Today marks the general availability of Red Hat CloudForms 4.5, as announced in the recent Press Release. One of the key highlights of the release is the introduction of Ansible Automation Inside, which provides a simple, powerful, human readable automation language, directly accessible from within CloudForms.
In addition, several enhancements are added to the multi-cloud management platform, including a new storage provider for Amazon Web Services, metrics and container improvements for OpenShift, and additional features for OpenStack. Let’s take a look at some of these improvements.
Ansible Automation Inside
Red Hat CloudForms comes with Ansible Automation Inside and becomes the first cloud management platform (CMP) to take an automated-based approach to multi-cloud management. Ansible playbooks consist of automation tasks allowing provisioning or configuration of entities across the infrastructure and application stack, from simple configuration, to complex service provisioning definition.
With the 4.5 release, users can now import their Ansible playbooks from within CloudForms and extend cloud management tasks using automation. For example, automation can be exposed to end users in CloudForms as:
- Service items, providing an easy way to consume an Ansible playbook from a service catalog item, monitor its output, and manage its lifecycle,
- Custom buttons, exposing Ansible playbooks on CloudForms entities to perform configuration tasks,
- Control actions, allowing Ansible playbooks to execute automatically when a policy event is triggered,
- Control alerts, allowing the use of Ansible playbooks to perform automation on an alert.
With Ansible Automation Inside, CloudForms automatically benefits from a large collection of modules and roles developed by the Ansible community, allowing simple and faster integration, and assembling advanced multi-tier service deployment definition with ease.
This native integration between CloudForms and Ansible automation simplifies service and policy definition as well as service lifecycle management. It not only provides a way to simply and fully automate IT services, but also gives greater visibility and management of all relevant resources.
Amazon Web Services Provider
CloudForms 4.5 introduces a new storage provider for Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) service. The persistent block storage volumes used by Amazon EC2 instances are now visible under their own storage management provider in CloudForms. This provider extends CloudForms ability to manage storage, with OpenStack Swift and Cinder storage providers introduced in a previous release. The inventory of EBS cloud volumes and snapshots, as well as associations with other entities (e.g. instances) are now available within CloudForms.
Red Hat CloudForms 4.5 also brings support for the association and synchronization of AWS labels to CloudForms tags, allowing easier integration, automation and reporting.
Another noticeable enhancement is the addition of Amazon CloudWatch events support, providing greater metrics and allowing CloudForms automation to react on Amazon alerts.
OpenShift Container Platform Provider
CloudForms 4.5 brings new features to the OpenShift Container Platform provider.
CloudForms now provides live ad-hoc metrics accessible from its user interface (UI) by querying Heapster, in addition to graph metrics generated from Hawkular data collection.
The CloudForms inventory is enhanced to show relationships between containers and persistent volumes.
New container management roles for container operators and administrators, as well as specific dashboard widgets and reports, are now available.
OpenStack Cloud Provider
CloudForms 4.5 contains enhancements for OpenStack management.
Synchronization of OpenStack tenants and users is now happening, including mapping of the object relationships (network and storage).
CloudForms supports the Panko service as an alternative to Ceilometer for eventing.
The inventory of OpenStack floating IPs is now presented in CloudForms.
Performance improvements around graph refreshes, widget generation, and inventory loading optimization are included in this release, contributing to CloudForms responsiveness improvements.
This 4.5 release of Red Hat CloudForms brings an Ansible automation-centric approach to multi-cloud management. This not only makes CloudForms more easily deployable across an organization, but also provides users with a collection of integration points for simple and easy automation for their IT service management tasks.