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Integrating Chef Enterprise with CloudBolt

Posted by Justin Nemmers

10/21/14 2:23 PM

Integrating Chef Configuration Management with CloudBolt enables IT Organizations to offer end users a broad selection of Chef-provided Roles, Cookbooks, and Recipes for self-service provisioning and management right from the CloudBolt UI and API. Users can deploy a single server and application, or entire server and application stacks with just a few clicks.

In this video, Bernard Sanders from CloudBolt Engineering walks through the integration of Chef Enterprise with the CloudBolt cloud management platform. This includes importing Chef Enterprise Roles and Cookbooks into CloudBolt, enabling end users to directly provision and manage servers and applications in a VMware-backed environment.

Video integration of CloudBolt with Chef Enterprise Configuration Management

Like what you see? Get your own copy of CloudBolt here.

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Topics: Chef, Video

Accelerate DevOps by Combining Automation and Cloud Management

Posted by Justin Nemmers

10/15/14 4:20 PM

The advent of DevOps in Corporate IT has dramatically increased the value that Configuration Management (lately, also known as CM and/or Configuration Automation/Data Center Automation tools) provided in a complex data center environment. Popular examples include Ansible, Puppet, and Chef. Whether your IT organization has implemented an end-to-end DevOps model, or you’re interested in implementing one, the unification of Cloud Management and Data Center Automation is a great way to ensure that your DevOps teams get the most out of IT-provided and supported services and resources.

At the core of highly productive and agile DevOps teams is the rapid access to required resources, and the ability to control what is deployed where. Long wait times for resource provisioning will not just delay release and product, but also likely anger your team. On the other hand, granting the DevOps team unfettered access to on-prem virt and public cloud resources is a capacity planning and potential financial disaster just waiting to happen.

As DevOps automates more of the application management and provisioning process with tooling (Related posting: Why Manual Provisioning Workflows Don't Work Anymore), it becomes more critical to effectively integrate CM with the actual infrastructure. Providing end users and developers alike with access to DevOps work product becomes more complex and challenging.  

Cloud-Management-and-Devops-is-like-PBandJ-72
DevOps and Cloud Management go together like peanut butter and jelly. Each makes the other more awesome. (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

So how does an IT organization achieve maximum value from the time and cost investment in these CM tools? By tightly integrating Cloud Management with their entire stack of CM tools.

Advantages

Using a cloud manager such as CloudBolt to integrate CM with the infrastructure provides immediate value.  By deploying both tools, IT can provide DevOps with: 

  1. Controlled access to required infrastructure, including networks, storage, and public cloud environments.
  2. A single API and UI capable of front-ending numerous providers, which means when IT changes cloud providers, DevOps doesn’t need to re-tool scripts and automations.
  3. Fully automated provisioning and management for real-time resource access. 

CloudBolt allows IT to natively configure and import application and configuration definitions as well as automations directly from your CM tool of choice. End users can then select the desired components, and deploy them onto appropriately sized system or systems in any environment.

IT organizations can put into place hard divisions between critical environments—such that only certain users and groups can deploy systems, services, and applications into specific environments. For instance, CloudBolt will prevent a developer from deploying a test app onto a system that has access to a production network and production data.

Results

Customers that have implemented CloudBolt also are able to chose from one or more CM tools based on capabilities of a specific tool. Does one team prefer Puppet over Chef? Each team can be presented with a discrite slice of underlying infrastructure that makes use of their preferred CM tool(s).

The result is clear: more effective DevOps teams that spend less time dealing accessing resources, and more time getting their work done. IT is happy because CloudBolt enables them to improve governance of entire enterprise IT environments, and finally offers IT the ability to alter underlying infrastructure technology choices in ways that are fully abstracted from end users. By using a single CloudBolt API to access and deploy resources, DevOps isn’t disrupted when IT alters underlying infrastructure technology.

Interested? You can be up and running with CloudBolt today. All you need is access to a Virt Manager or a Cloud Platform, and less than 30 minutes.

Schedule a Demo   or try it yourself

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Topics: Cloud Management, Automation, Puppet, Chef

Declare your Independence from Standard Cloud Management

Posted by Justin Nemmers

7/2/14 8:50 AM

Introducing the latest release of CloudBolt C2: v4.5

Connector Updates

With C2 v4.5, we’ve added two new connectors that further expand the breadth of technologies IT organizations can manage from a single-pane-of glass.

Google Compute Engine support gives administrators the ability to seamlessly offer end users controlled access to yet another public cloud provider. This includes the ability to install and manage applications from a supported configuration manager, as well as the ability to include GCE instances in C2 Service Catalog service templates.

Google Cloud Platform CloudBolt C2
Google Compute Engine CloudBolt C2
C2 v4.5 includes support for Google Compute Engine in the Google Cloud Platform.

We’ve also totally re-written and re-based our OpenStack connector. In this update, we’ve focused on compatibility, and we’re now able to support Icehouse, Havana, and Grizzly from the major OpenStack providers such as Mirantis. Of course, C2 can include OpenStack-backed resources when provisioning applications, running external flows, and accounting for licenses, just to name a few. C2 is already the best dashboard for OpenStack, and it’s getting even better with each release. No Horizon development needed!

openstack-cloud-software-vertical-large

We’ve also made some additional updates to our vCenter connector, including improved error handling when your VMware tools are out of date, and allowing for longer Windows hostnames. We’ve also made the Windows disk extending messages more clear and straightforward.

Amazon Web Services has also received some developer love. C2 now synchronizes both the public and private IP addresses for each AWS EC2 instance.

Configuration Management

We worked closely with the engineering team at Puppet, and now have a unique capability: C2 can now discover and import classes from a Puppet server.

Chef integration is even better: C2 now enables Chef bootstrapping on Windows and Ubuntu Linux systems.

User Interface Updates

Updates to the C2 UI are perhaps more subtle, but focused on helping users and administrators more effectively manage large numbers of applications and servers. We’ve integrated simple indicators describing the total number of selected items in each data table, making it much easier to manage large environments.

Did you know that you can use C2 to open network-less console connections on C2-managed servers? We’ve made this feature faster and more reliable in C2 v4.5.

Upgrading

Upgrading C2 is just like any other feature in C2: fast, easy, and predictable. Upgrading to C2 v4.5 is now even faster and easier than before.

Sounds Great, I Want It!

CloudBolt C2 has been recognized by Gartner for our industry-leading time to value. We effectively eliminate the barrier to entry for enterprise Cloud Management. C2 v4.5 is available today. Request a download, and you'll be up and running in your own environment in no time.

Schedule a Demo or try it yourself

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Topics: Upgrade, AWS, Puppet, Chef, OpenStack, GCE

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