Abiquo 5.0

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1. VM configuration for automation

1.1. VM monitoring and metrics

To display metrics of a deployed VM with metrics enabled, click the Metrics symbol on the VM icon.

To refresh metrics data, click the circular arrows refresh button on the right.

To toggle the display of metrics, click Available metrics on the right, and select the desired metrics.

To filter metrics, click the funnel symbol. Enter the Granularity, Statistics, Period, and/or Dimensions.


Privilege: Access virtual machine metrics

To configure the display of metrics at the virtual appliance level, do these steps.

  1. Select a Virtual appliance and go to Monitoring
  2. Optionally configure the refresh interval. To do this, select the Refresh data every checkbox and enter a number of minutes
  3. Choose the metrics you wish to display and filter by metric statistics.

To refresh the display with the latest data from the API, click the round arrow refresh button.

 Click here to show/hide the screenshot

Screenshot: filtering metric statistics

1.2. Automate VM first boot with a configuration or script


Before you begin:

  1. Create your VM with a template that is compatible with cloud-init version 0.7.9 or above, or cloudbase-init, or a similar system
  2. In private cloud, the platform will create an ISO disk for Configuration drive

To add a VM bootstrap configuration or script in public cloud:

  1. Go to create or edit VM → Bootstrap script
  2. Paste your configuration or script in the Bootstrap script text box
  3. Continue to configure the VM or click Save to finish

Notes about bootstrap configuration in private cloud:

  1. If the user does not enter the FQDN on the General tab when editing the VM, the platform will try to set the FQDN using the name or ID attribute of the VM, and the domain of the VM's networks, or the localhost domain
  2. If DHCP is not used in your datacenter, the network configuration of the VM can be read from cloud-init, which does not require a connection to the VM

  3. Abiquo uses the ConfigDrive DataSource for cloud-init. Reference: http://cloudinit.readthedocs.io/en/latest/topics/datasources/configdrive.html

1.3. Add variables for the configuration of your VM

Before you deploy a VM, you can set guest variables to pass user data to your VMs. This functionality uses cloud-init and requires appropriate templates. In private cloud, the templates must have the guest setup flag set to cloud init. The administrator can add default variables for the VM template.

This functionality is available through the API. The platform stores variables in the VirtualMachine "variables" attribute, which is a dictionary of keys and values. See Update a virtual machine in VirtualMachinesResource

To add VM variables:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → edit a VM that is not deployed → Variables

  2. Enter each Key and Value

    1. The length of these can be up to 255 characters each 

  3. Click Add


  4. To delete a variable click the trash can symbol beside the Key. To edit the Value of a variable, click the pencil edit button beside the Value

  5. To apply changes to variables, and other changes to the VM, click Save





2. Scaling groups

To configure an automatic response to changing demands for resources, you can scale out VMs or scale them in, which is also called horizontal autoscaling. To scale out, the platform clones the base VM and deploys the clones. To scale in, the platform will delete clone VMs and undeploy the base VM. Scaling operations are subject to all standard platform constraints, such as privileges and allocation limits.

Screenshot: A scaling group with VMs deployed automatically.

  • Limitations:
    • Autoscaling does not clone captured VMs, so to use scaling groups with a captured VM, create an instance and recreate the VM. Create instances to save VM disks to templates
    • VApp specs do not support scaling groups. See What do specs save and create
    • Scaling groups have aggregate alarms that are associated with the base VM. This means that you can push custom metrics for clone VMs but you cannot create alarms for cloned VMs that are part of a scaling group. 

  • State of base VM: A scaling group with a deployed base VM would be destroyed if the base VM were deleted directly on the hypervisor. In contrast, a scaling group with an undeployed base VM is not vulnerable to interference at the hypervisor level




The platform enables you to automatically scale out (add more VMs) or scale up (add more resources to existing VMs).

