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CliQr CloudCenter 4.0, It’s Here!

The CliQr team is proud to announce the general availability of CloudCenter’s most recent major version, 4.0.

Today we announce the release of CloudCenter 4.0. This release makes it even easier for businesses to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud while achieving new levels of flexibility, visibility and control.

For those familiar with CloudCenter, the new User Interface (UI) streamlines user and admin workflows to optimize efficiency. And a wide range of feature enhancements, new cloud support, architectural improvements, and expanded API delivers significant improvements over previous versions.

See this What’s new in 4.0 video or read details below.

For those new to CloudCenter

4.0 delivers a unique application-defined cloud management solution with one profile that includes both application stack and infrastructure requirements, and one platform that works across datacenter, private and public cloud environments.

See this video series of “Day in the life” to watch a user deploy an application profile, another user model an application profile, and an admin set up AWS cloud and a new user with governance rules. Or read the CloudCenter Brochure.

What’s new with 4.0

Working closely with our customers, we continue to build out CloudCenter features to simplify cloud management with our unique application-defined approach. The enhancements you’ll find in this release include a new user interface, extended API commands and simpler administration.

Role-Based GUI

  • New user interface: The 4.0 release marks the release of a simplified UI for administrators and a fresh look for end users. The majority of the changes in the new UI are in the admin area, where items have been re-organized and re-worked in order to simplify the flow of configuration. You’ll notice improvements specifically when setting up clouds, plans, bundles, and subtenants. Your end users will still be able to carry out their tasks just as they did before, except through a fresh UI that simplifies their use of CloudCenter with the toolbar on the left.
  • Updated glossary of terms: During the UI update, we simplified and added consistency to terms used throughout the product.

Applications

  • Deprecation of shared storage functionality: The shared storage functionality has been deprecated in favor of utilizing existing customer code repositories. This gives you the ability to manage repositories of code using tools you already use across your organization, instead of having dispersed locations and methods. CliQr recommends that in preparation for moving to CloudCenter 4.0, that customers convert to using the repository method of deploying applications as soon as possible. During the upgrade to 4.0, a prerequisite checker will run to confirm that no applications are still dependent on shared storage. If there are, the application name will be displayed so that it can be addressed before continuing with the upgrade
  • Application profile zip packages: CliQr has built the functionality to read all necessary application files and scripts from one package. Without this, using a repository would be difficult since often scripts will reference and call other scripts. At no point in the process would a file usually be able to call back to the repository for the referenced files, so the installation would end up failing. Now, you have the ability to load all WARs, scripts, etc into one zip file, place it into a repository, reference the scripts in the application profile relative to the zip file and CliQr will broker the references within them.
  • Support multiple network interface cards (NIC): Some images require more than one NIC to work, to that end, CliQr has added the ability to increase the amount of NICs through altering an image.
  • Network speed removed from application profile:  CliQr has removed the network speed field from the hardware specs area in the application profile template.
  • Parameterize repository hostname: You are now able to use CliQr parameters within repository hostname field so that you can connect to cloud or region specific repositories
  • Storage as a service for job-based apps: CliQr now allows job-based applications (ie: Hadoop, etc) to consume storage as a service. When deploying these applications, you will have the option to select an already existing storage device.
  • Cross-network web-based SSH/VNC/RDP: VMs that you previously had to connect to using a multi-homed jump box or complex routing rules is now accessible via your web browser due to updated architecture that includes a RabbitMQ server.

Architecture

  • RabbitMQ AMQP requirement: in 4.0, the architecture has changed in order to support more complex application network architectures like, private networks that the orchestrator cannot access. To support this use case, CliQr has added a requirement for a RabbitMQ AMQP server to be co-located with each orchestrator server. AMQP stands for “advanced message queue protocol” and is a messaging server that holds messages for other systems to pick up and do work.
  • CliQr agent now Jetty based: The CliQr agent that is installed on every CliQr-managed virtual machine will be updated in this release to no longer be a Java process, but instead will move to be a web application running in a Jetty Container.
  • LDAP removed from Orchestrator: In previous releases, shared storage required LDAP functionality in each Orchestrator for authentication. As shared storage has been deprecated and no other CliQr services are using LDAP from the orchestrator, the LDAP service has been removed. If you’re upgrading your orchestrator from a previous version, LDAP will remain on the orchestrator, but the agents will not use it.
  • Remove AWS R53 requirement: Previously, each deployed VM in AWS required a connection to DNS. If you didn’t provide one, then the VM would require an internet connection so that it could use a CliQr supplied Amazon R53 DNS. This is no longer required in order to provision a VM. R53 can still be used, but is not required.

Clouds and Integrations

  •  New Cloud Support: newly supported clouds that you can manage with CliQr just like any of the other supported clouds are:
    • AWS GovCloud
    • Cisco UCS-Director
    • CloudStack 4.0
  • Integration with Cisco ACI: Deploy full application stacks along with dynamic networking and security.

Administration and Governance

  • Advanced Reporting: In order to limit the dependency on external reporting and database view utilization, a new advanced reporting tool lets you see all the deployments and then apply filters to the data to slice and dice it based on cloud, tags, users, application, and time constraints.
  • OpenStack instance type sync: Adds functionality to automatically sync the Instance Types and Images from Openstack. There is no longer any manual typing of instance types and image IDs, which could potentially be error prone.
  • Agent auto-upgrade: Due to the agent code base changing, the agent will need to be updated in all deployed applications in order to continue working properly.To update the agent, you have two options:
    1. If the machine is a server that can be shutdown, after you’ve upgraded to 4.0, shut down the deployed applications and re-start them. The new deployments will get the updated agent installed on them
    2. On the other hand, if stopping workloads is not an option because the machine is in production or for some other reason, then you should wait until 4.1 when CliQr releases a script to update all running agents, in-place.
  • Cloud Init based dynamic agent bootstrapping: Cloud images that don’t have the CliQr agent baked into them will now use Cloud Init process to install the agent. This method was previously done on AWS, but has now been extended to clouds like Azure, openstack. This allows us to do cross-network and isolated bootstrapping of the agent for machines that might not have direct access to the Orchestrator.
  • Dynamic image permissions on OpenStack: With the new dynamic image permission functionality, if Images are hosted in an account that’s different than the one that is provisioning, the provisioning account can be given access to the required images for the short time that the machines are being provisioned
  • VM name callouts: You can now name the machines the way you want. It’s important to note that certain clouds will behave differently. For example, AWS does not allow you to really ever change the name of the machine, but we allow you to set the name tag of the machine.

Security

  • Key management and persistent private keys: To have your cloud resources use your own corporate keys, simply enter them during the deployment process in the advanced area. It’s important to note that these keys will be applied to a user called “cliqruser”. Similar to users connecting to machines, sometimes machines need access to each other as well. CliQr can now support that by creating a persisting private key or by using one provided.

API

CLI

  • CLI: The CloudCenter CLI continues to be able to be used with the 4.0 version.

Additional Resources related to CloudCenter 4.0:

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