This post is based on my own experience and understanding of CloudPlatform, it originally started as a document I created after I was tasked to install an Advanced CloudPlatform environment. I am in no way an expert on CloudPlatform but hopefully this guide will be able to help people to come to grips with the fundamentals.

This guide has been designed to help people who are familiar with basic networking principles and a basic understanding of the building blocks of CloudPlatform (Zones, Pods, Clusters, Hosts).

It will outline:-

  • The differences between the two types of CloudPlatform networks
  • The different traffic types you will encounter in CloudPlatform
  • The details you will require before anything happens
  • What you will need to have before you can start.
  • A short walkthrough to get you start on the advanced setup wizard.

Differences between Basic and Advanced Networking

With CloudPlatform you have two options for networking, Basic and Advanced, this is set when the Zone is first installed and cannot be changed once the Zone is created.  The main difference is advanced networking adds features such as network isolation and load-balancing. (A Complete list can be found online in the official advanced installation guide)

  • Basic

    The following is a basic network, as you can see there is only one subnet with all machines connecting to this single subnet, segregation of tenants is achieved through the use of Security groups (firewalls and IP Address filtering).

    The virtual router in this setup is mainly used for tasks such as DHCP/DNS/BOOTP, a complete list of services that can be run on this router can be found online in the CloudPlatform installation guide.

  • Advanced

    This installation is a little more complicated as demonstrated in the following diagram, the host servers make use of 1 or more NICs and multiple VLANs to segregate the network.  While certainly more complicated this offers additional features for example using the Virtual Routers as Load Balancers, NAT, etc.

First we will look at outlining the various Traffic types, VLANs and subnets used in an advanced CloudPlatform network.

Traffic, VLANs and Subnets

This section will outline the 4 different types of traffic within CloudPlatform, this should give you a better idea of what is required for a typical CloudPlatform install. The traffic types are as follows:-

  • Management
  • Storage
  • Public
  • Guest (Isolated and Shared)

The following sections will detail the requirements for a single pod (typically a server rack) within a Zone:-

  • Management

    These VLANs are used to access the management interfaces of our various hypervisors within the pod as well as where we will run the System VMs (i.e. console proxies or Secondary Storage VMs).
    Ideally we will require at least one accessible VLAN (Routed) per pod, however you do have the option of using one large VLAN to cover all your pods.

    • VLAN per pod


      For this example we have one pod with a single Management VLAN with a routed /24 subnet (Gateway x.x.x.1/24), all the hypervisors (XenServer and VMware) use static IP addresses within this network in the x.x.x.100-199 range.
      We have also placed the Storage on the same VLAN as these two can be combined (see Storage for further details)

    • VLAN per Zone

      For this example we have a single Management VLAN with a routed /24 subnet (Gateway x.x.x.1/24) for all the pods.  We have split it up u all the hypervisors (XenServer and VMware) use static IP addresses within this network in the x.x.x.100-199 range.

      We have also placed the Storage on the same VLAN as these two can be combined (see Storage for further details)

  • Storage

    As shown in our previous examples storage can be run on the same VLAN as the management traffic, however it can also be run on its own dedicated VLAN.
    This is aimed to reduce congestion between management traffic and storage access while also reducing the need to route VLAN traffic.  Although this traffic can be routed we would recommend placing your storage on the same VLAN to improve performance.

  • Public

    These VLANs will be used to provide Publicly-accessible IPs to the entire Zone, by default CloudPlatform uses Virtual Routers with public IP addresses to provide services such as VPNs and NAT access to their isolated guest networks.

    For our example we have been assigned a range of addresses on a DMZ VLAN, it is a /24 Subnet, with a default gateway.  We need to specify a range of addresses for it to use, we will be using two Zones so I have only used the lower half of the Zone for this Zone.

  • Guest Isolated

    There are two types of Guest traffic, Isolated and Shared, the Guest (Isolated) VLANs are a range of non-routed VLANs e.g. (1000-1500) CloudPlatform will pick these VLANs as the Guest VLANs are created, these then provide a private network for the users VMs to run in. It will also automatically create a virtual router linking between the public and guest networks.

    Certain network offerings can be tailored through the offerings menu in the main screen, for example if we do not want to enable DHCP/DNS/NAT we can turn them off.

  • Guest Shared

    The Guest (Shared) VLANs are a range of routed VLANs which unlike the isolated guest networks that are tenant specific these are shared between tenants.  By default we need to provide the gateway router, however it also creates the Virtual Router which provides the remaining services.

Now we have outlined the traffic details we can move on to collecting the required details for your CloudPlatform

Details

As you go through this section we recommend filling out the CloudPlatform Preperation Sheet attached

Naming Conventions

Before we start installing any software we need to address naming conventions, it is important to get it right, not only does it help group items logically it will also save you time and energy later if you need to identify issues.

Important


This is one of the more common things that people tend to overlook, think this through before getting anything else done.


