Service Catalogs and the User Self-Service Portal

One of the most interesting features of CloudForms is the ability to define services that can include one or more virtual machines (VMs) or instances and can be deployed across hybrid environments. Services can be made available to users through a self-service portal that allows users to order predefined IT services without IT operations getting involved, thereby delivering on one of the major promises of cloud computing.

The intention of this post is to provide you with step-by-step instructions to get you started with a simple service catalog. After you have gone through the basic concepts, you should have the skills to dive deeper into more complex setups.

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Display Estimated VM Cost during Service Provisioning

To recuperate costs from running a cloud infrastructure, IT organizations often need to charge users for virtual machines they have provisioned. CloudForms contains chargeback functionality that helps facilitate charging users for the resources their virtual machines use. The administrator is able to set rates based on compute, network, and storage resources. Reports can then be run to calculate the chargeback for each virtual machine.

One of the requests customers often have prior to the virtual machine being ordered, is to be able to show the user what the cost of the virtual machine will be.

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InfoBlox IPAM and CloudFORMS Integration Part 1

This subject is only the hottest on the block at the moment…why? I guess because InfoBlox is pretty cool, it provides DHCP, DNS and IP Address Management services for any size of network. Its fairly easy to configure and InfoBlox are a good company who allow you to try their software for 60 days eval license. You can integrate using simple RestAPI (there is a Ruby GEM, but I don’t advise using it, I found it problematic, and Rest is so easy anyway!)

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Placement Profile – Best Fit Cluster using Tags

CloudFORMS has workflows for many different tasks including approval, quotas and placement to name just a few. This blog entry is going to add to the placement category of workflows. A previous post of mine showed how you could place new workloads NOT_NEAR “Workload Placement by Type (Not Near That)”¬†other workloads which I still think is really cool. This placement workflow is quite simple, it matches template tags against cluster tags. Example;

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Workload Placement by Type (Not Near That)

Use Case – I want that when I provision a virtual machine I can specify certain workload types that I wish to avoid being placed with.

Example 1 – I will be requesting a virtual machine that will be very intensive on CPU or Disk I/O, therefore I want to ensure that I do not place it with any Database Servers, as I may impact their operation or they could equally stave me of resources. But I don’t know where the Database servers are located nor do I care, also real time the database servers are DRS managed therefore they may not be where they were first provisioned!

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Clone from Template (RHEV)

Enable CloudFORMS to clone a template, and retaining the disk layout. So CloudFORMS currently deploys new virtual machines in RHEV either by PXE or ISO. It does this by cloning a BLANK template and attaching new disks, where a PXE or ISO process will install an operating system. Those from the VMware world and those in Windows land will want to deploy directly from a template a clone, without having to install an operating system, because the template already has it installed in its disk. Reasonable request…. this is how…

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Cobbler Provisioning via CloudFORMS 2.0

Hooking Cobbler and CloudFORMS 2.0 together is actually quite simple. Lets first understand the use case.

We want to deploy virtual machines using PXE boot from Cobbler.

Cobbler stores each vm’s boot information as a “System Record”, there is a nice API that you can launch that will create these system records, you just need to pass the right parameters. The data required to drive Cobbler to create a system record are;

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