Scalr Cloud Management: run hybrid cloud infrastructures

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.

The challenge

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.

What is Scalr?Scalr

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 AzureOpenStack, 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.

Scalr Features

Below are some of the features I personally feel are the most useful:

  • Orchestration

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.

Avatar

Written by

Vineet Badola

Working as a cloud professional for last 6 years in various organizations, I have experience in three of the most popular cloud platforms, AWS IaaS, Microsoft Azure and Pivotal Cloud Foundry PaaS platform. Having around 10 years of IT experience in various roles and I take great interest in learning and sharing my knowledge on newer technologies. Wore many hats as developer, lead, architect in cloud technologies implementation. During Leisure time I enjoy good soothing music, playing TT and sweating out in Gym. I believe sharing knowledge is my way to make this world a better place.


Related Posts

Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 15, 2020

New Content: Azure DP-100 Certification, Alibaba Cloud Certified Associate Prep, 13 Security Labs, and Much More

This past month our Content Team served up a heaping spoonful of new and updated content. Not only did our experts release the brand new Azure DP-100 Certification Learning Path, but they also created 18 new hands-on labs — and so much more! New content on Cloud Academy At any time, y...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • DevOps
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Machine Learning
  • programming
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— August 28, 2020

AWS Certification Practice Exam: What to Expect from Test Questions

If you’re building applications on the AWS cloud or looking to get started in cloud computing, certification is a way to build deep knowledge in key services unique to the AWS platform. AWS currently offers 12 certifications that cover major cloud roles including Solutions Architect, De...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Patrick Navarro
Patrick Navarro
— August 25, 2020

Overcoming Unprecedented Business Challenges with AWS

From auto-scaling applications with high availability to video conferencing that’s used by everyone, every day —  cloud technology has never been more popular or in-demand. But what does this mean for experienced cloud professionals and the challenges they face as they carve out a new p...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Cloud Adoption
  • digital transformation
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 18, 2020

Constant Content: Cloud Academy’s Q3 2020 Roadmap

Hello —  Andy Larkin here, VP of Content at Cloud Academy. I am pleased to release our roadmap for the next three months of 2020 — August through October. Let me walk you through the content we have planned for you and how this content can help you gain skills, get certified, and...

Read more
  • alibaba
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • content roadmap
  • Content updates
  • DevOps
  • GCP
  • Google Cloud
  • New content
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 5, 2020

New Content: Alibaba, Azure AZ-303 and AZ-304, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Foundation, Python 3 Programming, 16 Hands-on Labs, and Much More

This month our Content Team did an amazing job at publishing and updating a ton of new content. Not only did our experts release the brand new AZ-303 and AZ-304 Certification Learning Paths, but they also created 16 new hands-on labs — and so much more! New content on Cloud Academy At...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • DevOps
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Machine Learning
  • programming
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— July 16, 2020

Blog Digest: Which Certifications Should I Get?, The 12 Microsoft Azure Certifications, 6 Ways to Prevent a Data Breach, and More

This month, we were excited to announce that Cloud Academy was recognized in the G2 Summer 2020 reports! These reports highlight the top-rated solutions in the industry, as chosen by the source that matters most: customers. We're grateful to have been nominated as a High Performer in se...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • blog digest
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Academy
  • OWASP
  • OWASP Top 10
  • Security
  • VPCs
Avatar
Cloud Academy Team
— July 9, 2020

Which Certifications Should I Get?

The old AWS slogan, “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. Really, cloud has been the new normal for a while now and getting credentials has become an increasingly effective way to quickly showcase your abilities to recruiters and companies. With all that in mind, the s...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— July 2, 2020

New Content: AWS, Azure, Typescript, Java, Docker, 13 New Labs, and Much More

This month, our Content Team released a whopping 13 new labs in real cloud environments! If you haven't tried out our labs, you might not understand why we think that number is so impressive. Our labs are not “simulated” experiences — they are real cloud environments using accounts on A...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • DevOps
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Machine Learning
  • programming
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— June 19, 2020

Kickstart Your Tech Training With a Free Week on Cloud Academy

Are you looking to make a jump in your technical career? Want to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Kubernetes, Python, or another in-demand skill? Then you'll want to mark your calendar. Starting Monday, June 22 at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • cloud academy content
  • complimentary access
  • GCP
  • on the house
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— June 11, 2020

New Content: AZ-500 and AZ-400 Updates, 3 Google Professional Exam Preps, Practical ML Learning Path, C# Programming, and More

This month, our Content Team released tons of new content and labs in real cloud environments. Not only that, but we introduced our very first highly interactive "Office Hours" webinar. This webinar, Acing the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification, started with a quick overvie...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • DevOps
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Machine Learning
  • programming
Rebecca Willis
Rebecca Willis
— June 3, 2020

Azure vs. AWS: Which Certification Provides the Brighter Future?

More and more companies are using cloud services, prompting more and more people to switch their current IT position to something cloud-related. The problem is most people only have that much time after work to learn new technologies, and there are plenty of cloud services that you can ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • certification
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— June 2, 2020

Blog Digest: 5 Reasons to Get AWS Certified, OWASP Top 10, Getting Started with VPCs, Top 10 Soft Skills, and More

Thank you for being a valued member of our community! We recently sent out a short survey to understand what type of content you would like us to add to Cloud Academy, and we want to thank everyone who gave us their input. If you would like to complete the survey, it's not too late. It ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • blog digest
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Academy
  • OWASP
  • OWASP Top 10
  • Security
  • VPCs