Privilege: Manage scaling groups, Manage workflow for scaling groups

To use autoscaling do these steps:

  1. Create a base VM, which can be deployed or undeployed
  2. Configure the VM and enable metrics
  3. Define a scaling group with rules for scaling the VM.
    The checkbox to automatically create a scaling action, will create the following automatically:
    1. Standard alarms and alerts for the selected metrics
    2. Action plans with scaling actions for the VM and triggers for the action plans, which are monitoring alerts
    You can customize the elements the platform creates, or you can create your own configuration.




2.1. Define a scaling group

Before you begin:
  1. Configure the base VM that will be scaled
  2. Ensure that you have enough resources in your virtual datacenter to deploy up to the maximum number of cloned VMs, especially IP addresses

To create a scaling group:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → Virtual appliances
  2. On the VM icon, from the options menu, select Define scaling group
  3. Enter the scaling parameters and rules
  4. Click Save

 

 

FieldDescription
NameName of the scaling group 
Default cooldownPeriod of time to wait from the start of one scaling operation before allowing another scaling operation
Minimum running virtual machines

The minimum running VMs that Abiquo must maintain in the scaling group. The value must be greater than or equal to zero, where zero means that the base machine is not deployed

Maximum running virtual machinesThe maximum running VMs that Abiquo must maintain in the scaling group
Keep virtual machines in the same layerSelect this option to maintain VM anti-affinity layers when autoscaling
Disable workflowAdministrators with the privilege to Manage workflow for scaling groups can use this option to disable workflow or enable it as required.
Create in maintenance modeSelect this option to create the scaling group with maintenance mode ON, for example, to delay the automatic deployment of VMs to meet the minimum size
Create autoscaling actionCreate basic operations to scale in and scale out, with triggers based on metrics and alarm conditions.
Scaling rulesScaling rules describe how Abiquo will behave when a scaling event is triggered, for example, by an alert or a schedule.

Scaling rules

FieldDescription
VMsFor a scale out rule, the number of times to clone the base machine and deploy each clone for each scaling step. For a scale in rule, the number of machines to remove from the scaling group (Abiquo will delete clone machines and undeploy the base machine)
CooldownThe cooldown time to wait between scaling operations under this rule
StartDate and time to start the time range when scaling triggers will start a scaling operation under this rule. The time range must be unique and cannot overlap with other rules with the same scaling direction. If there is no time range, then this is a default scaling rule.
EndDate and time that is the end of the time range when scaling triggers will start a scaling operation. The time range must be unique and cannot overlap with other rules with the same scaling direction. If there is no time range, then this is a default scaling rule

When you save the scaling group, Abiquo will mark the VM icon with the scaling group symbol and display the scaling group name.

  • When the scaling group leaves maintenance mode, Abiquo will create clones of the base VM and deploy them to reach the minimum size. 
  • The number in the bottom right-hand corner of the icon is the number of running VMs in the scaling group, including the base VM.

To open the scaling group and check its parameters, click the scaling group symbol at the top of the VM icon.



2.2. Configure automatic scaling actions

To configure automatic scaling actions:

  1. When you define a scaling group, select Create autoscaling action and Save the scaling group
  2. In the dialog, select a Metric to control an autoscaling action
  3. To configure more options, including the thresholds for scaling in and scaling out, click Show more
  4. To add this action, click Add
  5. Add more actions as required 

The platform will automatically create the alarms, alerts, and action plan to automatically scale in or out according to your thresholds.




2.3. Trigger autoscaling

Before you begin:
  1. Create a VM and a scaling group for the VM. See Define a scaling group
    1. If you create an automatic scaling action, then the VM metrics will trigger autoscaling when they cross the thresholds set for the actions

To enable autoscaling operations to run:

  1. Create an action plan with a scaling action for the VM with the scaling group. See Create an action plan to automate VM actions
  2. Create triggers to run the action plan. See Create a trigger for an action plan

When scaling, the platform will search for a scaling rule that is valid for the specific time range, or for a default rule. It will create or delete/undeploy the number of VMs in the rule, then wait for the cooldown period before accepting another scaling request.




