Monday, April 7, 2014

Drag-and-Drop Cloud Orchestration with Ubuntu Juju

No, they're not kidding. As Sally Radwan, Canonical's cloud product marketing manager, recently explained, "A few years ago, the cloud team at Canonical decided that the future of cloud computing lies not only in what clouds are built on, but what runs on it, and how quickly, securely, and efficiently those services can be managed. This is when Juju was born; our service orchestration tool built for the cloud and inspired by the way IT architects visualize their infrastructure: boxes representing services, connected by lines representing interfaces or relationships. Juju’s GUI simplifies searching, dragging and dropping a ‘Charm’ into a canvas to deploy services instantly."

Juju works. In my experience with Juju, it does a remarkably good job of doing just that. Unlike Chef or Puppet which are great cloud DevOps programs that enable you to easily set up servers and virtual machines (VM), Juju lets you to set up services with little fuss or muss.

Now, Canonical is moving Juju up to an even higher level of the cloud deployment stack: Juju Charm bundles. With these you get one-click installation for an entire cloud infrastructure. Sure, today you can set up a virtual machine in less time than it took you to read this far in the story, but Canonical is talking about setting up customized cloud instances, the required server programs, and the hookups between them with one click.

True, there are cloud programs, such as TurnKey Linux, which give you the power to set up cloud appliances such as a Drupal Content Management System (CMS), a generic Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl (LAMP) stack, or WordPress. With those programs you're pretty much you're stuck with what you get. Of course, you can customize them, but they require you first to deploy them and then get your hands dirty with manually setting up the programs. With Juju you can set up customized cloud appliances with drag-and-drop icons and then just install them with a single mouse-click.

For example, existing Juju Charm Bundles let you set up the following environments:

Instant Hadoop: The Hadoop cluster bundle is a seven-node starter cluster designed to deploy Hadoop in a way that’s easily scalable. The deployment has been tested with up to 2,000 nodes on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Instant Mongo: Mongodb, a 13-node (over three shards) starter MongoDB cluster has the capability to horizontally scale all three shards.

Instant Wiki: Two Mediawiki deployments; a simple example mediawiki deployment with just mediawiki and MySQL; and a load-balanced deployment with HAProxy and memcached, designed to be horizontally scalable.

Instant Security: Syncope + PostgreSQL, developed by Tirasa, is a bundle providing Apache Syncope with the internal storage up and running on PostreSQL. Apache Syncope is an open source system for managing digital identities in enterprise environments.

Instant Enterprise Solutions: Credativ, an open source consultancy, is showing with its OpenERP bundle how any enterprise can instantly deploy an enterprise resource planning solution.

Instant High Performance Computing: High Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) is a massive parallel-processing computing platform that solves Big Data problems.

Sounds pretty darn cool and useful doesn't it? Give Juju a try — it's free. I think you'll like it. For instructions on how to build your own charms or bundle check out the Ubuntu developer cloud page and this set of Juju how-to blogs.


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