CloudPlatform is made up of the following groupings, we can use these to break it down logically for example:

* If running multiple hypervisor types
+ Host names are handled by your internal DNS e.g. LSB_R4_33.yourdomain.com

Note that the hostname does vary slightly to the other naming conventions, this is because it is only important to know where it is in the rack/pod (Same number) we may change it’s cluster or hypervisor type.

Zone Type – This guide only covers Advanced installation without Security Groups.

Setup Zone

The first screen takes the overall details of the CloudPlatform, these appear to be some pretty basic details however it is important to place some thought into them.  The table below gives an example of the required information which we will expand on.

  • Name – The name of the zone that we are creating, this can be the full name to increase readability. E.g. London South Bank/New York.
  • Internal and external DNS Servers – The addresses of the Internal and External DNS servers we will prepare in the following Preperation section.  These need to be accessible by the various internal and external VMs, for example using a public DNS service such as google DNS for external and your own internal DNS for your machines.
  • Guest CIDR – The CIDR details that will be used for all the isolated guest networks, when an Isolated VLAN is created this CIDR will be used.
    I would recommend using a RFC1918 CIDR that is NOT used within your internal networks as it will assist in identifying the traffic if it “leaks” into your internal networks

Setup Network

In an advanced installation we will need to take into consideration various networks, these will need to be planned and created before we start installing CloudPlatform.

Setup Network > Physical Networks

This is based on how many network cards the servers have, this is set per Zone so if some of your servers have 2 NICs and the rest have 4 you can only ever have 2 physical networks.

  • Traffic Types to Physical Networks – We need to specify which traffic will connect over which NIC, the online guides can give some guidance on which traffic types to group together. (e.g. Management and Storage traffic on one NIC and Guest and Public on the other.)
  • Physical Network Names – This is a friendly label used for grouping traffic types within your CloudPlatform Web Console, it does not tie the traffic to a specific NIC but helps to visually group the traffic for the Admin so that they know which traffic flows over which physical networks.For Example:-
    • Two NICs – “Internal (Blue Cabling)” and “External (Yellow Cabling)”
    • Four NICs – “Management (Blue Cabling)”, “Storage (Red Cabling)”, “Public (Green Cabling)” and “Guest (Yellow Cabling)”
  • Traffic Labels – These labels are important, it is how we specify which NIC each traffic type will use. These labels must match the labels we assign to the individual NICs on the Hosts.  We will specify the VLAN and Network details at a later stage.
    For example: “internal”/“external” (2 NICs) or “storage”/“management”/“public”/“Guest” (4 NICs)
    Refer to the “Prepare Network Labels” section on how to set the network labels on the Hosts.

Setup Network > Public Traffic

Here we will specify the details for the public traffic, if needed we can specify multiple public networks.  This network will carry publically accessible traffic be it a public IP address subnet specified by your ISP or your own internal network range.

  • Gateway & Netmask – The IP Address of the gateway and the netmask of the range
  • VLAN – The VLAN id for the Public Traffic
  • Start and End IP Addresses – The Start and End IP Addresses to use for the Public IP Addresses.
    Important

    This is the first VLAN(s) you will setup, it/they will carry the public traffic within your network.


Setup Network > Pod

We will require details for the first pod to be added to your Zone.

  • Pod Name – This is a label for your pod, it is best to follow your naming convention such as if it is a rack use its number (e.g. LSB-P4)
  • Management Network details – The details for your management network such as the Gateway, Netmask, Start and End IP Addresses.  This network will contain all your host machines, the management VMs that are created and (if you are running storage on your management VLAN) the Storage IP Addresses
    Important

    This is the second network(s) we will need to create, refer to the Management VLAN section for further details on how to divide it up.

    • We would recommend making the Management VLAN your native VLAN for the respective switches.li>
    • These VLANs must be accessible by your management server (VLAN Routing)li>
    • The Host IP Addresses as static (either set manually or by DHCP reservations)
    • We used the position in the rack to determine static address e.g. X.X.X.112 = 12 Slot in rack  X.X.X.130 = 30 Slot in rack
    • Ensure no overlaps between your range and the Host IP addresses.
    • If you are combining management and storage traffic, the storage devices can be in a separate subnet but this is not recommended as it means it would require routing the storage traffic.

Setup Network > Guest Traffic

(Isolated) – Here we will specify a range of VLANs for use by the guest networks, by default CloudPlatform will create virtual routers so these VLANs should be non-routed and shared across all pods within the Zone.

Important


This is the third set of networks we will need to create, they need to be accessible on all pods within the Zone (All switches with the Zone must be capable of carrying the VLANs)


Setup Network > Storage Traffic

This storage traffic is optional, if you are not using this skip this section.

We will specify the details for the storage traffic, if needed we can specify multiple storage networks.  This network will carry storage traffic be it a public IP address subnet specified by your ISP or your own internal network range.

