Adventures in IBM Systems Director in System P environment. Part 7 : Introduction to Smart Cloud Entry

If you’ve read the 6 previous parts of this series of post you can understand that managing Power Systems through VMControl and IBM System Director is not so easy. Nobody wants to have to type ugly long command lines with puzzling parameters that nobody understands. Nobody wants to check everything is OK on the Virtual I/O Servers, on the Systems Director, on the Storage side, and so on. It’s obvious, customers and administrators just want to deploy new servers, they want to do it quickly and it has to be easy. If you’ve read the previous parts you know that our VMcontrol is ready to deploy servers. The next step is to add on top of this the Smart Cloud Entry. It answer to all the questions below by letting you deploying new servers by using a nice a clear web interface. Smart Cloud Entry has one strength, it’s easy to deploy, easy to use, easy to manage, it’s EASY. This post will not be very technical but will show what you can do with Smart Cloud Entry. This is the last brick of a full automatized and virtualized environment. This is for me the result of one year of hard work trying to understand every brick of this configuration (this is the result of my “after hours work”, these posts and these configurations were written and designed between 18h30 and 22h, I mentioning this because this does not take place in my every day work and my boss do not ask me to do this. This is pure passion)

Installation, configuration, update

Installation

Installing Smart Cloud Entry is pretty easy. Just download the source package for your IBM Entitled Software page, and get the latest updates on FixCentral. In my case I have two files : ESD_-_IBM_SmartCloud_Entry_for_Power_V2.4.0_102012.tar.gz for the base installation package and 2.4.0.3-IBM-SCE-FP003-201304241341.zip for the update. Extract the base installation package and run the installer :

# gunzip ESD_-_IBM_SmartCloud_Entry_for_Power_V2.4.0_102012.tar.gz
# tar xf ESD_-_IBM_SmartCloud_Entry_for_Power_V2.4.0_102012.tar
# cd ESD_-_IBM_SmartCloud_Entry_for_Power_V2.4.0_102012/install/power/aix
# sh sce240_aix_installer.bin
Preparing to install...
Extracting the JRE from the installer archive...
Unpacking the JRE...
Extracting the installation resources from the installer archive...
Configuring the installer for this system's environment...

Launching installer...

===============================================================================
Choose Locale...
----------------

    1- Deutsch
  ->2- English
[..]
Preparing CONSOLE Mode Installation...

Accept License Agreement :

===============================================================================
License Agreement
-----------------

Installation and Use of IBM SmartCloud Entry Requires Acceptance of the
Following License Agreement:

International Program License Agreement

Part 1 - General Terms
[..]
DO YOU ACCEPT THE TERMS OF THIS LICENSE AGREEMENT? (Y/N):

Choose the destination folder. My advice is to create a filesystem dedicated to Smart Cloud Entry by default it goes under /opt/ibm but I’m using /app/sce filesystem to avoid filling /opt filesystem. Please note that I’m using the same folder for the properties files :

===============================================================================
Choose Property File Install Folder
-----------------------------------

Please choose a destination folder for the property files.

Where Would You Like to Install the Property Files? (DEFAULT: /root): /app/sce


===============================================================================
Pre-Installation Summary
------------------------

Please Review the Following Before Continuing:

Property File Install Folder:
    /app/sce/.SCE24/

Install Folder:
    /app/sce/SCE24

Disk Space:
    Free: 6497 MB Required: 765 MB



PRESS  TO CONTINUE:

===============================================================================
Installing...
-------------

 [==================|==================|==================|==================]
 [------------------|------------------|------------------|------------------]

 ===============================================================================
Install Finished
----------------

Define the password for the Smart Cloud Entry administrator :

===============================================================================
Add Configuration Values
------------------------

Changing these properties is optional. All options can be changed post install in  /app/list/sce/product/.SCE24/authentication.properties.  Press  to accept the default value.

