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Abiquo 4.6

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To configure an automatic response to changing demands for resources, you can scale out VMs, which is also called horizontal autoscaling. To scale out, the platform clones the base VM and deploys the clones. To scale in, the platform will delete clone VMs and undeploy the base VM. Scaling operations are subject to all standard platform constraints, such as privileges and allocation limits.

Scaling notes

  • Limitations:
    • The platform does not clone captured VMs, so you will need to create an instance and recreate the VM from the resulting template to use scaling groups. Create instances to save VM disks to templates
    • VApp specs do not support scaling groups. See What do specs save and create
    • You can push custom metrics for clone VMs but you cannot create alarms for cloned VMs that are part of a scaling group. This is because scaling groups have aggregate alarms that are associated with the base VM.
  • State of base VM: A scaling group with a deployed base VM would be destroyed if the base VM were deleted directly on the hypervisor. In contrast, a scaling group with an undeployed base VM is not vulnerable to interference at the hypervisor level

The platform enables you to automatically scale out (add more VMs) or scale up (add more resources to existing VMs).

Privilege: Manage scaling groups, Manage workflow for scaling groups

To use autoscaling do these steps:

  1. Create a base VM, which can be deployed or undeployed
  2. Configure the VM and enable metrics
  3. Define a scaling group with rules for scaling the VM.
    The checkbox to create a scaling action, will create the following automatically:
    1. standard alarms and alerts for the selected metrics
    2. action plans with scaling actions for the VM and triggers for the action plans, which are monitoring alerts
    You can customize the elements the platform creates, or you can create your own configuration.

Define a scaling group

Before you begin:
  1. Configure the base VM that will be scaled
  2. Ensure that you have enough resources in your virtual datacenter to deploy up to the maximum number of cloned VMs, especially IP addresses

To create a scaling group:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → Virtual appliances
  2. Select the base VM, and from the menu on the VM icon, select the Create scaling group option
  3. Enter the scaling parameters and rules
  4. Click Save

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When you save the scaling group, Abiquo will mark the VM icon with the scaling group symbol and display the scaling group name. If the minimum number of deployed VMs are not present and the scaling group is not in maintenance, Abiquo will create clones of the base VM and deploy them to reach the minimum size. The number in the bottom right-hand corner of the icon is the number of running VMs in the scaling group, including the base VM.

To open the scaling group and check its parameters, click the scaling group symbol in the top right-hand corner of the VM icon.

Configure automatic scaling actions

To configure automatic scaling actions:

  1. When you define a scaling group, select Create autoscaling action and Save the scaling group
  2. In the dialog, select a metric to control an autoscaling action
  3. To configure more options, including the thresholds for scaling in and scaling out, click Show more
  4. To add this action, click Add
  5. Add more actions as required 

The platform will automatically create the alarms, alerts, and action plan to automatically scale in or out according to your thresholds.

Trigger autoscaling

Before you begin:
  1. Create a VM and a scaling group for the VM. See Define a scaling group

To trigger autoscaling operations:

  1. Create an action plan with a scaling action for the VM with the scaling group. See Create an action plan to automate VM actions
  2. Create triggers to run the action plan. See Create a trigger for an action plan

When scaling, the platform will search for a scaling rule that is valid for the specific time range, or for a default rule. It will create or delete/undeploy the number of VMs in the rule, then wait for the cooldown period before accepting another scaling request. 

How the platform scales VMs

To scale out, the platform does not deploy VMs that are undeployed in the scaling group. To clone the base VM, the platform will do the following:
  1. Create disks using the following:
    1. Copies of content of disks from the VM template
    2. Empty disks or volumes for each additional disk used in the VM
    3. Disk controllers used in the VM
  2. Apply ALL configuration used in the VM, for example:
    1. CPU and RAM
    2. Network connections of the same type (e.g. private network)
    3. Assignment of firewall policies and attachment to load balancers
    4. Chef recipes, backups, cloud-init, variables, and so on
    5. Metrics. The group of metrics from clone VMs and the base VM (if it is deployed) can activate alarms in the base VM, even if it is not deployed
    6. Exception – Alarms: the scaling group has only one set of alarms in the base VM

To scale in,  Abiquo currently selects the VMs to delete or undeploy using first in, first out (FIFO). The platform deletes and undeploys VMs without requesting user confirmation when there are disks that are not stored in the Apps library (ISO configuration drive or additional hard disk). 

Perform maintenance on a scaling group

To make changes to your VMs in a scaling group (manually deploy, undeploy, delete, etc.) and edit the scaling group, put it into maintenance mode, which will disable autoscaling. Note that you cannot delete the base VM without deleting the scaling group. 

When you leave maintenance mode, the platform will apply your modifications to the scaling group, e.g. adding new rules. Then the platform will adjust the number of VMs in the group to within the minimum and maximum size range.

To manually put the scaling group in maintenance mode:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → Virtual appliances → select VM
  2. Click the "cog" maintenance button

To automatically put a scaling group in maintenance mode:

  1. Trigger an action plan with the action "Scaling group: start maintenance mode"

To manually leave maintenance mode

  1. Click the "cog" maintenance button again

To automatically leave maintenance mode

  1.  trigger an action plan with the action "Scaling group: end maintenance mode".

Note that although you can push custom metrics for clone VMs, you cannot create alarms for cloned VMs that are part of a scaling group. This is because scaling groups have aggregate alarms that are associated with the base VM. 

Display scaling actions for a scaling group

To display scaling actions of a scaling group:
  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → Virtual appliances → open virtual appliance
  2. If the scaling group is not in maintenance mode, click the cog symbol 
  3. Edit the scaling group and go to Autoscaling actions
  4. To show or hide more details of an action, click Show more or Show less

Move a scaling group to another virtual appliance in the same virtual datacenter

To move a scaling group in maintenance mode to another virtual appliance in the same virtual datacenter:
  1. Click the Move VM button
  2. Select the new virtual appliance

Restrict a scaling group

To move a scaling group to a restricted virtual appliance, do these steps:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → select scaling group
  2. Click the VM move button on the VM control panel
  3. Select the checkbox to Move to a restricted virtual appliance, select a restricted virtual appliance, or create a new VApp and select the Restrict virtual appliance checkbox

Delete a scaling group

When you delete a scaling group, the platform will place all the VMs in the virtual appliance as regular VMs and the scaling group constraints will no longer exist. 

To delete a scaling group:

  1. Go to Virtual datacenters → select scaling group
  2. Click the "cog" button to put the scaling group into maintenance mode or run a maintenance action in an action plan
  3. Click the delete button

Manage scaling groups with the API

API Documentation

For the Abiquo API documentation of this feature, see Abiquo API Resources and the page for this resource ScalingGroupsResource.