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Running a Hybrid Cloud? Are you tracking usage and costs?

Posted by Chris Moore

7/27/15 3:57 PM

At Microsoft Ignite 2015, 72 percent of IT professionals polled said cloud usage and cost tracking are essential for business management. When not in conflict with other departments, many administrators struggle with efficiently tracking resource usage and costs. This issue was too clear with a major networking vendor. Their administrators spent countless hours each month manually tracking resource consumption. Since this method was prone to human error, the vendor deployed CloudBolt to automate their reporting process. Doing so allowed them to improve the accuracy of cloud usage and cost tracking across five hypervisors and public clouds.

In addition to manual cost tracking, some administrators also manually control resource distribution. Due to limited IT resources, a leading data storage provider’s administrators are afraid of end-users spinning up VMs from a self-service IT portal. The concern came from the idea that administrators would be unable to control how many VMs end-users provisioned. In response to this concern, CloudBolt allows administrators to set quotas that prevent end-users from running over their allotted resources. CloudBolt also allows administrators to set thresholds that alert them when resources are reaching max capacity.

Taking an automated approach lightens administrators’ workload, allowing them to be more productive in areas that were previously neglected. So, whether a company needs to improve the provisioning process, measuring or controlling of IT resource consumption, they should consider deploying a self-service portal. Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, government agencies and even the City of London have recognized the need for automated self-service tools, and they all chose CloudBolt as the solution.

CloudBolt has been recognized for its market leading time to value. With that in mind, simply submit a download request and test it out at any time.

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Topics: CMP, Cloud Management, VMware, Cloud, Shadow IT, Hybrid Cloud

App and Cloud Management, added Nebula Private Cloud with v4.6

Posted by Justin Nemmers

10/27/14 2:22 PM

In our latest release, we've continued enabling IT organizations that want to provision and manage their applications more effectively. CloudBolt v4.6 makes providing self-service IT access to applications easier than ever, regardless of whether that application resides on a single server, or is a complete end-to-end stack of servers deployed across several environments. Like never before, users can interactively request entire stacks with just a few clicks, and deploy those stacks into any one of the dozen or so supported cloud and virtualization platforms.

We haven’t stopped there, though. In addition to streamlining the application provisioning process, we’ve put a significant amount of effort into other areas of CloudBolt as well. 

Nebula

We're also proud to announce an all-new connector for Nebula Private Cloud environments.

Image: CloudBolt now supports Nebula Private Cloud

Image: Add Nebula Resource Handler in CloudBolt Cloud Manager

With this new connector, CloudBolt customers gain the ability to deploy into and manage servers, applications, and even entire services in Nebula-backed environments. Nebula private cloud customers using CloudBolt gain immediate access to all of CloudBolt's features in both new and existing environments:

  • Chargeback and Showback
  • Reporting
  • Governance
  • Automated provisioning and management
  • Lifecycle management
  • Software license management
  • And more

Service Catalog

Customers are using the CloudBolt Service Catalog to provide end users self-service access to entire application stacks for some time now. In v4.6, we've updated the service creation process to make it even more straightforward. Just as they can do for the single server ordering process, admins can alter how the service ordering process looks for different end users and deployment environments. End users can be prompted to enter specific information as necessary based on their desired target deployment environment. 

Once ordered by a user, CloudBolt’s built-in approval mechanism can be leveraged for additional validation before CloudBolt steps through any number of automated processes required for delivery of a fully functional application stack.

The end result is clear: CloudBolt administrators can quickly create new service offerings that are able to span any supported target environment. Regardless of your platform of choice, CloudBolt can deliver a complete stack to your end users, and in less time than you think. 

Active Directory Group Mapping

Are you using one or more AD environments to authenticate CloudBolt users? In v4.6, admins gain the ability to map AD groups to CloudBolt groups. This AD group mapping also works with multiple AD environments, so if you're using CloudBolt in a multi-tenant capacity, you can still pick-and-choose how auth is handled for each tenant. 

Orchestration Hooks

Orchestration Hooks enable IT administrators to automate every step needed to deliver IT resources and applications to end-users. Extending on this capability, we've added a new Orchestration Hook type that enables the execution of an arbitrary remote script.

Image: Add a hook for remote script execution

This further extends CloudBolt’s lead as the most powerful cross-platform application deployment and management platform, as it can now be seamlessly integrated into nearly any manually-scripted provisioning and management process. Reusing your existing IP has never been easier or faster. 

