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Introduction to virtual appliance specs

The virtual appliance specifications (specs) feature enables administrators to save complex virtual appliance configurations and present them to users for simple, self-service deployment across their virtual datacenters. Administrators can select the locations where users can work with each spec, including datacenters (all versions) and public cloud regions (AWS and Azure in Abiquo 3.8.3+).

The process of creating a new virtual appliance from a spec is called the materialize process. When users materialize a spec, i.e. create a new virtual appliance based on a spec, the platform will automatically use existing virtual resources or create new ones for this virtual appliance.

Specs can save the configuration of virtual appliances including virtual machines, storage, networks, monitoring, Chef, firewalls, and load balancers.

Virtual machines created from specs contain the data on the VM template disks.
Specs do not support persistent system disks, and they do not save data from persistent volumes or secondary hard disks.
To create a spec with data that was stored on volumes, or on hard disks after deploy:

  1. Create a instances to save virtual machine data to disks in VM templates
  2. Use the VM templates to create virtual machines
  3. Configure the virtual machines with networks, etc
  4. Create your virtual appliance spec

In Abiquo 3.8 - 3.8.3 specs do not support:

  • External networks and NICs in private cloud
    • Azure external networks are supported as a special kind of INTERNAL network that corresponds to a private network in private cloud
  • Unmanaged networks and NICs

If you create a spec containing an external IP:

  • in Abiquo 3.8.2, the materialize process will ignore the external IP
  • in Abiquo 3.8.3, the materialize process will fail because the external IP is unsupported

Create a spec to save virtual appliance configuration

Before you begin:

  • Create or obtain a virtual appliance with virtual machine configuration. This can include virtual machines, storage, networks, Chef, firewalls, and load balancers. See also #Spec Location Compatibility Notes

To create a virtual appliance spec to save a configuration:

  1. Open the virtual appliance and from the Virtual appliance spec menu, select Create new spec
  2. Enter spec details
  3. Click Accept

The platform will create the new spec for your tenant. This spec will be the default, but you can change the default configuration later.

  • Users of this tenant can create virtual appliances from the spec
  • Administrators of the tenant can administer the spec and create versions

Field

Description

Name

The name of the virtual appliance spec

Description

Describe this version of the spec to distinguish it from other versions

IconEnter the URL of an icon that will identify the spec for users. Click Validate to check the icon will display correctly - a preview should display below the Icon field

Spec Location Compatibility Notes

The following table provides some general guidelines about using Specs in hybrid cloud. You should consider these guidelines when designing a virtual appliance for use in more than one location.

ElementNotes
TemplatePrivate cloud may allow multiple disk templates. In public cloud, Abiquo templates always have a single disk
Additional disks

Private cloud may allow additional disks. In public cloud the user may not add external disks within Abiquo

Networks
  • Private networks in private cloud will be translated to external networks in providers supporting external networks (e.g. Azure) and vice versa
    • In public cloud, Abiquo will look for the default VLAN's globalNetwork in the target VDC to use or create an external network (subnet) of this network
  • Public networks in private cloud will be translated to floating IPs in public cloud and vice versa.

Network gateways

When creating a network for use in hybrid cloud specs, check that your network gateway address is not a reserved IP address in the public cloud provider. the gateway address is reserved, the Spec will fail when the user tries to deploy it.

  • The default gateway in AWS and Azure is address 5
  • The default gateway in Neutron and NSX is address 1
  • A gateway that is compatible with all providers and default reserved addresses in SDN solutions is address 22
NICs
  • Note that some IP addresses may be reserved by the provider
    • Azure and AWS reserve the first 4 IP addresses and the last IP address of private networks
    • By default, Neutron and NSX reserve IP addresses from address 1 to address 21 but this range is configurable by the system administrator
  • The number of NICs allowed per virtual machine may vary across different private and public cloud environments.

Share a virtual appliance configuration with multiple tenants

Before you begin:

  • Create or obtain a virtual appliance with virtual machine configuration. This can include virtual machines, storage, networks, Chef, firewalls, and load balancers
  • If you are a platform administrator with unlimited global scope, create scopes to share the spec with more enterprises. This will allow the users of other tenants in the scope list to use this spec. See Manage Scopes and Manage resource scopes

Remember the rules for updating specs when deciding where to create a new spec.

As a spec administrator, you can save changes to a spec:

  • As a new spec OR
  • As a new version of the same spec
    • If you have an administration scope that is greater than or equal to the spec scope AND
    • You are working with a virtual appliance created from the spec AND
    • The virtual appliance is in the enterprise that owns the spec

To share a virtual appliance configuration with multiple tenants

  1. Create a new spec from a virtual appliance OR if you are the platform administrator, edit an existing spec
    1. Enter or check spec details including the description to identify the spec version and the URL of an icon to identify your spec to users
  2. On the Scopes tab, select scope(s) to allow access to users of the enterprises included in the scopes
    1. If you do not select any scopes, only the users of the enterprise that owns the spec can create virtual appliances from it
  3. Click Accept

The platform will create the new spec for the current tenant with scope(s) assigned. This spec will be the default, but you can change the default configuration later.

  • Users of this tenant and users of tenants listed in the scopes can use the spec
  • Administrators of the tenant can manage the spec and create versions if their scope is greater than or equal to union of the scopes of the spec. They must log in to the enterprise that created the spec to manage it.

 

Select locations where a virtual appliance spec can be used

When you are creating a spec, you can select the locations where users can work with this spec. This will help to ensure that users only have access to specs that "work" because there may be different features and resources available in different cloud locations.

Users will be able to work with a virtual appliance spec in the locations:

  • that are allowed for their enterprise AND 
  • where the spec is allowed.

To edit spec locations, create or edit a spec and open the Locations tab.

Before allowing users to work with a spec in different location(s), check the virtual resources available, the spec save and create functionality table, and the cloud provider documentation

By default a virtual appliance spec is available in all locations. This means that users can work with the virtual appliance spec in all present and future locations that are allowed for their enterprise.

Or you can select individual location(s) in which to allow the spec. First deselect Use all locations. Then select individual locations. The platform will not add future locations.

 

Save changes to the configuration in a virtual appliance spec

As a spec administrator, you can save changes to a spec:

  • As a new spec OR
  • As a new version of the same spec
    • If you have an administration scope for enterprises that is greater than or equal to each of the spec's scopes AND
    • You are working with a virtual appliance created from the spec AND
    • The virtual appliance is in the enterprise that owns the spec

To create a new version of a spec:

  1. Inside the virtual appliance, from the Virtual appliance spec menu, select Create new spec version
  2. Enter a description of the spec version to identify it
  3. Optional: set this version of the spec as the default version
    • If no default version is set, the platform returns the latest version to users

 

Manage virtual appliance specs

Administrators manage Virtual appliance specs in the Apps library view. See Manage Virtual Appliance Specs