Container Management with CloudForms – Operational Efficiency

This blog is part 2 of our series on Container Management with CloudForms.

 

In this blog, we look how the operations team can manage container environments and ensures the workload runs securely and efficiently. This includes the containers themselves, but also the underlying infrastructure. Operators need to ensure resources at all layers of the stack are optimized to provide the highest level of service for the container workload.

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Container Management with CloudForms

Containers have rapidly evolved from being used for development and testing to production. Today, many vendors provide container products supporting enterprise IT production workloads. Red Hat offers OpenShift, an open source container platform based on Kubernetes.

 

The promise of containers includes greater cross-cloud workload portability, better support for microservices and faster business innovation through the ability to support CI/CD methodologies for rapidly launching new functionality. By pairing containers and CI/CD with public/private hybrid cloud infrastructure, enterprise IT teams expect to better match infrastructure spending to workload performance while enabling end user developers self-service and agility.

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My First Ansible Control Action (Video)

With this short video, we continue our series based on Red Hat Knowledge Base articles exploring how to take advantage of Ansible Automation inside Red Hat CloudForms. This post is a follow-up of our previous My First Ansible Service article.

As a summary, what we do in this video is to create a control policy that checks if the VM CPU or memory size has changed, and if so, resets the size to 1 CPU and 1GB automatically.

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Accessing Guest RDP and SSH via Custom Buttons

First let’s talk about Remote Session vs Remote Console, they are often confused.

 

  • Remote Session – Provides the user a server session on the remote host. Multiple sessions can be established with same or different credentials.
  • Remote Console (Also known as Remote Control) – Provides the actual console screen to the user, still a session but the systems local session. Only one console session can exist. Any credentials with rights to log on locally can obtain the system session. (Default in Windows is Deny)

 

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Deploying CloudForms at Scale

One of the challenges of deploying CloudForms to manage a large environment is knowing how to tune it – what knobs to turn and dials to watch for.

Red Hat’s Systems Engineering team have just completed a document entitled “Deploying CloudForms at Scale”. This describes the architectural components that affect large-scale deployment, and details the monitoring, troubleshooting and scaling measures that can be taken to optimally tune each component.

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Posting CloudForms Notifications to Slack

Keeping the whole IT team informed about events or actions in your IT infrastructure can be challenging. Many IT teams have turned to team messaging applications, like Slack, to improve internal team communications. CloudForms, with its flexible integration capabilities, can be connected to Slack to notify the team whenever important events happen.

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Integrating CloudForms and ServiceNow: An Introduction

I was presenting the CloudForms service catalog and self service capabilities to a customer, when the head of operations says: “This looks great, but there is no way we are going to use this. The tool we use for everything from service desk to request tracking to service management is ServiceNow. Can you integrate your service catalog into ServiceNow?”

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Using Tags for Access Control

Most systems use Access Control Lists (ACL’s) to manage user’s access to objects. Common examples are ACL’s for file systems, LDAP, Web Servers and many more. Anyone who has had to create ACL rules and maintain them knows how complicated this can be. To make access control easy again, CloudForms uses tags. If the group a user belongs to has the same tag as the accessed object, access is granted, if not, access is denied.

This sounds simple and straightforward, but there are a couple of things to know about tags which make them very powerful, but also a bit tricky.

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Notify VM Owner of Upcoming Retirement

One side effect of quick and easy provisioning of virtual machines (VMs) is VM sprawl. To keep the number of VMs manageable, administrators set retirement dates to automatically retire the VM and free the hardware resources.

The risk with setting a retirement date is that the VM owner may not know (or may forget) that an active VM will be automatically retired. CloudForms has the ability to warn the VM owner that retirement of a VM is approaching. Customers want to be able to send multiple retirement warning emails to the VM owner. This can be achieved by modifying the retirement email methods in the Automate model.

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Using an Ansible Job Template in a CloudForms Service Bundle

This is part 5, the last post of our series on Ansible Tower Integration in Red Hat CloudForms.

As you saw from previous articles, Job Templates can be launched from CloudForms via Ansible Tower to run playbooks on targeted hosts. In particular we have looked at launching them from a button on a VM and from the CloudForms Service Catalog. In this last article, we examine how to expose Job Templates as Service Items to utilize them as part of a Service Bundle.

In this example, we reuse our ‘Deploy PostgreSQL’ Job Template to automate the installation and configuration of a PostgreSQL database on a newly provisioned VM. Our service bundle will deploy a new RHEL7 instance on Amazon EC2 and launch our Ansible Job Template to configure the database on this host.

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