March 15, 2016 | Written by: Joanne Scouler
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I’ve learned that, as I progress in my own “cloud journey,” when you are manually configuring new cloud services for line of business users, it can take months to set up new services. One of the ways to automate the creation of new services is to define templates that can be reused. This means you can bring up new environments by selecting the template, evoking that template and bringing it down when the environment is no longer needed. That is the purpose of HEAT templates. They are an OpenStack component that automates the reuse of environment configurations.
So you could define your VMware Linux environment with a database running in it in one template, your Microsoft Azure environment with some prerequisite programs running in another template, and a SoftLayer environment in another template.
Once you have your templates set up you may want to define some policies about what stuff you want to deploy to the environments and when you want to do that. Maybe you have an application that you want to have running in your on-premises VMware Linux environment from 8 am to 5 pm during the week and on the Softlayer environment on the weekends. It’s simple when you use HEAT templates with IBM Cloud Orchestrator and UrbanCode Deploy.
With IBM UrbanCode Deploy you can model, provision, and update cloud environments using a combination graphical and text editor. With the editor, developers create one model and provision that model on multiple clouds, even clouds of different types. There are HEAT templates provided by IBM to start with; these then can be easily customized.
Using IBM Cloud Orchestrator the operations team reuses the models or templates that the developers created in IBM UrbanCode Deploy. With IBM Cloud Orchestrator you manage and monitor the cloud environment and enable line of business users to bring up or take down the environment in a self-service mode. You track usage, secure and backup the environments, and examine the data on how long the environment was used.
Many IBM cloud products are based on OpenStack — an open standard — it’s like an operating system for cloud that facilitates the connection between different kinds of clouds. HEAT templates are a component of OpenStack. In a multivendor environment you need open standards like OpenStack for connections between cloud infrastructure. As your cloud grows this becomes more and more important.
A private cloud is always behind your firewall. It could be managed or even hosted by another company but it is still secured behind your firewall. A community cloud is private but it is meant for sharing information within an organization. A public cloud is open to the public, there is no firewall and you share the infrastructure.
Real strength comes from a hybrid cloud where you have a connection between a private and public cloud or from a private cloud to another private cloud, so you can access certain services and move data as needed. You can burst or expand into a public cloud as demand peaks and consumption increases. Then as consumption decreases, the cloud resources can be reallocated. This dynamic is referred to as peaks and troughs in consumption and it is managed efficiently with IBM Cloud Orchestrator.
Wherever you are in your cloud journey you will find that OpenStack HEAT templates are one of the efficient ways to grow your cloud and your business.