Connector Improvements

Discovering and importing current state from existing environments is a CloudBolt Cloud Management key strength. In v4.6, this is even more thorough, as we now also detect all disk information from VMware vCenter virtual machines as well as AWS AMI, and Microsoft Azure public cloud instaces. 

Have a lot of VMs? Users in environments with tens of thousands of VMs will be happy to learn that VM discovery and sync is more efficient and faster. 

Puppet Enterprise users can now also leverage multiple Puppet environments rather than the default "Production". This can further help customers simplify their IT environments. 

Get It Now

The CloudBolt Cloud Manager v4.6 is available today via the CloudBolt support portal. Our updates are just another feature, and take mere minutes to complete

Don't have CloudBolt yet?

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Topics: Public Cloud, VMware, Private Cloud, Upgrade, AWS, Puppet, azure, Nebula

API v2, Chef Roles and Orgs, AWS Elastic IPs, and Add VMware Disks

Posted by Justin Nemmers

3/18/14 12:14 PM

We’re pleased to announce the immediate availability of CloudBolt C2 v4.4.1.

This release is jam-packed with new capabilities intended help IT organizations better manage and access their existing IT resources—not just through the provisioning process, but through the entire lifecycle management process as well.

Even before the C2 v4.4.1 update, customers have some pretty awesome things to say about us:

Upon completing a 2.5 day PoC with a large complicated user:

"You accomplished more on day one than VMware did in two weeks."

Other praise:

"If we were to build something, this is exactly what it would look like."
“This is completely plug and play.”
“Wow, that seemed almost too easy.”

And my personal favorite… Upon quickly knocking out a Chef and vCloud Orchestrator use case that vexed every other vendor:

Customer, to co-workers walking by office:
“Dude, you have to see this. It’s [explicative] awesome!”

C2 v4.4.1 builds on an already awesome product.

CloudBolt C2 v4.4.1 features a completely re-designed API. Our new API layer enables the programmatic control of C2 by parties that prefer a command line-based interface, or want to cleanly integrate C2 into an existing scripted process.  While this capability isn’t new to CloudBolt, it’s much improved and deeper functioning in C2.

C2 API browserC2's built-in API browser greatly aides development against the new C2 API v2

VMware

You talked and we listened. Customers asked us for better management of new and existing VM virtual disks in VMware. C2 users can now add new disks to VMware-backed VMs. C2 also ingests more information about existing VM disks.

vmware datastore add disk virtual machineUsers can add additional virtual disks to VMware VMs

Customers were also looking for a way to manually set the root password on Linux-based VMware guests.  Despite the VMware API not directly supporting this, we’ve developed a way to allow users to specify a new root password at provisioning time, and C2 will ensure that the provisioned instances will be accessible using that password.

Configuration Managers: Chef and Enterprise Chef Configuration Management

The Chef connector has been enhanced to provide support for the import and management of Chef Roles.  Now users can interface with and select Chef Roles for assignment and deployment to servers both at provisioning time and in an ongoing manner. Along the same lines as roles, C2 v4.4.1 also includes a new Chef Community cookbook importer in the UI. Browse and import community-provided Chef recipes and Cookbooks. 

chef configuration management roles

Running Enterprise Chef?  We haven’t forgotten about you. In fact, C2 boasts the industry’s best Chef integration, and we’re expanding that important relationship to include integration with Enterprise Chef features and capabilities. C2 v4.4.1 adds support for Enterprise Chef organizations. We’ve also added support for hosted Chef, and for those of organizations using Chef to manage software on EC2-based instances, we now support communication with AWS-based Chef servers, but also the deployment of Roles, CookBooks, and Recipes to EC2-based servers.

Configuration Managers: Puppet

We didn’t forget about our Puppet Labs integration, either. In this latest release, we’ve expanded the details C2 collects about the Puppet nodes. The latest Puppet configuration management report status and link to the entire report are now available from the Puppet connector details page.

Amazon Web Services

C2 now has deeper support for EC2 and related components. First, users can now directly manage AWS Elastic IP addresses right from C2—both at provisioning time, and in an ongoing basis. In addition to detecting and importing AWS availability zone metadata, C2 now supports assignment of a specific actual availability zone within a region.

Amazon web services assign elastic IP addressUsers can now select and associate AWS Elastic IP addresses from within C2.