2.4. How the platform scales VMs

To scale out, the platform does not deploy VMs that are undeployed in the scaling group. To clone the base VM, the platform will do the following:
  1. Create disks using the following:
    1. Copies of content of disks from the VM template
    2. Empty disks or volumes for each additional disk used in the VM
    3. Disk controllers used in the VM
  2. Apply ALL configuration used in the VM, for example:
    1. CPU and RAM
    2. Network connections of the same type (e.g. private network)
    3. Assignment of firewall policies and attachment to load balancers
    4. Chef recipes, backups, cloud-init, variables, and so on
    5. Metrics. The group of metrics from clone VMs and the base VM (if it is deployed) can activate alarms in the base VM, even if it is not deployed
    6. Exception – Alarms: the scaling group has only one set of alarms in the base VM

To scale in,  Abiquo currently selects the VMs to delete or undeploy using first in, first out (FIFO). The platform deletes and undeploys VMs without requesting user confirmation when there are disks that are not stored in the Apps library (ISO configuration drive or additional hard disk). 




2.5. Perform maintenance on a scaling group

To make changes to your VMs in a scaling group (manually deploy, undeploy, delete, etc.) and edit the scaling group, put it into maintenance mode, which will disable autoscaling. 

When you leave maintenance mode, the platform will apply your modifications to the scaling group, e.g. adding new rules. Then the platform will adjust the number of VMs in the group to within the minimum and maximum size range.

To put the scaling group in maintenance mode:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → Virtual appliances → select VM
  2. At the bottom of the VM icon, click the cog maintenance symbol at the bottom of the VM icon

    OR if the scaling group is open, click the spanner maintenance symbol in the top right corner

To leave maintenance mode

  1. Click a maintenance button

To automatically manage maintenance mode

  1. Trigger action plans with the action "Scaling group: start maintenance mode" or "Scaling group: end maintenance mode".

To delete the base VM, you must delete the scaling group first. 




2.6. Display scaling actions for a scaling group

To display scaling actions of a scaling group:
  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → Virtual appliances → open virtual appliance
  2. If the scaling group is not in maintenance mode, click the cog maintenance symbol 
  3. Edit the scaling group and go to Autoscaling actions
  4. To show or hide more details of a scaling action, click Show more or Show less

You can also display all the elements created for the automatic scaling action in the relevent sections of the UI, such as the Alarms tab, and the Control view. 




2.7. Move a scaling group to another virtual appliance in the same virtual datacenter

To move a scaling group to another virtual appliance in the same virtual datacenter:
  1. Put the scaling group in maintenance mode
  2. Click the Move button
  3. Select the new virtual appliance




2.8. Restrict a scaling group

To move a scaling group to a restricted virtual appliance, do these steps:

  1. Click the cog or wrench maintenance symbol to put the scaling group into maintenance mode
  2. Click the cross arrows move button
  3. Select the checkbox to Move to a restricted virtual appliance, or 
    Select a restricted virtual appliance, or 
    Create a new VApp and select the Restrict virtual appliance checkbox



2.9. Delete a scaling group

When you delete a scaling group, the platform will place all the VMs in the virtual appliance as regular VMs and the scaling group constraints will no longer exist. 

To delete a scaling group:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → Virtual appliances
  2. Open the scaling group
  3. Click the wrench maintenance button to put the scaling group into maintenance mode
  4. Click the trash can delete button



2.10. Manage scaling groups with the API

API Documentation

For the Abiquo API documentation of this feature, see Abiquo API Resources and the page for this resource ScalingGroupsResource.




3. Alarms

3.1. Introduction to alarms

An alarm activates when a metric passes a certain threshold. If you imagine a dashboard for your metrics, alarms are like red lights that light up when conditions change, for example, when there is a problem. 