Initial admin user name (DEFAULT: admin):

Initial admin name (DEFAULT: SmartCloud Entry Administrator):




===============================================================================
Add Configuration Values
------------------------


Initial administrator password:



===============================================================================
Add Configuration Values
------------------------


Verify initial administrator password:



===============================================================================
IBM SmartCloud Entry has been successfully installed
----------------------------------------------------

IBM SmartCloud Entry has been successfully installed to:

   /app/sce/SCE24

If you choose to create a silent install response file, it will be located in this directory.

    1- Create Silent Install Response File
  ->2- Do Not Create Silent Install Response File

ENTER THE NUMBER FOR YOUR CHOICE, OR PRESS  TO ACCEPT THE DEFAULT::

Update

The way to update Smart Cloud Entry is weird, you have to launch an osgi console and add a repository (the update has to be located in this directory). Then run the installupdates command :

# mkdir 2.4.0.3-IBM-SCE-FP003-201304241341
# mv 2.4.0.3-IBM-SCE-FP003-201304241341.zip 2.4.0.3-IBM-SCE-FP003-201304241341
# cd 2.4.0.3-IBM-SCE-FP003-201304241341
# unzip 2.4.0.3-IBM-SCE-FP003-201304241341.zip
# /app/sce/SCE24/skc
osgi> version
2.4.0.0-201208290130
osgi> addrepo file:/app/sce/2.4.0.3-IBM-SCE-FP003-201304241341
SmartCloud Entry update repository added
osgi> installupdates
SmartCloud Entry updates to install:
        com.ibm.cfs.product 2.4.0.0-201208290130 ==> com.ibm.cfs.product 2.4.0.3-201304241341
SmartCloud Entry update done
osgi> exit

Re-run Smart Cloud Entry and check the version has been correctly updated :

# /app/list/sce/product/SCE24/skc
osgi> version
2.4.0.3-201304241341
[08/26/13 14:01:11:529] 00000 INFO: IBM SmartCloud Entry 2.4.0.3-201304241341 is being initialized. - com.ibm.cfs.app.osgi.internal.Autostarter.start
[08/26/13 14:01:13:719] 00001 INFO: CYX5052I: Metering services are disabled by the administrator. - com.ibm.cfs.services.metering.impl.internal.MeteringServicesImpl.start
[08/26/13 14:01:13:728] 00001 INFO: CYX1223I: Current logging levels: default=FINE - com.ibm.cfs.app.osgi.internal.LoggingCommandProvider.logCurrentLevels
[08/26/13 14:01:13:732] 00001 INFO: *** IBM SmartCloud Entry 2.4.0.3-201304241341 is ready (startup time 00:16.450) ***  - com.ibm.cfs.app.impl.internal.CFSImpl.startup
[08/26/13 14:01:14:756] 00005 INFO: CYX4391I: Billing services have been disabled by the administrator. - com.ibm.cfs.services.billing.BillingServicesFactoryImpl.isBillingEnabled

Start Smart Cloud Entry at boot

The only way I’ve find to start Smart Cloud Entry at server boot is to add an entry in inittab with the -nosplash option :

# mkitab "skc:2:once:/app/list/sce/product/SCE24/skc -nosplash"
# tail -1 /etc/inittab
skc:2:once:/app/list/sce/product/SCE24/skc -nosplash

If you want to access the osgi console without re-running skc add a port number after the -console stanza in the skc.ini file :

# head -10 /app/sce/SCE24/skc.ini
-vm
jre/bin/java
-console
7777
-clean
# telnet localhost 7777
Trying...
Connected to loopback.
Escape character is '^]'.

osgi>

Accessing the web interface

Access Smart Cloud Entry web interface through this url (replace the hostname by yours) : http://pa000sce1.domain.local:8080/cloud/web/login.html.

Adding a new cloud to Smart Cloud Entry

Adding a VMControl Cloud to Smart Cloud Entry is really easy, just point to your IBM Systems Director server, enter your login and password (in my case I’m using my user and password, but my advice is to create a Smart Cloud Entry user on the Systems Director). Be sure you can resolve the IBM Systems Director server with your DNS server and check your firewall rules (TCP 8422) if Smart Cloud Entry and IBM Systems Director are not installed on the same network (this is my case and this is much easier to do this) :


Once the cloud has been correctly added you should see its status at the right of your screen, if everything is fine the status should be ok (like my image). This is it, your VMControl cloud is ready to use. You can now deploy/create/capture servers, easy isn’t it ? Be sure to select the right version of VMControl when adding the cloud. You can check your VMControl version by logging on your IBM Systems Director server and by checking in the GUI (didn’t find any command to check this by using the Systems Director cli …).