Usability Improvements

Don’t forget that we use C2 to manage our own It environments. This helps us identify places where C2 could be a little more usable after a few small tweaks. In this release, we’ve made a number of these little tweaks, but I’ll discuss a few of the more important ones here. C2 v4.4.1 now automatically validates IP addresses when entered on the order form.  We also noticed that the latest Firefox web browser update broke C2’s built-in console access application. C2 v4.4.1 fixes that. We’ve also added the ability to download a job log file directly from the UI—no need to log into the actual C2 instance.  Lastly, and thanks to a customer that uses C2 to manage 10k+ VMs, and hundreds of OS templates, we’ve drastically improved the performance of VMware OS template import.

How to get it

If you haven’t yet seen C2 in action, get started here.  Ready to kick the tires yourself?  Request a download. Already runnung C2? Log into our support portal to download the Cloudbolt C2 upgrade today.

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Topics: Feature, VMware, Puppet, Chef

New Release: CloudBolt C2 v4.1 Cloud Manager

Posted by Justin Nemmers

9/26/13 3:22 PM


Customers are speaking, and we’re listening. C2 v4.1 contains a host of customer-suggested enhancements that are designed to enhance the capability and usability of C2’s management of a wide variety of IT resources.

CB Web Slides v4.1

Virtual Private Clouds and Amazon Web Services

In C2 4.1, the AWS connector now has the ability to detect, manage, and deploy systems into VPCs. C2 Environments backended by the AWS connector will now discover VPCs, VPC subnets, and other VPC-specific options such as security groups. C2 will also now auto-create C2 Environments for each selected VPC/Region, which nearly eliminates additional setup and configurations required.

VMware Integration Improvements

As we showed with our latest AWS updates, we’re always on the lookout for additional features to add to existing connectors. In this release, we’ve improved our VMware integration by adding more in-depth automatic C2 Environment creation for each VMware-hosted cluster present in vCenter. C2 will also now auto-discover any resource pool or datastore options as configured in vCenter, and will automatically create and map those options to C2 fields.

Re-Importing and Updating

Once AWS and VMware environments are created, C2 can now auto-detect and re-import changes to the underlying configuration of those environments. This includes things like VMware datastores, resource pools, and AWS security groups.

The Docs

We now include the full CloudBolt C2 product documentation as part of the install. The bottom of every page contains a link to access the embedded product documentation.

Speeds and Feeds

Despite our class-leading interface—recognized as the most intuitive available in a Cloud Manager, we’re always working to improve the user experience and keep it at the top. In C2 4.1, we’ve worked to get the rust out of many parts of the interface—so it will be faster than ever—especially on the server list page for environments that have thousands of servers. We’ve also polished the interface in several areas to help with usability. 

Additional Improvements

We already talk to Puppet Configuration Management, and now we speak that language even better with a updated Puppet connector in C2 4.1. 

We’re the only Cloud manager that can use itself to test your critical provisioning workflows. Configuring the Cloud Supply Chain Validator (CSCV) capability in C2 4.1 is now fully managed in the C2 UI, rather than requiring a configuration file modification.

For Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager (RHEV-M), C2 will now automatically import the RHEV-M API certificate.

I want to see it!

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Topics: VMware, Red Hat, Upgrade, Release Notes, AWS, vCenter, Puppet

New Release: CloudBolt C2 v3.7.2 advances on capabilites

Posted by Justin Nemmers

5/30/13 8:49 AM

automated provisioning gears complex

Our engineering team continues to incorporate significant capability into the C2 platform. Version 3.7.2 includes several updates intended to improve the end-user experience as well as admin-specific features which further C2’s benefit to IT administrators. Despite the added features, we continue to innovate with an eye toward intuitive interfaces and controls. In C2’s case, added benefit does not equal added complexity.

On to the improvements!  First, the big one: C2 now ships and supports an OVA template that enables IT administrators to rapidly deploy C2 in XenServer. We’ve offered this capability on VMware’s vCenter since the beginning, but now C2 offers the same time-to-value for those that have selected a different virtualization manager. 

In larger deployments, the administrator view of the C2 Job List can be quite long. To help with this, we’ve added both a better UI to view job statistics, but also the ability to filter the job list based on job type.

Sticking with this theme, we also made significant improvements to the page C2 Administrators use to control Server Build Defaults. Administrators now have an easier interaction to add new, or change existing default settings for the parameters required by the underlying virtualization manager.

C2 Administrators have long had the ability to set resource group quotas in C2. In this latest release, we’ve made point improvements to how this system operates behind-the-scenes. The result is a more robust quota framework that ensures C2 Administrators are continually able to rely on C2 to effectively enforce resource limits set on the group level.

