you select an appropriate IP. You can also edit a host in the UI to change the management IP, which you could previously only do with the API.

More than one VDC per enterprise in NSX ECMP

Abiquo 4.6.1 introduces context properties to enable administrators to control configuration depending on the context. For the NSX ECMP plugin, for example, each VDC requires its own range of uplink IPs. Uplink IPs were previously set using enterprise properties, but this only allowed the administrator to create one VDC per enterprise without changing the properties. 

In Abiquo 4.6.1, if a property is not set at the enterprise or system level, the user will be able to enter the property when creating the entity.

Allow access to VM initial passwords

Abiquo 4.6 introduces a new privilege to allow access to the initial password of VMs.

As in previous versions, the VM owner can always access the initial password for their own VMs by clicking the key button on the VM control panel.

Enterprise property types

Abiquo 4.6.3 introduces types for enterprise properties, which facilitates the use of properties in hierarchical organisation models (such as reseller models). Types allow administrators to reserve some properties for internal use while delegating reseller or enterprise admins the ability to view or manage other properties. In Abiquo, administrators store tenant details and metadata using enterprise properties.

Administrators with the privilege to “Manage enterprise properties” can set property types. Each property can have a type of Hidden, Read/write, or Read only.

Administrators without the “Manage enterprise properties” privilege can only add or edit read/write properties and display read-only properties.

You can also configure the tenant properties using the Abiquo API.

Control default VDC roles for enterprises in locations

Abiquo 4.6.3 introduces two small changes to the Default role functionality – a new privilege and a minimum default role for creating VDCs. 

The “Manage VDC default roles” privilege will control access to the Default role tab when editing an allowed datacenter or public cloud region for a tenant. For example, without this privilege the tenant administrators will not be able to modify the default roles assigned by cloud administrators.

Usage data in VM hours from the API

This new feature will make usage data available through the Abiquo API and is aimed at reseller environments. It offers a new way to provide flat VM hour pricing to tenants while enabling volume discounts for resellers in the hierarchy.

The new “cost usage” API endpoint provides VM usage in hours for the platform, per tenant, and for a tenant hierarchy. The data for the tenant hierarchy is aggregated using the reseller and key node tags. You can obtain the JSON usage data from the different reports endpoints under cost usage. This feature requires the “Manage bills” privilege.


Usability improvements

Remember the last language used

The platform will now remember the last language used in the UI and select it on the login screen. The platform stores the language in browser LocalStorage with a key of “language” and a value of the language code, for example, “es_ES” for Spanish from Spain.

Dashboard improvements

Abiquo 4.6.1 introduces some changes to the Abiquo dashboards. Firstly, on all tabs, the widget boxes have been rounded. On the Metrics tab, the display limit of five elements has been removed, for example, for Last deployed VMs and Last triggered alerts.

On the Hybrid tab, the Billing dashboard chart is now an attractive bar chart.

On the Optimization tab, the display limit of five elements has also been removed. And the widget to display “Virtual machines – longest time ON” will now display “Virtual machines – longest time deployed” with the time deployed in days and hours.

To enable the UI to quickly and efficiently obtain these optimization values, new query parameters were added to the API requests to get virtual machine usage statistics. These parameters include “stat”, to specify a statistic such as maximum, minimum, or average, as well as “over” and “under” to specify the high and low thresholds.


vCloud Director Integration improvements

Changes to the vCloud Director Integration

Cores per socket

The platform now supports cores per socket in vCloud Director. The platform onboards the cores per socket value of vCloud Director templates and the administrator can modify it.

When users edit their VM configuration, they can modify the cores per socket.

Multidisk templates and VMs

Secondly, the platform has improved management of VMs and templates with mutliple disks in vCloud Director. The platform is now able to detect all the disks of a VM during the periodic VM check, take instances of all disks in a VM, and use mutlidisk templates.
When the user creates a VM with a multidisk template, the platform will display one disk only. Then after the user deploys the VM, the first periodic check of the VM will recognize all the disks with the correct capacity, sequence (from “Hard Disk x” label), and controller.
To display the disks, in VApp view, the user can select the VM and go to VM details → Storage.