Abiquo 5.2

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This Abiquo Cloud Walkthrough describes Abiquo concepts and guides users through some basic steps to get started, so if you have access to the platform, you can follow along. 

Virtual datacenters

To work with the cloud platform, you will use virtual datacenters (VDCs) to access your cloud resources and provision new virtual environments. In a virtual datacenter you can work with virtual resources, including network infrastructure, external storage systems, backups, security, and so on. A virtual datacenter also has the advantages of cloud computing:

  • Virtualization
  • Pay-as-you-go billing
  • Quick scalability
  • Technology and hardware abstraction.

A virtual datacenter offers datacenter infrastructure as a service, so you can run your applications more cheaply and with greater flexibility. In your VDC, you will find compute resources and other resources, such as volumes and public IPs, that you an attach to your VMs. Each VDC has similar features and functionality and each VDC belongs to a private cloud datacenter or public cloud region. In private cloud, a VDC uses a hypervisor of one type only and in public cloud, a VDC can be created by the provider, e.g. in AWS a VDC corresponds to a VPC, or by the platform. 

Screenshot: In the Virtual datacenters view, with the V. Datacenters list and the Virtual appliances tab that contains virtual appliance cards, open a virtual appliance

Virtual appliances

Within your virtual datacenter, virtual appliances (VApps) are folders that contain groups of VMs. When you open a VDC, you will probably see one or more virtual appliances. And you can create more virtual appliances of your own to organize groups of related VMs.

Within your virtual appliance folders, you can easily create VMs by dragging and dropping VM templates (or by double-clicking on the VM templates). And if your environment supports virtual appliance specifications (VApp specs), to create a virtual appliance from a saved configuration,  you can just select one of these blueprints.

 Click here to show/hide the task: Create virtual appliance
  1. Open the cloud Virtual datacenters view. It should open at the Virtual appliances tab
  2. Select the virtual datacenter you want to deploy a virtual appliance in
  3. Click the + add button at the bottom of the the Virtual Appliances tab
  4. Enter the details of the virtual appliance
  5. Click on Open or the virtual appliance Name to enter the virtual appliance editor. A virtual appliance will not do anything unless you add at least one VM template to it
  6. Click the Create virtual machine button. You can now select from the VM templates that are ready to be deployed.
    Simply double-click a template to create a VM with the default label, or click once and enter your own friendly name for the your VM

Deploy to launch your VMs

When you deploy a virtual appliance, the platform launches and starts up all the VMs. You can also deploy individual VMs. When you deploy a VM, the platform copies the system disk images to the hypervisor and uses the VM template definition and user configuration to create the VM.

 Click here to show/hide the task: Deploy virtual appliance containing a group of VMs

To start the virtual appliance, click the Deploy virtual appliance button in the top right-hand corner of the Virtual machines panel.

This will deploy and start the VMs in the virtual appliance. You can also deploy virtual appliances using the controls that appear when a virtual appliance is selected in the virtual datacenter view.  When the Virtual appliance is deployed, the Deploy button becomes an Undeploy button or a Deploy all VMs button. To destroy all the VMs and all your data on the hard disks, click the Undeploy button.

Screenshot: Deployed VMs in a virtual appliance

Monitor a VM

Your environment may have VM monitoring configured by default, in which case you can open the virtual appliance's Monitoring tab to view metrics. And you can select the metrics to display and create alarms for VM metrics when you edit the VM. 

 Click here to show/hide the task: Monitor a VM

To monitor a VM

  1. Log in to the platform as an enterprise user
  2. Open the configuration of a deployed VM
  3. Mark the checkbox to Retrieve metrics
  4. Select the metrics you wish to retrieve
  5. Save the virtual machine configuration
  6. Open the monitoring view; the metrics should be displayed. You can also filter the display.

You can retrieve and display metrics to monitor the performance of your VM.


Copy VM disks to create an Instance template 

An Abiquo instance is a copy of the selected disks of a VM at a given time that is stored as a VM template. In private cloud with hypervisors, the platform saves the disks and a copy of the original template definition, unless the VM was captured from outside Abiquo, in which case it saves the configuration of the VM. In private cloud, the platform stores the instance with the original (master) template in the Apps library. In public cloud, the instance template should be available directly in the Apps library.