If you would like the platform to notify you when an alarm activates, create an Alert for it in Control view.

  • Alerts are a group of one or more alarms. They are like a worker monitoring a group of alarms; when all the lights for the group are lit up, then the worker takes action and activates the alert. Alerts can also trigger action plans to perform automated actions when their alarms activate. After you create an alert, create an action plan in Control view with the alert as a trigger.

You can create alarms for built-in VM metrics or scaling group metrics, as well as custom metrics created using the API for VMs, scaling groups, virtual appliances, and virtual datacenters. 

  • You cannot create alarms for cloned VMs that are part of a scaling group. This is because scaling groups have aggregate alarms that are associated with the base VM. 


3.2. Display alarms in virtual datacenters

To display alarms in virtual datacenters:
  1. Go to Virtual datacenters 
  2. Select a virtual datacenter or All virtual datacenters
  3. Go to Alarms



3.3. Create an alarm

Before you begin:
  1. Configure the metrics you will use in the alarm. See VM monitoring and metrics and Custom Metrics Resources.

To create an alarm:

Privilege: Access alarms section, Manage alarms

  1. Go to Virtual datacenter → Alarms
  2. Select virtual datacenter, virtual appliance, scaling group, or VM
  3. Click the Add + button in the top right hand corner
  4. Enter the alarm details

    Field

    Description

    Entity typeSelect an entity with metrics from the list on the left.
    Entity nameThe name of the entity
    Entity labelThe label of the entity, which for VMs is shown in the list on the left
    Entity iconThe icon that the platform displays in the UI for VMs and virtual appliances

    Name

    Name of the alarm with up to 128 characters. Alarm names must be unique for each metric

    DescriptionDescription of the alarm. Used together with the alarm name and VM name to identify the alarm, for example, when creating an alert
    MetricSelect one of the metrics available for the VM
    Metric unitThe unit of the metric. Read only
    Metric descriptionThe description of the metric. Read only
    DimensionWhen the metric has multiple dimensions, optionally select one or more dimensions. For example, if a VM has multiple hard disks, then the disk read bytes metric may have a dimension for each disk

    Last datapoints in period

    The number of datapoints that the platform will evaluate the metric during the elapsed time.

    If you request the evaluation of an alarm more frequently than metric data is collected by the platform or sent by the provider, then the alarm will not activate.

    We recommend that you create alarms with longer evaluation periods, for example, an average of 10 points over the last hour, so the transmission and collection intervals will not affect the activation of the alarm.

    Statistic

    Statistic that the platform will use for evaluating the alarm, which can be: average, maximum, minimum, sum, count, dev

    Formula

    Operator that the platform will use for evaluation of the alarm, for example, greater than. Values can be: notequal, greaterthan, greaterthanorequalto, lessthan, lessthanorequalto, trendup, trenddown

    Threshold

    Value that the platform will evaluate the alarm against, if appropriate

  5. Click Save

The platform will create the alarm for the metric. If you would like the platform to notify you when an alarm is triggered, create an Alert.

Troubleshooting alarms that do not trigger

  • Although the minimum value of the time period for alarm evaluation is 1 minute, the platform collects metrics data every 2 minutes by default but it can also be configured for each hypervisor or provider.
  • For the default configuration, to ensure that an alarm will activate, it should be evaluated at intervals of greater than 2 minutes.
  • In addition, each provider transmits metrics at different intervals, for example, with Amazon Basic monitoring, data is sent every 5 minutes, and with Advanced monitoring, every minute, whereas for vCloud, data is available on consultation.


For a scaling group, an alarm on a metric of the VM in the base workload will receive input from the metrics of all VMs in the scaling group. This means the base workload and/or the clone VMs. So an alarm for a scaling group can activate, even if the base workload is not deployed.

For API documentation about alarms on an entity, see the API documentation for the entity's resource. For example, for VMs, see VirtualMachinesResource.



