Automate and schedule VM actions, configure with cloud-init and get additional template controls with Abiquo 3.10
Abiquo launched the latest version of its award-winning software in December 2016. With the abilities to schedule VM anc container actions, create application blueprints and deploy them to multiple cloud infrastructures, set up custom alarms and alerts and offer different storage SLAs to different tenant groups, Abiquo customers can meet their tenant’s needs and differentiate their services even further. Enhanced support for reseller models helps MSPs find new routes to market. Great features such as true multi-tenant Docker support – also with blueprints and alarms too – continue to attract industry interest. Read below for more information about how Abiquo v3.10 can benefit your business.
Get the benefit of hybrid cloud faster than ever with Abiquo’s unified portal. Using a familiar drag-and-drop method to deploy VMs, and supported by built-in tutorials, users can get started within minutes with little or no training. With privileges you control, users can view monitoring information, onboard their own Amazon and Azure accounts, and even perform VM migrations. All these features are available through our REST API for endless automation and integration opportunities.
It’s easy to customise the interface to match your business – every text string can be modified by editing text files, and Abiquo can be fully white-labelled, and can even run multiple brands on the same platform to support reseller scenarios.
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With Abiquo 3.8 introducing “Virtual Appliance Specifications” (or “VApp specs”) you can create an application template which can include multiple VMs or Docker containers, networking configuration, firewall and loadbalancer policies, backup policies, storage tier requirements, anti-affinity needs and even VM/Docker variables and Chef recipes, if you use them.
Then select which tenant can access each template, control template versions and let them deploy with a click!
The real magic happens when your users want to deploy to a different datacenter. If there’s a template missing, the storage tiers are configured differently or they don’t have the networking configured yet, it’s no problem! Abiquo walks the user through a simple process to choose a similar template, or select a storage tier, then automatically configures the networking needed and creates the application.
Easy as that!
Virtual machine action plans and task schedules in Abiquo 3.10 enable users to create a series of virtual machine tasks and save it as an action plan, then schedule that plan to run at a defined time or on a schedule. For example, if a high load on a web application is expected during a TV campaign, or an additional resource is always required on a BI server at month end, create a schedule to ensure that resource is there when it’s needed.
To get started, users simply need to create the virtual machine and its associated configuration (such as network interfaces, firewall and loadbalancer policies). Then they can easily add a sequence of tasks that range from basic lifecycle tasks (such as deploy, power on), to reconfiguration (such as add or remove CPU and RAM), to cloning virtual machine disks to create a new template or backup (Abiquo VM instance). Users can then schedule when the action plan tasks will run with a basic interval scheduler or an easy-to-use advanced scheduler based on the universal UNIX Cron utility. And it’s really as simple as that. Actions plans will also form the backbone of our upcoming auto-scaling functionality.
Abiquo 3.2 introduced monitoring and metrics of virtual machine on ESX and KVM hypervisors, and in AWS public cloud regions. The feature enables you to obtain a rapid and convenient overview of virtual machine performance through the Abiquo cloud console. Abiquo 3.6 added new capabilities to this core feature, including a plugin for collectd, helping to get metrics from a huge range of Linux components and software, Metric dimensions, to let users drill down to specific elements in a group and metrics for XenServer, adding to the existing ESX, KVM and AWS metrics.
Abiquo 3.8 adds the ability for users to define their own alarms, based on metrics gathered by Abiquo or on their own custom metrics – or a combination! For example, create an alarm for an e-commerce server based on CPU exceeding 80% for 10 minutes and cart abandons exceeding 50 over the same period. Mix and match as you like! Even combine alarms from multiple VMs or containers to generate an alert – maybe combine an alarm based on high network traffic on a web server with CPU and IOPS on a database server.
Service providers are looking to respond and compete with Amazon’s insatiable growth and dominance in the cloud market and with Microsoft’s penetration into large Enterprises. Gartner estimates that Amazon’s cloud revenues are 5x larger than its nearest 14 competitors combined.
Why not look to help those enterprises that are already using Amazon and Azure get more control, insight and efficiency out of those services? Help them align usage controls with their existing internal IT policies, manage their public and private cloud resources from one place, simplify the management of multiple accounts and place the right ‘workload’ into the right ‘cloud’. With Abiquo 3.8, existing AWS and Azure accounts can be managed by Abiquo with a single click, and kept in sync even if existing management tools continue to be used. You can even move existing VMs and templates up to AWS and Azure with a couple of clicks for true mobility.
