Latest Release Feature Highlights

New dashboard widgets, Wildcards in search boxes, unified remote access across all providers, optimization tools and more in Abiquo 4.2

Abiquo launched the latest version of its award-winning software in April 2018. With the abilities to deliver VM horizontal and vertical auto-scaling on any cloud, schedule workload actions, create application blueprints and deploy them to multiple cloud infrastructures, set up application and workload monitoring 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. Advanced multi-tenancy capabilities, optimization tools and the new metrics tab are some of the new features included in this release. With the latest Abiquo 4.2.3 we’ve added new hybrid cloud widgets to help with information and cost optimization, improved Cloud Init support in public and private clouds and updated our vCloud Director integration. Read below for more information about how Abiquo v4.2.3 can benefit your business.

All your clouds in one elegant portal

Get the benefit of hybrid cloud faster than ever with Abiquo’s unified portal. With the enhancements to our user interface, 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. In addition to supporting all major hypervisors and public clouds, you can use OpenStack and vCloud Director infrastructure too.

The new home page widgets in Abiquo 4.2 offer an improved display of resource utilization, also adding two new tabs:

  • Hybrid, which provides an overview of your resources in public cloud providers and private cloud
  • Optimization, which aims to help you make best use of your hybrid cloud resources

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.

Your business will enjoy the increased productivity, consistency and control offered by appliance blueprints, setting policies and centralised controls on usage and metering of that usage.

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Abiquo billing widgets

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New dashboard widgets

Abiquo’s home view is newly designed with a 3 tab view to help your business administrate its cloud resources more effectively.
The new Optimization tab helps you make best use of your resources and save money on your public cloud fees. Abiquo has created 7 different panels that will give you real-time information about the highest and lowest CPU and RAM usage, the VMs with the highest uptime on the platform and any unused public IPs and load balancers. Detailed reporting is also available.

The Hybrid tab provides an overview of your resources in public cloud providers and your private clouds. 3 new panels are added to the existing Virtual machines count and VMs by location tabs, which show a list and a graph of the VMs that are deployed in public and private clouds. The virtual machines are counted by location (public cloud region or datacenter).

The new panels display the Billing widgets for public cloud providers such as AWS and Azure. This widget can display the Latest bills, Estimated bill and Average cost per virtual machine for this provider in the current month.

Abiquo’s Metrics tab provides an overview of the resources an enterprise is using across the platform. The tab contains 6 different panels including information about the resources used by a workload, such as CPU, RAM, disk I/O and network traffic.
You can also use the Abiquo collectd plugin which allows collection of application and OS metrics. All collected metrics are shows graphically to your users and can drive the automation/scaling system.

Improvements to vCloud Director integration

Abiquo supports vCloud Director (vCloud API version 9.0) as a public cloud provider. Take your vCD experience a step further by integrating vCD with Abiquo. Combine the provision SDDC services offered by vCloud Director plus the extra management capabilities of Abiquo and bring your Cloud Computing activity to the next level. Advanced multi-tenancy capabilities, Friendly user interface, multi-cloud, optimization tools, flexible pricing/recharge models or App templates and template mobility are some of the features you can benefit from by integrating vCD and Abiquo.

Our latest release also includes the following:

Support for Administrator credentials for managing vCloud Director in Abiquo

Previously, organization credentials enabled administrators to create one public cloud region for each vCD organization. Now you can also optionally create a single public cloud region using the vCD Administrator credentials, and then add the vCD Organization credentials for each enterprise and multiple enterprises can use that region.

Management of vCloud Director VApp networks

Abiquo offers support for isolated networks but also the option to allow them to connect to the outside through an external network address.

Improvements on the onboarding of existing workloads on a Vapp

Previously Abiquo could only import VApps if there was one VM per vCloud VApp but now you can synchronize the VApps in the public cloud region as Abiquo VDCs.
Abiquo synchronizes a vCD virtual appliance network as a private network and users can also manage private networks.

Real time metrics acquisition if historical are not available

The following diagram shows the structure of entities in the vCloud Director integration in Abiquo v4.2.3 and the changes from the previous version.

