Orchestrating your Private Cloud

In my last post I covered the process of seting up a private cloud. Ok, so now we have the darn thing up and running, and the big question remains, how do we sell it to our internal and external customers?

As with all things you must give the people what they want and they will come, and only thereafter you can sell them what they yet don't know they need. So, in Anno Domini 2014 the customers crave virtualisation because then they can continue using their familiar legacy environmets.

Fortunately SmartOS have KVM feature that supports virtualisation of most types of OS'es, which is all fine, but how can you provide that all important self-service to your customers? most of our end users are command line impared, so what we really need is a fancy GUI that will enable customers to easily create and manage their virtual machines on a wholesale basis.

There are currently only two such cloud orchestration products available, the first is Joyents propritary solution the SmartDataCenter, which is a complete enterprise solution, and then Project FiFo which also is enterprise (like) and at that also open-source.






The choise was fairly simple for us, since we time being can't justify the purchase of a copy of Joyents SmartDataCenter, we are left with only Project FiFo. We downloaded version 0.4.1 - "Hopping Husky" and the installation was simple and straight forward, and we had a usable GUI up and running in absolutely no time.

FiFo want's to do everything you would ever need when you have a private cloud to manage.... except serving virtual machine images. What FiFo does instead, is to connect to e.g. datasets.at and datasets.joyent.com but none of those servers offer Windows images for obvious license reasons, since our marketing stategy is to proliferate our private cloud among Windows developers too, we need to create our own image server.

If you wan't to make your own image server there are two alternatives. The first solution is suggested by Joyent Creating a Poor Man's Image Server, but FiFo is only compatible with the new API so this solution is not workable. The second alternative is Setting up a local Dataset API repository for SmartOS (dsapi) the setup is fairly simple and straight forward.

The only minor complaint about this image server is that it is using memory ad libitum, you need to allocate memory that is twice the size of your image file. In our case we have a 8Gb Windows Server 2012 image, so we need to permanently allocate 16 Gb of RAM, which is kind of a waste of memory.


Now we have our private cloud completely up and running, and everyone is happy. Above is a picture of me (left) with one of our numerous happy users.. to be continued.

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