Saas & Virtualization
Zimory Enterprise Cloud Overview
Delivering greater agility and better quality while still increasing efficiency
By: Glenn Rossman
May. 27, 2009 01:00 PM
Zimory Enterprise Cloud currently supports Xen 3.2, VMware ESX(i) Server and VMware Server 1.x. All configurations are automatically adjusted when a physical host with one of these virtualization solutions is added to the corporate cloud.
Zimory technology enables quick migration of virtual images to different platforms - making setting up large of large implementations fast and easy. This technology works with Xen as well as VMware.
Automated image management enables a transparent management of virtual machines -- unused virtual machines are automatically stored and, in case of a reboot, automatically shifted to another host.
Zimory Cloud Manager
The Zimory Cloud Manager provides various technical and non-technical filtering mechanisms -- allowing resources that technically do not fit to an application to be filtered out in advance. Additionally, resources can be selected according to different preferences and non-technical criteria.
The user can define rules that trigger automated management operations in the virtual machines. For example, in the case of a continuously high CPU load, additional server instances in a cluster will be added. Another example is that after a certain period an instance can automatically be stopped.
The system provides an administration client -- for monitoring and billing. This allows admins to transfer user-related data directly into the billing system. Zimory Cloud Manager offers flexible billing models, which for example can rely on the current resource utilization.
Using Zimory Cloud Manager additional virtual machines can be added to Zimory Enterprise Cloud -- automatically checked and adjusted for the selected resource Cloud.
Zimory Cloud Manager includes a planning module which distributes virtual machines optimized to Cloud resources. Since Cloud resources can be dynamically added and switched off within Zimory Enterprise Cloud, this planning module is required - to select, based on usage profiles and heuristics -- the best resources for each application.
Zimory Cloud Manager provides the end user with complete VM backup management, enabling them to save their machines with little effort and restore them later - or create as new clone instances from backup.
API to manage virtual machines
The Zimory Enterprise Cloud can not only directly interact with the hypervisor, but with the overlying management infrastructures such as VMware Infrastructure Manager. You can also address resources via libvirt virtualization API.
Zimory Cloud Connector enables the scheduled (time-controlled) deployment of resources. This allows users to make unused hosts available for only the time needed.
Hosts can be organized hierarchically, for example, they can be sorted into different clusters. Zimory Central also offers the ability to perform complex searches.
Using the dashboard, you can see at a glance the utilization of the entire infrastructure of a data center - enabling the resources to be rapidly adapted. The accessible hosts can be sorted according to their CPU and RAM utilization. Admins can also display load situations and network infrastructure.
This feature allows admins to remove virtual machines with very little lead time - and make them available for other uses.
Zimory Cloud Connector must be installed once per data center. Minimum requirements for installation are:
Scalability of Zimory Cloud Connector is enabled through the allocation of single components in different physical or virtual machines. The central messaging component, the storage component, and the network component can be separated from each other.
Zimory Host Connector
Zimory Host Connector enables simple Linux servers with a default Xen kernel to connect to Zimory Cloud Connector - without additional software. Zimory Host Connector supports Xen 3.2 and VMware Server 1.x.
If there is already a complete management environment, e.g. VMware ESX Server with VMware Infrastructure, it is not necessary to install Zimory Host Connector. All required functions will be provided by the management layer.
Additionally, Zimory will support in the near future all virtualization layers that can be accessed with libvirt (see http://libvirt.org/) such as KVM or OpenVZ. This enables the usage of a slim version of Zimory Host Connector.
The installation of a Zimory Host Connector can be done manually or script-based. Zimory Host Connector is available in two versions: a Java and a Python version -- depending on the underlying virtualization layer used. The following table shows which version of each must be used:
Virtualization Framework: Zimory Host Connector:
Supported virtualization layer and applications
To operate an application with a highly fluctuating load successfully within Zimory Enterprise Cloud, the application must be scalable within itself. Given that, Zimory Enterprise Cloud works well for multi-tier software architectures. Multi-tier architectures are scalable, since the individual layers are logically separated. For example, in distributed system architectures, the data layer runs on a central database server, the logic layer runs on a remote application server, and the delivery is handled by a web server. In such an architecture, the individual components can be adopted to increasing load by replication. For example, if many users use the application, a clone of the application server can be created, which shares the requests with the first server. This clone operation can be triggered through the API of the Enterprise Cloud with a rule-based trigger. This means that the clone operation will be started if the virtual machine already has a significant CPU load for a defined time period.
Zimory Enterprise Cloud was developed to make unused resources available for other purposes with minimal overhead. Depending on the existing infrastructure, one of the following variants can be installed.
Zimory Enterprise Cloud with VMware Solution Stack
For reasons of scalability, the Zimory solution stack might be installed in different versions. A minimal installation requires a virtual machine, including the components "Cloud Manager", "Central" and "Storage" and „Runtime Storage". Another physical machine serves as a firewall. If the firewall only shields to a corporate network it is possible to install the firewall also in a virtual machine.
Optional is the component "Runtime Storage". It accelerates backup and migration processes between data centers. If this component does not exist, the existing mechanisms of the ESX infrastructure are used.
This results in the following minimum requirements for the configuration of virtual machines. Requirements are smaller than the individual requirements, as some components can be shared:
In particular, the requirement for minimum storage varies greatly -- depending on the number of VMware images per user and their size. The system components "Central" and "Firewall" in this interpretation work for approximately 250 virtual machines.
Use of Zimory Enterprise Cloud with VMware Solution Stack without Runtime Storage
Zimory Enterprise Cloud without VMware Solution Stack
For the operation of such a Zimory solution, Zimory Host has to be installed in addition to the installation described in 3.1. Zimory Host has to be installed on every host that is connected to the Zimory framework.
The connected physical hosts can use local or network-attached storage for their virtual machines. Depending on the configuration of virtual machines, they are automatically adjusted and deployed accordingly. The installation of the Zimory Hosts can be done manually or script-base.
In this variant, the Zimory Host partially does the optimization, which could be also provided by the Runtime Storage. Therefore, systems with local storage can be operated with optimized performance using Zimory Host in the Zimory framework.
VLANs. This allows the individual virtual machines of different users to interact with each other only via a firewall. Using VLANs also ensures that other systems of a data center are protected from the virtual machines of the Zimory Cloud. Furthermore, the Zimory Cloud supports the use of different physical networks -- which allows a further separation.
All components of the system are designed to be stateless and are loosely coupled, allowing the user to reboot individual components easily after a breakdown, without losing the virtual machines or their management information. This guarantees a high level of operational reliability without costly redundancies.
Sudden peak loads and additional external resources
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