  • Gateway & Netmask – The IP Address of the gateway and the netmask of the range
  • VLAN – The VLAN id for the Public Traffic
  • Start and End IP Addresses – The Start and End IP Addresses to use for the Public IP Addresses.

Add Resources > Cluster

We will now add the first cluster, host and storage to our Zone; we start off with the Clusters name.

  • Cluster Name – Using our predefined naming conventions, specify the name of the cluster you are going to add. If you are using VMware it must match exactly the name you have used in vCenter.If you are adding a XenServer host you can skip the next sections as they relate to other centrally managed hypervisors such as VMware
  • vCenter Host, Username and Password – The vCenter servers FQDN/IP Address, an administrator’s username and password
  • Datacenter – The name of the Datacenter in VMware where you have placed the cluster.

Add Resources > Host

The host details (Note VMware will not perform this section as it gets the details from the vCenter server specified in the earlier section).  The address/DNS hostname must point to the management NIC on the host.

Add Resources > Primary Storage

This depends on the hypervisor type you have used and will vary as such, refer online to how to setup the different types.  The more common ones are NFS/iSCSI/VMFS but there are others such as Fibre Channels.

Important


You will need to create these shares, each cluster has its own Primary storage, so if you have 5 clusters you will need 5 storage shares.  This is the equivalent of shared storage on XenServer pools or Datastores for VMware clusters.


Add Resources > Secondary Storage

This is the Secondary storage details, it only supports NFS at this stage.

Important


Again you will need to create these shares, each Zone has at least one Secondary storage, so if you have 2 Zones you will need 2 storage shares.  This storage is used to hold the various iso’s and templates that you will use.


That is all the information we will require so now we can get started.

Preparations

This section will outline what we will need to prepare before starting the installation and configuration

  • Cabling

    A good code of practice is to ensure that all the cabling is the same for all servers within the Clusters.

    Important


    If you are bonding any NICs you MUST ensure all the servers within the cluster are cabled the same way as the Cluster will duplicate the network layout from the first Host.


  • Switches

    These are important, as our CloudPlatform with Advanced networking will carry multiple VLANs we need to set the network ports to trunked on the respective switches.

    Note: All the VLANs we will use will need to be shared across all the hosts so will need to be enabled on all the switches.

    You will also need to create the respective VLANs we identified when going through the details section.

  • DNS

    You will need to create at least one DNS server for your internal network, this can be used for your external DNS as well but you must make sure it can be reached by your VMs in your guest network.  In a production environment you would probably have a set for internal networks and another external DNS.

  • Install OS and software

    This is where we recommend you follow the CloudPlatform installation guide, install the cloud-management software either on a dedicated machine or as a VM on a Hypervisor
    Important


    We found an issue where installing CentOS on XenServer using the “Other install media” template on XenServer causes it to only install as a 100Mbps NIC rather than a 1Gbps which means that the CloudPlatform will not work correctly as the connection is not fast enough.  (The minimum requirement for CloudPlatform is 1Gbps)


    The following checklist details what you need to install before we can proceed with configuring CloudPlatform.  Instructions for which can be found in the online CloudPlatform “Advanced Installation” guide.

    * Can be installed on the management server

  • Prepare Network labels

    Each Traffic type needs to be told which NIC to use on the servers, we do this by using the labels from the details section.  On the first hypervisor (In our example we are going to use the XenServer)

    Select the appropriate Network, Click Properties, edit its label.  Do this for all the networks.

We are now ready to begin putting all the pieces together.

Installation

We have now placed all the pieces we require in the right order, let’s put it all together and build a Cloud.  This section will get you started, using what you have written down you should have more than enough to get started.

  • Login and passwords

    First thing we need to do is login to our server and change the default usernames and passwords

    • Default Login

      Using a local web browser such as Internet Explorer, login to the CloudPlatform console using the following default details:-

      URL                        http://<IP_Address>:8080/Client
      username           admin
      password            password

    • Welcome screen

      This is where we would ordinarily install the Basic version of CloudPlatform, however we wish to install the advanced version.  Read and acknowledge the license agreements, when presented with the choice to continue using the Basic version click I have used CloudPlatform before, exit install.

    • Admin Password

      We are now at the CloudPlatform main dashboard, at the moment it is empty as we do not even have anything configured.  Firstly however we need to change the default Admin password, this is done by clicking Accounts > admin > Users > admin next select the Key icon to change your password.

In this area we can also create new admin users and standard users, set limits to the number of VMs or public IP addresses they can use along with many more options.  I can recommend you have a look through the available options.

  • Creating a Zone

    Select the Infrastructure tab, this at the moment is very empty as we have not added anything to this management server, we will now go ahead and create the Zone.  This is done by Click View All under the Zones tile then Add Zone.

  • Use the collected details

    We can now use the table we have completed to install the CloudPlatform.

I hope this helps at least guide someone in the right direction, if you spot any errors please feel free to let me know and I can correct them.