Six months ago we made our SaaS delivered Cloud Management-as-a-Service solution generally available to the public. Since then, a growing number of Platform9 customers have realized the benefits of transforming their on-premises infrastructure into an agile private cloud. Our customers have been able to enable their developers to be more productive than ever, while leveraging existing assets, and avoiding the complexity of managing their own cloud management platforms.
A key component of delivering all this value to our customers is upgrading their cloud management platform in order to enable new functionality while increasing stability. At Platform9, we aim to do this with as little disruption for our customers as possible; in fact, most of our customer don’t even know an upgrade has been done beyond notifications from us informing them that an upgrade is being planned and then that their upgrade has been completed; our VP of Product and Co-Founder, Madhura Maskasky, discussed this in a blog post a few months ago.
Continuing our tradition of painless, zero-touch upgrade, we recently rolled out and moved all our customers to our newest 1.2 release of the Platform9 Managed OpenStack Cloud. The release notes for 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 can all be found on our Support page. I want to briefly highlight some of the bug fixes and features that can be found across these 3 releases.
This is not really a specific feature in the Platform9 code per se but an evolution in the tools and methodology our engineering team follows to perform zero-touch upgrades for our customers. This includes an upgrade from the OpenStack Grizzly release to OpenStack Juno that required no involvement from our customers and was non-disruptive to their production workloads. If you think this is an easy task, you probably have not tried to upgrade OpenStack yourself. In a future blog post, I will be detailing how Platform9 is able to make cloud management platform upgrades so simple for our customers.
Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)
Introduced with our 1.0 release, MFA gives cloud administrators the ability to define accounts that require more just a password for authentication. This is particularly useful for customers that have created tenants and want to ensure users from one tenant cannot access cloud resources that belong to a different tenant. Use cases include customers with developers in different lines of business and service providers who want to use Platform9 to offer cloud services.
Host Aggregates and Tag Based Placement
An important feature, introduced in 1.0, enables cloud instances to be provisioned on to specific resource groups of hosts or storage subsystems based on tags and policies created by users. Use cases now and in the future include grouping resources that may include multiple hypervisors or storage systems with multiple drive types, so users can spin up instances using the most suitable on-premises infrastructure.
Upgrade to OpenStack Juno
The most important enhancement to our 1.1 release was the upgrade to OpenStack Juno from Grizzly. As mentioned earlier, this upgrade required zero touch from our customers and the average downtime for the control plane (no workload impact) was ~20 minutes.
Support for On-Premise Network Proxy
Also introduced in 1.1, this feature gave our customers additional options for providing secure communication between their on-premises infrastructure and their SaaS delivered cloud management framework. Customer can use their own proxy servers to meet in-house or regulatory security requirements.
VM Console Support
In the 1.2 release, we’ve enabled VM console access from a web browser through the Platform9 dashboard. This provides admins and users additional options for managing their VMs and guests.
Pre-Built OS Images with Integration into Private Image Catalogs
Platform9’s latest version also enables a ‘Download Pre-built Images’ functionality, which provides access to pre-built and cloud-init enabled VM Images for most of the popular Linux distributions. Once downloaded, these images can be accessed by customers from their private on-premises Image Catalog menu.
Please use the links in this article to access the individual release notes to find more details. And if you are NOT already a Platform9 customer but want to enable your developers to be more agile without taking on unneeded complexity, what are you waiting for?
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