3.4. Edit an alarm

When you edit an alarm, you cannot modify the metric or the entity.

When you edit an alarm, there is an extra field, "Active", that shows if the alarm is activated or not.

After you save the alarm, the platform will start to evaluate it again with new data when it receives the next set of metrics datapoints.





3.5. Delete an alarm

You can delete any alarm at any time, even if it is part of one or more alerts. The platform will not warn you that the alarm is used in an alert. However, you can check this in Control view. After you delete an alarm, you cannot recover it.

You can also remove an alarm from an alert.

Privilege: Access alarms section, Manage alarms, Manage alerts

To delete an alarm:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters or Infrastructure →  Alarms
  2. Select the alarm and delete it

To remove an alarm from an alert:

  1. Go to Control → Alerts → edit alert

  2. Select the alarm, click the delete button, and confirm
    The platform will remove it from this alert, but it will remain in all other alerts that it is associated with

If you delete a VM, the platform will delete any alarms associated with its metrics.




4. Alerts

4.1. Introduction to Alerts

Alerts are a group of one or more alarms. An alert can notify the user when it activates and it can also trigger action plans. An alert activates when all its alarms are activated. An alarm activates when a metric passes a certain threshold. 

If you imagine a dashboard for your metrics, alarms are like red lights that light up when conditions change, for example, when there is a problem. Alerts are like a worker monitoring a group of alarms; when all the lights for the group are lit up, then the worker takes action and activates the alert. 



4.2. Display Alerts

To display and manage alerts:
  1. Go to Control → Alerts


4.3. Create Alerts and Alarms

An alert will trigger when all its alarms are activated. You can use the alert to trigger actions. See Manage Action Plans.

Privilege: Access alerts section, Manage alerts

Before you begin:

  1. Retrieve VM built-in metrics, by editing VMs and enabling monitoring (see VM monitoring and metrics) or create custom metrics
  2. Optionally create metric alarms (see Manage cloud alarms and Infrastructure Alarms). You must add at least one alarm to be able to save the alert.

To create an alert:

  1. Go to ControlAlerts
  2. Click the + add button
  3. Enter the alert details and assign alarms as described below

  4. Click Save


Field

Description

Name

Name of the alert. The name can contain up to 128 characters

DescriptionDescribe the alert
MutedSelect this checkbox to disable action when the alert is activated
EmailList of email addresses to notify when the alert activates. Click Add email to save an address



Click the + add button to assign alarms to the alert.

You must assign at least one alarm to be able to save the alert. Select an existing alarm, or create a new alarm, and assign it to the alert. Repeat for the required alarms

You can filter the Alarms list by Metric and also if the alarm is Active or not. 



4.4. Remove alarms from alerts

You can delete any alarm at any time, even if it is part of one or more alerts. The platform will not warn you that the alarm is used in an alert. However, you can check this in Control view. After you delete an alarm, you cannot recover it.

You can also remove an alarm from an alert.

Privilege: Access alarms section, Manage alarms, Manage alerts

To delete an alarm:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters or Infrastructure →  Alarms
  2. Select the alarm and delete it

To remove an alarm from an alert:

  1. Go to Control → Alerts → edit alert

  2. Select the alarm, click the delete button, and confirm
    The platform will remove it from this alert, but it will remain in all other alerts that it is associated with

If you delete a VM, the platform will delete any alarms associated with its metrics.




5. Action plans

5.1. Introduction to Action plans

To enable more control over cloud operations, users can create action plans that will automatically run tasks on VMs and scaling groups, and to run general tasks. 

Action plans are an important automation functionality on the platform. They can combine general tasks with tasks that run on VMs and scaling groups in different providers and have multiple triggers including alerts from custom metrics or built-in metrics. Each VM or scaling group can have multiple action plans.



5.2. Display action plans

To display action plans:
  1. Go to Control → Action plans



5.3. Create an action plan

Before you create an action plan, consider the elements that you wish to automate with the action plan. Create VMs or scaling groups, fetch metrics, and create alarms and alerts.