 Click here to show/hide the task: Create an instance template
  1. Open a virtual appliance
  2. Shut down the VMs you want to copy the disks from to make the instance. For each VM, click the stop or 'power button' and if your VM has the appropriate configuration (VM tools), select the option to shut down the VM. Otherwise, you can connect directly to the VM to perform a graceful shutdown, or select the option to perform a hard power off.  
  3. From the virtual appliance options menu, select Create instance
  4. Select one of the VMs to instance
  5. Select the disks
    • If you want to create more instances, select Keep window open
  6. Click Create Instance. The platform will lock the VM to create the instance
    • If you kept the dialog open, click Back to list and create more instances as required, then close the dialog

In private cloud, to use an instance template to create a VM, select the master template that was used to create the VM. The platform will display a list of the instances for you to select from. In public cloud, you can select the instance directly because it is at the same level as the master templates.

Change the configuration of a deployed VM

You can configure VMs before you deploy them, and if your environment supports "reconfigure" operations, you can also configure them after they are deployed. For example, you can add memory and CPU, and additional network interfaces or storage, as well as configuring remote access. If your environment and operating system supports hot-add and hot-reconfigure, you can change the configuration while the VM is powered on. Otherwise, you will need to shut the VM down before you make any changes. 

Screenshot: Reconfigure a VM, General Information

  • Connecting your VMs: If you don’t configure a network interface card (NIC) before you deploy your VM, the platform will configure a default one. You can add NICs to your VMs to add IPs in a private network for communication within the VDC, or another type of network with access outside the VDC, as configured by your administrator.
  • Add hard disks to save your data:  Hard disks on the hypervisor datastore are not persistent and when the user undeploys the virtual appliance, the hard disks are destroyed. To create a hard disk, edit the VM and go to the Storage tab.
 Click here to show/hide the task: Reconfigure a VM
  1. To change VM settings, from the VM options menu, select Edit.
  2. The VM edit dialog will open. On the General tab, enable remote access, obtain the password and optionally increase CPU and/or RAM. Also make a note of the SSH user and password if they are available.
  3. On the Network tab, go to Private and select the default_private_network
  4. Add an IP address or add the "Auto-generated IP" tag to the VM
  5. Remove the original IP address (so as to not have two IP addresses on the same network)
  6. On the Storage tab, add a hard disk by clicking the + add button at the bottom of the top of the page
  7. Enter appropriate values for a disk in your environment and click Save.

Connect to your VMs

You can connect to VMs on most hypervisors and providers using VNC (or RDP) by clicking the console button on the VM control panel. To connect in public cloud, before you deploy your VM, you will need to store your SSH public key in your user account. And in some platforms you will need to enter your telephone number in your user account for connecting to the VM using SSH or RDP. See Edit your user account details

 Click here to show/hide the task: Connect to a VM
  1. Obtain the login credentials for the VM, which may be assigned to the VM template.
  2. Select the VM and on the VM control panel, near Remote access, click Show password to obtain the password. (You may also be able to obtain the login credentials from here).
  3. To open a remote access window, click the console icon on the left-hand side of the control panel buttons.
  4. Enter the remote access password.
  5. At the VM login prompt, enter the VM login credentials.

Make changes to a running virtual appliance

Sometimes you will have a VM that is deployed, while another is not deployed. For example, when you add new VMs or deploy only one VM out of a group. This means that the virtual appliance is deployed but not synchronized with the hypervisor or provider. So the Deploy virtual appliance button changes to become Deploy all VMs button. To deploy the VM(s) that are not allocated, click this button. If you need to remove VMs while the virtual appliance is in this state, you can undeploy or delete individual VMs.

To destroy a standard VM in the hypervisor, undeploy it. The platform will maintain the configuration of the undeployed VM until you delete it.  If you deploy the VM again, the platform copies the template again from the Apps library. And any changes you made to the configuration and the disks are lost.