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Latest release feature highlights

Cloud bursting, VPN as a Service, VMware clusters and much more in Abiquo 4.4

Abiquo launched the latest version of its award-winning software, Abiquo version 4.4,  in August 2018.

Cloud Bursting – the deployment of additional resources in another cloud when needed –  has long been the “holy grail” of cloud management. To ensure you can meet your SLAs for response time, application performance and availability, you need to be able to extend applications with resources in ANY other cloud, based not just on infrastructure capacity, but on application performance, guest utilisation and more.

With Abiquo 4.4 you can configure Cloud Bursting based on monitoring information from across your whole cloud estate – that’s applications, VM and even hardware performance – and take actions, including provisioning VMs in other private or public clouds, scaling up or down, resizing VMs and much more. Even bursting between private cloud data centers or from public to private is possible, not just from private to public!

It’s also easy to do. All the configuration is through the Abiquo user interface, including setting thresholds, combining multiple thresholds into alert groups and defining the actions you want to execute. You can even drive the same action plans from a schedule for one-off or regular planned changes. Read more below to find out how!

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.

Group public cloud regions by provider

Administrators can configure the UI to work with groups of regions or specific regions when allowing tenants access to a provider, and when creating, editing, or viewing scopes. It is also possible to set a default role for VDCs and create a scope for administrators to manage all regions in a provider or selected regions.

 

Tenant hierarchy management

For tenant hierarchy management, Abiquo 4.4 introduces checkboxes to mark enterprises as Resellers and Key nodes. A key node is the head of its own scope hierarchy, for example, it could be the head office of a retail chain with regional offices and stores.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Classic integration

The new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Classic integration offers all the basic Abiquo IaaS features. An Abiquo VM in Oracle is an orchestration with one instance and a persistent bootable volume. Users can onboard and synchronize compatible VMs from Oracle regions and they can perform the basic lifecycle of deploy and power actions. They can also create private networks, and public IP addresses, and firewalls. Abiquo firewall rules are security group rules with one protocol and source/target. You can onboard Oracle firewall rules with more parameters and assign them to VMs.

Cloud VM features

Limit VMs at all levels

You can limit the number of VMs that users can create at the enterprise, location, and virtual datacenter levels. Users can create VMs up to the VM limit, or the limits of their other virtual resources. The number of VMs and VM limits now display on the dashboard metrics panel for enterprises and VDCs.

 

Display all VMs in virtual datacenters

The new Virtual machines tab in virtual datacenters displays all VMs in all virtual datacenters or in a selected virtual datacenter. Here you can select a VM and perform all lifecycle actions, including deploy and power actions. And you can search for VMs by name text and using wildcards. You can also view the VMs tab in list view, where you will find helpful shortcut links to the VApp and VDC.

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.

 

Move VMs between virtual appliances in the same VDC

Users can move VMs to other virtual appliances in the same virtual datacenter. Users can also move entire scaling groups when they are in maintenance mode. For this feature there are new Move buttons on the VM control panel and in the scaling group controls.
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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.

Deploy all VMs button

In previous versions, when you added more VMs to a deployed VApp, the platform would display the Synchronize button. Now the default label on this button has been changed to Deploy all VMs.

Private cloud features

Improved support for VMware clusters under vCenter

Customers can now take advantage of VMware cluster scheduling because in Abiquo 4.4 you can directly add VMware clusters to the platform, instead of individual hypervisors. Users can then deploy VMs and the platform will allocate them to VMware clusters instead of directly to ESXi servers. In the wiki documentation, you can find information about creating allocation rules for VMware clusters.

Dnsmasq

Abiquo 4.4 can use Dnsmasq instead of the default DHCP server with the OMAPI protocol. The protocol name for remote service is “dnsmasq” and the default port is 832. And for VLANs, Dnsmasq uses network namespaces to provide VLAN isolation. Users can switch from DHCP to Dnsmasq using the restore tool.

UI enhancements

Changes to the main menu

New improved main menu: the icon for Infrastructure has changed to a server stack. The icon for Virtual datacenters has changed to a cloud. The icon for Users has changed shape. There is a new heartbeat icon for the new Control tab. The names of the views have been moved from under the icons to tooltips. As always, you can customize the user icons and the user interface.

Improved virtual appliance cards

The platform now highlights the current state of the virtual appliance with a colored status indicator and text. And the buttons to deploy or undeploy are now gray. And the show more/show less links have been changed to vertical arrows.