To create an action plan:

  1. Go to Control → Action plans, and click the + add button 
  2. Enter the action plan details
  3. Add actions: 
    1. Click the + Add button
    2. Select a general action or select a VM or scaling group and a specific action type
    3. Enter parameters as described below

Put the actions in run order using the arrow buttons. Delete actions as required using the trash can button to the left of the action name.

General information



Field

Description

Name

The name of the action plan

DescriptionA description of the action plan

Actions


Action Notes and Parameters table

ActionNotes and Parameters
Virtual machine
Increase CPUvCPUs
Decrease CPUvCPUs. Not supported by hot-reconfigure. Check OS compatibility
Increase RAM
  • RAM
  • RAM unit of GB or MB
Decrease RAM
  • RAM. Not supported by hot-reconfigure. Check OS compatibility
  • RAM unit of GB or MB 
Resize disk
  • Amount
  • Disk unit of GB or MB
  • Selected disk
Instance
  • Name for Instance (clone) template. The platform will append the date to the name supplied
  • All disks or selected disks
Set hardware profileSelect from the available hardware profiles
General
Send email
  • Subject
  • Body
  • To (email addresses). Click the add + button to add an email address
  • Cc (copy to these addresses)
Send webhookSee webhook parameters table
Scaling group
Start maintenance


End maintenance
Scale in
Scale out

Webhook action attributes table


AttributeDescriptionRequiredDefault value
EndpointWhere to submit the requesttrue 
HTTP MethodThe type of request can be GET, POST, or PUTfalseGET
Expected HTTP status codeIf this status code is returned, continue running the action planfalse204 No Content
Request headersHeaders such as, secret, authentication, and content-typefalse 
Request contentRequest bodyfalse 


When you create actions on VMs also consider the following constraints.

  • User constraintse.g. allocation limits
  • Platform constraints: e.g. to create an instance, the VM must be deployed and powered off 
  • Hypervisor constraints: e.g. when using hot reconfigure on ESXi, you cannot decrement CPU or RAM

For the API, note that you can request the JSON schema for each action plan entry type from the API.
See: https://wiki.abiquo.com/api/latest/ActionPlansResource.html#list-action-plan-entry-templates


To run the action plan automatically, go to the Triggers tab and create an alert or schedule trigger. 




5.4. Run an action plan now

To run an action plan immediately to test it, do these steps:
  1. Go to Control → Action plans
  2. Select the action plan 
  3. On the Actions panel, click the Run action plan button  

Abiquo recommends that you run an action plan manually to test it before you create a trigger to run it automatically




5.5. Create a trigger for an action plan

The platform supports two types of triggers to run action plans: Alerts and Schedules.

To run your action plan based on metrics, select an existing alert with these steps:

  1. Go to Control → Action plans
  2. Select an action plan
  3. Below the Alerts panel, click the + add button
  4. Select an alert. For details about creating an alert, see Manage Alerts


To run your action plan automatically at selected dates and times, create a schedule trigger with these steps:

  1. Go to Control → Action plans
  2. Select an action plan
  3. Below the Schedules panel, click the + add button
  4. Enter the details of the schedule

  • To run the action plan at intervals of a fixed number of seconds within a set timeframe:
    1. Select an Interval schedule
    2. Enter the following parameters
      1. Interval seconds: the number of seconds from when the action plan excution starts to when it will start again
      2. Repeat count: the number of times to run the action plan. A value of 0 means repeat forever
      3. Start time: date and time
      4. End time: date and time
  1. After you create an interval schedule, the platform will display the execution count of how many times the action plan has run. If the repeat count is 0, the execution count is null
  • To run an action plan as specified using a Cron-type schedule, select an Advanced schedule and use the calendar selector.




5.6. Delete an action plan

If you delete an action plan, Abiquo will also delete the schedule associated with that action plan. 

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