Learn more about vCD plugin here:

Managing VCD networks in Abiquo

Managing VCD networks in Abiquo – click to zoom

Onboarding VCD VMs into Abiquo

Onboarding VCD VMs into Abiquo – Click to zoom

Synchronizing VDC "VAPPs" with Abiquo Virtual Datacenters

Synchronizing VDC “VAPPs” with Abiquo Virtual Datacenters – click to zoom

How VCD entities map to Abiquo

How VCD entities map to Abiquo – click to zoom

Configuring a boot script for cloud-init in Abiquo

Configuring a boot script for cloud-init in Abiquo – click to zoom

Improvements in Cloud Init support in public and private clouds

To go beyond scheduling new VM deployment, Abiquo now provides automatic first boot configuration with Configuration Drive using cloud-init. 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. Abiquo 4.2 adds guest customisation to set an initial guest password (which can be created randomly and emailed or sent by SMS to the VM owner), set a domain name, inject network configuration if there’s no DHCP and inject SSH keys.

Auto scaling, action plans and task schedules

Virtual machine action plans and task schedules 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 3.10 action plan screen

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Monitoring, Metrics, Custom Alarms and Alerts – for VMs and Docker Containers

Abiquo delivers monitoring and metrics of virtual machine on ESX, KVM and XenServer hypervisors, on Docker hosts and in AWS and Azure 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.

Users also have the ability 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.

Abiquo lets your users drive auto-scaling and action plans from this monitoring information. You don’t have to develop any new software or integrations to do this, it’s all out of the box.

Use Amazon and Azure as part of your hybrid cloud service

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.

In addition, Abiquo 4.2 includes Apache Guacamole integration for unified remote console access across all providers.

Abiquo 3.0 firewall screen

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Reserving servers for a tenant

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Create multiple tiers of service

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:

  • Dedicated compute – limit access to specific hosts for a tenant
  • Dedicated storage – limit access to a datastore for one tenant or a group of tenants
  • Dedicated networks – assign an externally-defined VLAN, such as an MPLS network, to a tenant
  • Dedicated NICs – link a virtual network to a specific hardware network

Manage other public clouds too

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:

  • OpenStack
  • vCloud Director
  • DigitalOcean
  • Rackspace
  • CloudSigma
  • SoftLayer
  • ElasticHosts

Depending on the capabilities of the cloud provider, you can manage VMs, use configuration management such as Chef and Ansible, manage VM images, run bootstrap and cloud-init 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.

Abiquo 3.1 public cloud screen

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Get users productive faster with Tutorials

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.

Deeper integration with Chef configuration management

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.

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Abiquo - manage workflow tasks

Manage VM activity with workflow

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.

Other enhancements

Virtual machine template controls

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. This is further enhanced in Abiquo 4.0 with the option to use hardware profiles (configurable per-tenant) to mirror behaviour found in many public clouds. Templates and Specs may be restricted to subsets of tenants.

New infrastructure management features

The Abiquo rule set for managing workload placement and host capacity is enhanced for 4.2 with new cluster level policies. Administratos can create a rule for the sum of all resources in a group (datacenters, racks, or clusters). This means that the platform will sum all of the resources in the group and calculate the load level percentage of the total in order to determine the available resources for the group.

Administer virtual machines in infrastructure

In the Infrastructure view, on the Virtual machines tab you can now view and manage all VMs in the enterprises and datacenters you can access. To filter the search, the main search box can be used to search on the VM name. Otherwise, you can use the filter button, to search on the VM name, VM template name, Enterprise datacenter, public cloud region, rack or machine.
The search and filter operations accept text strings and they support wildcard searches, a new feature included in latest Abiquo 4.2.

Enhanced pricing module

The Abiquo pricing model now enables resource pricing per datacenter and public cloud region, supporting the new hardware profiles as well as more traditional resource based pricing. 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 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.

Automate first boot configuration

To go beyond scheduling new VM deployment, Abiquo now provides automatic first boot configuration with Configuration Drive using cloud-init or hypervisor tools (such as VMware tools), 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. Abiquo 4.2 adds guest customisation to set an initial guest password (which can be created randomly and emailed or sent by SMS to the VM owner), set a domain name, inject network configuration if there’s no DHCP and inject SSH keys.

Enhancements to public cloud support

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.

Previous Version information

To find out about features released in previous versions, check out our wiki