UCS 4.0 introduces the cloud connection to OpenStack and Amazon EC2. In this post, I’d like to share some details about what it is and how it fits into our idea of virtual machine management.

Virtual Machine Management in UCS

Univention Corporate Server (UCS) delivers a module called “UCS Virtual Machine Manager (UVMM)” for the management of virtual machines in a local UCS-based virtualization infrastructure. With UCS, users have the possibility to extend their server hardware to a virtualization server. Virtual machines on those servers are managed by UVMM, e.g. create, start, stop, pause and terminate. UVMM enables customers to create simple virtualization infrastructures and manage them centrally without extra costs for UCS utilizing the hypervisor technology KVM.

New in UCS 4.0 – Cloud Connection to OpenStack and Amazon EC2

Univention Virtual Machine Manager managing Amazon EC2 ImagesThe management capabilities of UVMM are extended fundamentally with UCS 4.0 and support the cloud computing environments OpenStack and Amazon EC2. OpenStack is an open architecture for cloud computing that consists of several components and uses the KVM hypervisor. Amazon EC2 is part of the Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing offering by Amazon that uses the XEN hypervisor.

Users of UVMM in UCS 4.0 can create connections to OpenStack environments or EC2 to start and stop or create new virtual instances from templates. UVMM supports OpenStack by default. The support for EC2 can by added by installing the separate app “Amazon EC2 Cloud Connection” via Univention App Center. The screenshot shows the UVMM overview page with one physical server and four configured cloud connections.

Virtualization does not only happen in the customers’ local infrastructure anymore. Customers increasingly take advantage of offerings by cloud service providers, who operate the OpenStack technology. Each virtualization is often considered and managed on its own and provides its own tools. Following the claim “IT as easy as IT should be”, UVMM in UCS 4.0 centralizes the management of the local virtualization infrastructure and of cloud computing environments and offers the user a uniform view on his entire virtualization environment. It enables the user to simply create new virtual instances, e.g. UCS, in the environment of his choice via one management interface. It can be said that UCS 4.0 allows the management of hybrid clouds out-of-the box. It decreases the administrator’s effort by centralizing the management of multiple virtualization environments.

Configure your connection and take off

The user needs an OpenStack environment (or access to Amazon EC2) first – either his own “private cloud” or an offering from the cloud service provider of his choice – to configure the cloud connection. The cloud connection has to be configured once in UCS 4.0. Following, the administrator can take off and start new instances there. Depending on the kind of usage, costs arise at the respective cloud computing provider. There are no extra costs for the cloud connection in UCS.

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