No DHCP : network pool creation

I’m not using any DHCP server. Smart Cloud Entry is smart and let you defining a pool of IP addresses by hand, this is very useful and easy to setup. While most of Cloud Managing tools force you to use DHCP, Smart Cloud Entry give you the choice. For my own use I’ve defined a pool with a bunch of addresses in the VLAN served by my Virtual I/O Server (be careful to set the network id to match you Shared Ethernet Adapter configuration)

One more time Smart Cloud Entry let you the choice in everything, while defining a network you’ll have to choose to define a range of addresses or a single IP, in the example below a range of addresses was created.

Even better, when an IP address is in use this one is defined as utilized. You can also lock an IP and Smart Cloud Entry will never use it. For instance do not use the five last IP of a range (these ones are reserved for the network team). This example tells you how Smart Cloud Entry is flexible.

Deploying Virtual Appliance

Deploying a Virtual Appliance is one of the easiest things to do in Smart Cloud Entry. Just select the Virtual Appliance from the list and choose deploy. Two modes are available, “basic”, and “advanced”, in advanced mode you can choose the hostname, redefine processor and memory settings, and define an expiration date. Be careful when setting an expiration date the workload will be totally deleted after the expiration :


While deploying a Virtual Appliance, you can check the Workload summary, one of the Workload will be “In transition”. Logs can be checked too while the Virtual Appliance is deploying.



After a successful creation, the Workload has a green ok button next to its name, you can also check in the resource that you now have less resources …


Approval, Accounting, Metering, …

By default Approval, Accounting (billing), and Metering functions are not enabled, by enabling theses features Smart Cloud Entry will have access to new functionality. I’m not an expert for this part but I’ll tell you how to enable it and what is the purpose of each one and gives you a few screenshots :

  • Approval : you can choose to approve all Smart Cloud Entry events. For instance each time a workload will be initiated the Smart Cloud Entry Administrator will receive a mail and have to approve the workload initiation, this one will be pending until the administrator approve it. The Approval policies can be configured from the web interface in the Cloud configuration tab :

  • Accounting : by enabling accounting, you’ll have the right to create accounts for you users, accounts are linked to a username and allows you to define each user credits. By creating and running appliances users will have to pay, and their current credits will decrease over time :
  • # cd /app/sce/SCE24
    # cp billing.properties billing.properties.$(date +%s)
    # sed s/com.ibm.cfs.billing.enabled=false/com.ibm.cfs.billing.enabled=true/ billing.properties.1377519521 > billing.properties
    # grep com.ibm.cfs.billing.enabled billing.properties
    com.ibm.cfs.billing.enabled=true
    

  • Metering : Enabling metering allow Smart Cloud Entry to calculate the resource usage of every appliance and of every user. The billing is calculated from the data collected by the metering :
  • # cp metering.properties metering.properties.$(date +%s)
    # sed "s/com.ibm.cfs.metering.enabled=false/com.ibm.cfs.metering.enabled=true/" metering.properties.1377519318 > metering.properties
    # grep com.ibm.cfs.metering.enabled metering.properties
    com.ibm.cfs.metering.enabled=true
    

Other features, conclusion

Smart Cloud Entry allows you to capture, suspend, resume, stop, start and resume a workload. You can also modify its size (Processor and memory). Smart Cloud Entry can also be used with VMware and PureSystems but I’ve not tested it myself . In my opinion it is a user-friendly interface to VMcontrol, simple to use, and simple to manage. This is the way a cloud software should be, light and easy to use. It sure can’t answer to all your problems but I’m sure it can fits most customers who wants a cloud. Smart Cloud Entry do a few things but it do it well.