During the first quarter of 2018 SIM-Networks introduced a series of planned improvements to SIM-Cloud – the company’s flagship cloud product. The planned improvements were launched in the productive environment in early April, completing the list. This means that we can now announce the updates that have been performed - to the latest base version, SIM-Cloud 3.0.
This is what has changed in the high-availability, highly resilient public SIM-Cloud 3.0. and these are the new opportunities that have opened up for its users:
1. OPENSTACK PLATFORM
The cloud-based SIM-Cloud IaaS was previously based on a constantly evolving complex of OpenStack projects. For SIM-Cloud 3.0, the Newton release has bee replaced by Ocata. The overall development objectives for the new version of OpenStack were entirely traditional - to ward off potential vulnerabilities and to increase the security of working in the cloud. In the Ocata release, particular attention was given to the stability of OpenStack and the development of its individual microservices. These are:
- Nova - a tool for managing hypervisors, and a support for the Cells v2 scaling mechanism;
- Neutron - a network infrastructure management tool;
- Cinder - a block storage medium - API refactoring for management (connection/disconnecting) of volumes and creating the basis for the operation of multi-attach functionality (allowing disks and various other virtual machines to be connected simultaneously);
- Keystone - an identification service that creates the basis for multifactor authentication (MFA rules).
2. UPDATED QEMU-KVM HYPERVISOR
The main improvements made to the new QEMU v. 2.10:
- For virtio-blk devices, support has been added for multi-queue operation;
- For virtio-net/vhost-net devices, support has been added for polling (periodically checking the status), which enables a reduction of the load by avoiding the generation of interruptions;
- Support for connecting failure handlers in guest systems that enable certain problems to be resolved automatically (without emergency shutdown of the guest system and the resultant errors).
3. NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CLIENT FOR DEPLOYING VERTUAL NETOWRKS IN THE SIM-CLOUD
3.1 1 If a virtual machine in the cloud is assigned a fixed IP address and this results in failure, after recovery from the image it may (in some cases) be reconfigured with a different IP address and thus become unavailable. Previously, a client had to consult technical support in order to recover the correct configuration. This problem is resolved simply in SIM-Cloud 3.0: the client can lease a free floating IP address from the provider’s pool for its virtual machine. In the event of VM failure, the client can manually reassign this IP address that is linked to it to another of its virtual machines (that is on standby and ready for operation) and can thereby continue normal processing with minimum downtime. If the floating IP address is no longer required, the client can ‘release’ it and return it to the provider’s pool.
The changeover in SIM-Cloud 3.0 from fixed to floating IP addresses offers new possibilities for users:
- Optional purchase of a block of fixed sequential IPv4 addresses of public subnets for use in their private network;
- Autoconfiguration of client networks in the cloud using DHCP.
Note: DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is a dynamic node configuration network protocol that enables computers to automatically receive the IP address and other necessary parameters for operating in TCP/IP networks.
3.2 During the process of updating SIM-Cloud 3.0, the contributors/creators of Linux offered their new distributions with script templates (cloud-init) for automation on deployment (execution of specified settings, searches for software updates and other preparatory activities, in accordance with the deployment scenario):
3.3 For the convenience of users, useful changes were also made to the SIM-Cloud dashboard, used by the client to manage their cloud infrastructure:
- The security groups tool was moved to the ‘Network’ section;
- The ‘Computing Resources’ section was divided into two subsections:
- Key Pairs: the configuration of secure authentication for accessing instances using ssh keys;
- API access, containing access parameters to the API cloud interface for more flexible management and access to settings and functionality that have not yet been implemented on the SIM-Cloud dashboard (web interface).
4. RELIABLE DATA STORAGE
As in the past, SIM-Cloud 3.0 uses a high-speed 56 Gbit Infiniband dial-up network with FAT TREE topology from Mellanox for data exchange with storage. The system of data storage is Ceph-based, with high robustness thanks to the replication (copying) of data and a mechanism for rebalancing data sets when deleting nodes (failures) or adding new nodes to the network (recovery).
5. UPDATED BAAS SERVICE IN SIM-CLOUD
5.1 Significantly (by a factor of 2-3) increased disk recovery speed from backups. This increase in productivity was achieved by optimising the configuration of the data storage system. As before, the cloud-based backup service is only accessible for projects located in the SIM-Cloud.
5.2 The new release offers possibilities for effective use of disk metadata.
5.3 New options for users are now available: in addition to the popular BaaS remote service that allows data storage in a remote data centre, an alternative ‘BaaS local’ option now offers local data backup storage (in the data centre in which the client’s virtual machines are deployed). It is clear that the recovery of images to readiness for execution from local storage is significantly faster than where the data is supplied from outside via communication channels.
On the other hand, remote storage of backup data is regarded as more secure and disaster-proof. The choice between these two BaaS options in SIM-Cloud is up to the client.
The OpenStack platform is being continually improved and the same is the case for SIM-Cloud. Development of our flagship product rests on the principle of continuous delivery, which determines the speed, quality and continuity of the updates we make available. In other words, as we announce the release of SIM-Cloud 3.0, we are already working on the releases that will follow, with new functionality and updates to the existing functionality in the cloud. Show your appreciation for the updates in SIM-Cloud and look out for our announcements!