CloudForms: One Ring to Rule Them All

Aug 13, 2015

My first formal introduction to Red Hat’s CloudForms product was during the last week of July at Red Hat’s first Partner Technical Exchange in Orlando. CloudForms is a robust, feature rich tool that can manage a number of different providers or back-end hypervisors including the ones provided within OpenStack as well as integration with some of the major commercial cloud providers. It can be used to provide a self-service portal, allowing end users, for example, to order virtual machines on demand, based on a catalogue of preconfigured virtual machine templates. It also contains a very powerful policy engine that allows for certain checks and balances to be put into place within part or across all of the managed environment. CloudForms has an extensive reporting system, which can provide visibility into all aspects of a managed environment.   Reports can even be generated to forecast future capacity requirements, which can be an excellent aide when helping to plan for future growth.

The Technical Exchange provided the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and spend 2.5 days in a hands-on lab using CloudForms, covering a wide range of features and functionality. In the past, I’ve only ever used endpoint-management solutions, to manage single vendor hypervisor environments: RHEV Manager to mange RHEV-H/KVM hypervisors, vCenter Server to manage ESXi hosts, System Center for Microsoft’s Hyper-V and so on. Coming from these tools, it was surprising to see how intuitive CloudForms was in managing these different environments. The interface was clean, easy to use and provided a consistent management experience across different backend providers. Sometimes a product’s marketing material isn’t equal to the hands-on product experience and often times a product can be more attractive on paper than in the real world.  This wasn’t the case with CloudForms. It’s a very easy to use, flexible product that customers can use to go from siloed, multi-vendor virtualization technologies into a modernized cloud-based computing environment using one single interface to manage everything and includes all of the bells and whistles.

HighVail specializes in building Open Hybrid Cloud Infrastructures using the OpenStack framework. Tools like Red Hat CloudForms provide the basis of a management stack to support provisioning and the on-going visibility across operational and functional areas.  For more information, please contact or call us at 416-867-3000 to start the conversation around how HighVail can help with your cloud initiatives.

Written by Matt Siemens,
Technical Architect, Highvail Systems Inc.