The Scalr Cloud Management Platform is useful for running hybrid multi-cloud and single-cloud environments.
As the range of cloud providers and services continues to grow, making choices and managing more and more complex infrastructures becomes a big challenge. Balancing business requirements with the technical pressures can sometimes feel impossible. Scalr, alongside other multi-platform orchestration tools like Heroku and Terraform, can carry some of the burden.
Here some of the challenges that I often see:
- Maintaining public and private clouds together. Your application might be deployed in a hybrid setup, where some of the components live in public cloud environments like AWS, while others are in VMware vSphere. Those are totally different animals. Deploying and managing an application that’s spread around this way can make a hard-working developer dizzy. Moreover, if your customer decides (for no obvious reason) to switch from Azure to AWS, you and your team are the ones putting in the painful hours.
- Prototyping infrastructure can be complicated. The complexity increases with the number of components involved in the deployment, including webservers, app servers, cache servers, load balancers, databases, and monitoring servers.
- It isn’t always possible for developers to follow the best practices in every instance when using an array of cloud environments. For example:
- It’s always advisable to have some port-based IP restrictions. Ports should never be opened for all.
- When servers are not required, it’s better to shut them down, otherwise it will unnecessarily increase your bill.
Because of the complexity, there is a higher likelihood of critical mistakes occurring. Someone may open the wrong ports or might leave the server running during a long weekend, exposing your data to potential hackers. If you are working in any kind of cloud environment, I’m sure you can easily add plenty of your own horror stories.
Keep reading. I am not here to rehash well-known challenges, but to offer some wisdom. There are solutions available in the market that address the complex challenges we all face. Scalr is one excellent example, and I recommend you find out what it can do.
Scalr is a Cloud Management Portal for managing multi-cloud infrastructure. Think of it is a single window for all cloud environments. If you are using multiple cloud providers for hosting your application, then Scalr can be used to provision, manage, and monitor the application and the corresponding infrastructure.
Scalr supports the following cloud services: Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, Rackspace, Open Cloud, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack, Nebula, CloudStack, IDC Frontier, and Enter Cloud Suite. Scalr comes in three flavors: hosted Scalr, Enterprise Edition, and open source Scalr. More details on pricing and support can be found here.
Sometimes people think Scalr is only beneficial when you’re working with multiple clouds. This is not accurate. Take my word for it: Scalr can pay its way even for people dealing with a single cloud provider. Let’s explore some of its features.
Below are some of the features I personally feel are the most useful:
Using the Scalr Orchestrating engine can trigger actions against a defined target. For example, while bootstrapping your instance (for an application server, perhaps) you might want to trigger some actions like registering with off-site services (like monitoring tools), or you may want to notify other webservers. This is very easy to configure in Scalr. These actions can be defined like scripts, hence you are free to choose your own scripting language.
- Scalr’s UI and API abstraction
The abstraction of the Scalr UI helps you deal with similar classes of services on multiple cloud platforms with little prior experience. Your experience creating or managing volumes in AWS might not be helpful for working with volumes in OpenStack. If developers aren’t comfortable with OpenStack it may take some time for them to do get up to speed. The same holds true for the respective API calls. Scalr, however, provides a menu-driven interface, as well as, an API to manage such scenarios.
Let’s take another example. Suppose you have to deploy a three-tier application in your multiple-cloud environment. Imagine you want to provision your web servers and app servers in AWS, but you want the database to be in OpenStack. Scalr will offer you a single window to set up both platforms. This is a very simple scenario, challenges in real life can be infinitely more complicated with increased components like cache servers, and monitoring server across various platforms.
- Efficient and centralized cost analysis
Cost is one of the major reasons why customers move to the cloud. Because of this, it becomes critically important to provide customers with detailed analysis of resource consumption and costing. If you are using multiple clouds, I’d bet it’s not easy to pull a single summarized report of resource usage and the costs for different cloud platforms. The Scalr Cost Analytics Dashboard shows you exactly how much you are spending on all your public and private clouds.
- Automatic tagging for cloud resources
I am most familiar with AWS, so I’ll use an AWS example here. In AWS you need to tag your instances while launching them so that they can be visible for various reports. Normally developers don’t keep up with tagging because it is tedious. Scalr automatically adds tags to your resources. Tags can include business unit, resource owner, and application.
- Centralized authentication and authorization
Scalr enables single sign-on (SSO) across your public and private clouds. If you have an existing identity management system like LDAP, then Scalr grants your users access to the organization’s cloud resources based on the LDAP groups to which they belong.
I hope I’ve helped familiarize you with Scalr and the wonders it can perform. I promise a much deeper dive and more Scalr details in some upcoming blog posts. In the meantime, start thinking about the best ways of managing multiple cloud environments and perhaps generate some excitement about solving common problems we all confront. Any comments? Leave them below.
How to Unlock Complimentary Access to Cloud Academy
Are you looking to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Cloud Security, Python, Java, or another technical skill? Then you'll want to mark your calendars for August 23, 2019. Starting Friday at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), Cloud Academy is offering c...
What Exactly Is a Cloud Architect and How Do You Become One?
One of the buzzwords surrounding the cloud that I'm sure you've heard is "Cloud Architect." In this article, I will outline my understanding of what a cloud architect does and I'll analyze the skills and certifications necessary to become one. I will also list some of the types of jobs ...
Boto: Using Python to Automate AWS Services
Boto allows you to write scripts to automate things like starting AWS EC2 instances Boto is a Python package that provides programmatic connectivity to Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS offers a range of services for dynamically scaling servers including the core compute service, Elastic...
Content Roadmap: AZ-500, ITIL 4, MS-100, Google Cloud Associate Engineer, and More
Last month, Cloud Academy joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider, and it put us in an excellent position to solve a massive skills gap problem. As a result of this collaboration, you will see our training library grow with additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+...
DevSecOps: How to Secure DevOps Environments
Security has been a friction point when discussing DevOps. This stems from the assumption that DevOps teams move too fast to handle security concerns. This makes sense if Information Security (InfoSec) is separate from the DevOps value stream, or if development velocity exceeds the band...
Test Your Cloud Knowledge on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud Platform
Cloud skills are in demand | In today's digital era, employers are constantly seeking skilled professionals with working knowledge of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. According to the 2019 Trends in Cloud Transformation report by 451 Research: Business and IT transformations re...
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need to estimate all types of resources, not the least of which are CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery — cloud-based or local — is up to you. But you’ll definitely want...
Google Cloud vs AWS: A Comparison (or can they be compared?)
The "Google Cloud vs AWS" argument used to be a common discussion among our members, but is this still really a thing? You may already know that there are three major players in the public cloud platforms arena: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)...
Deployment Orchestration with AWS Elastic Beanstalk
If you're responsible for the development and deployment of web applications within your AWS environment for your organization, then it's likely you've heard of AWS Elastic Beanstalk. If you are new to this service, or simply need to know a bit more about the service and the benefits th...
How to Use & Install the AWS CLI
What is the AWS CLI? | The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is for managing your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client, allowing you to control and configure multiple AWS services and implement a level of automation. If you’ve been using AWS for some time and feel...
Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: July 2019
July has been a very exciting month for us at Cloud Academy. On July 10, we officially joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider (read the announcement). Over the coming weeks, you will see additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+ certification courses and 1500+ ins...
AWS Fundamentals: Understanding Compute, Storage, Database, Networking & Security
If you are just starting out on your journey toward mastering AWS cloud computing, then your first stop should be to understand the AWS fundamentals. This will enable you to get a solid foundation to then expand your knowledge across the entire AWS service catalog. It can be both d...