You can also restrict end users to an approved set of AWS images using the Abiquo appliance library, ensuring consistency and making sure that you control the quality of the images in use.
Since everything in Abiquo is logged, audited and metered through a single platform, you can get a good understanding of what’s happening across your hybrid cloud.
Many enterprises and service providers need to offer a range of services from a fully shared cloud environment to dedicated “private cloud” offerings. Abiquo 3.8 added datastore tiers to existing dedicated compute and networking options, enabling combinations of:
Abiquo 3.10 enhances the pricing options for datastore tiers – more info below!
As credible alternatives to AWS and Azure become more popular in the public cloud space, we have more public cloud plug-ins to help offer your tenants “best of breed” offerings, whether they be at a low price point, the best performance available, or some other unique feature set.
With Abiquo, you can deliver service to your customers from these providers in addition to AWS and Azure:
Depending on the capabilities of the cloud provider, you can manage VMs, use configuration management like Chef and Ansible, manage VM images, run boostrap scripts, pass user data into VMs and configure firewalls, all through the same Abiquo interface. Even better, any integrations you build to the Abiquo API will work across ALL these cloud environments, so you don’t need to constantly redevelop in order to use another provider.
The Abiquo tutorial system enables you to provide information, focus on a specific Abiquo user interface element, and require the user to perform an action in order to continue. Using tutorials, you can streamline the process of onboarding users with your own platform walkthroughs.The Tutorials feature allows you to create custom tutorials for specific user roles.
One of the best ways to automate the installation of software onto a Linux VM is with a configuration manager such as Chef. Abiquo already has the ability to let your end users select their own Chef recipes, and now we support Chef attributes. Abiquo can pass configuration attributes to Chef for your recipes. You can find out what attributes are available from the Chef recipe configuration files – see the Chef web site for more information.
With Abiquo workflow, a user’s requests to deploy, reconfigure and undeploy virtual machines will be held while they are waiting to be reviewed. This can be done by another user with the appropriate privilege, or by an external workflow tool. You could even integrate to another system such as a credit control system which could check to see if a cloud tenant has too many outstanding invoices, and stop deployment if they do!
From Abiquo 3.8.5, in private cloud datacenters, administrators can add constraints to a virtual machine template to set minimum and maximum values for CPU and RAM for virtual machines created from the template. This ensures that VMs with OSes or applications that are sensitive to the VM configuraton can be guaranteed the resources they need, or created as fixed configurations similar to hardware profiles in public cloud.
Abiquo 3.10 also increases support for managed applications and per-tenant customizations with new scopes for virtual machine templates, providing fine-grained access control. To allow one or more tenants to access a template, the administrator simply creates scopes that include the tenants and assigns them to the template. Now only users who belong to the tenants listed in the scopes can access that template. This is consistent with the way access to Virtual Appliance Specs are controlled.
Also enhanced in version 3.10, the Abiquo pricing model now enables resource pricing per datacenter and public cloud region. And with the complementary additions to Abiquo accounting and billing, Abiquo customers will be able to automatically bill cloud tenants based on the resources and specifications of each datacenter and public cloud location. Moreover, Abiquo has added new elements to pricing models, such as separate pricing for CPU and RAM for VMs that are ON or OFF, firewalls, and load balancers. The previous “deployed resource” model is retained too.
Another improvement to the pricing feature is the support for reseller pricing models. Abiquo 3.10 automatically restricts access to pricing models to users with exactly the same tenant access level (enterprise scope), but also allows pricing users to view the pricing model assigned to their own enterprise. The key for resellers is that platform owners can assign them a pricing model (cost prices) and the resellers can use that as the base pricing model to mark up for their customers.
To go beyond scheduling new VM deployment, Abiquo 3.10 also provides automatic first boot configuration with Configuration drive with initial support for ESXi. Working with templates that support cloud-init or cloudbase-init (for Windows), users can enter configuration data and Abiquo will create a standard Configuration drive. When the virtual machine starts up for the first time, cloud-init or any similar system can make use of the user data.
And as always, Abiquo continues to develop our true hybrid cloud platform with the introduction of the new Azure Compute-ARM integration to support the Azure CSP program and the addition of OpenStack Neutron software-defined networking with firewalls and load balancers in the OpenStack integration, as well as improved public cloud region synchronization.