Several customers have asked that C2 provide them the ability to automatically test the network connection for a provisioned server. We were happy to oblige. C2 can now ping the server’s IP to ensure the network was set up correctly before completing the provisioning job.

Lastly, on the C2 Administrator side, we’ve made some back-end Apache configuration tweaks and changes to further improve the UI performance.

Of course, we didn’t forget about you IT consumers out there!  C2 Administrators have been able to modify the ordering process to match the end user’s level of ability and understanding. In version 3.7.2, C2 Administrators are now able to add tool tips that will be displayed in the ordering process. These tool tips give C2 Administrators a way to explain required inputs to end users in a clear and concise manner. In this case, as always, the C2 interface is modified from within the C2 interface. No need for costly developers, or SDK licenses.

Happy provisioning with the well-oiled machine that is CloudBolt Command and Control!

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Topics: Feature, VMware, Release Notes, vCenter

CloudBolt Releases C2 v3.6.0

Posted by Justin Nemmers

2/14/13 3:31 PM

We're happy to announce the release of CloudBolt C2 v3.6.0!

Building on the ground-breaking Network Virtualization capabilites we released in v3.5.0, we've created the ability to directly manage network virtualization-provided layer 3 networking (i.e. routing) directly from C2.

C2 also now supports KVM-QEMU, further expanding the supported virtualization platforms that it centrally manages.

We've also added many more visual cues throught the user interface. You'll now see appropriate vendor icons for items including resource handlers like VMware vSphere and vCenter, AWS and QEMU, as well as Operating Systems, Configuration Management systems (Puppet, Chef, HP Server Automation), and Network Virtualization (Nicira by VMware).

Do you have a large number of users, but don't want to connect C2 to LDAP or Active Directory? Not a problem anymore, as C2 can now import users from a csv file.

From the beginning, CloudBolt enables plain old virtualzation environments to provide resources in a Cloud-ified manner: virtualization becomes Infrastructure as a Service and Platfform as a Service.  Strating with v3.6.0, we enable users to request multiple servers from multiple environments.  Previously, they could request multiple servers, but only from on envronment at a time.

We've also invested a bunch of time in performance tuning the UI, including adding capabilities to filter the server list by the OS family a server belongs to.

C2 can also now query a Configuration Management system to determine which virtual machines in your environment are also managed by a supported CM system so that C2 can enable more fine-grained application and life-cycle management of those VMs.

Ready to upgrade?  Hit up our support portal (login required) for details.  Want to kick the tires?  Request a download now!

Download C2

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Topics: Nicira, Network Virtualization, Feature, Management, Virtualization, VMware, Cloud Manager, Upgrade, Release Notes

VMware Lab Manager is going away and CloudBolt C2 can take over.

Posted by Justin Nemmers

1/24/13 6:11 PM

I happened to catch Brandon Butler’s article talking about the replacement choices customers have now that VMware’s Lab Manager product is being discontinued.  There has been no shortage of vendors to quickly put their hands up with claims such as “no net new costs” or offering new cloud service provider options to help those customers move to something new and better.  Some of these solutions still require you to upgrade from vCenter 4 to 5.  Others are overly complicated, or require you to use something different than vCenter-based virtualization altogether.

VMware Lab Manager discontinued
Your Lab Manager installation will be far less functional (or colorful) in a few months.

Beyond self-service provisioning, this is a great opportunity for a VMware Lab Manager customer to extend their capabilities while:

  • requiring a minimum of both effort and changes to their process
  • allowing the organization the option of utilizing public cloud resources 

Too good to be true?  Hardly!

For starters, CloudBolt Command and Control (C2) is amazingly easy to install and configure.  Download the virtual appliance, import it into your vCenter cluster (it even works on version 4!), and you’re off to the races.  With most installation and configurations taking less than 20 minutes, CloudBolt C2 can start deploying instances in your vCenter environment almost immediately.  Not only can your users easily provision their resources using CloudBolt C2’s self service interface, but you’ll get the easy ability to seamlessly use public cloud resources, if desired. 

CloudBolt C2 is much more capable than that, too…  but I’ll save the best for last after a recap, of course…

  • You have VMware Lab Manager
  • You have vCenter
  • You need to rapidly and repeatedly provision instances

Of course, CloudBolt C2 do all of that, but we’ve got a special treat.  CloudBolt C2 Virtualization Edition is free to use for up to 100 managed VMs.  I’m not even saying no net new cost.  I’m saying no cost.  How’s that for an option? 

Get C2 Product Overview
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Topics: Management, Consumability, VMware, IT Organization, People