Below are a series of questions that Flexiant is typically asked and the responses that we give. More detailed FAQs, especially those of a technical nature, are available for review in our documentation library.
Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator is a cloud orchestration software that Service Providers can use to launch highly differentiated public IaaS cloud services. It provides compute, network and storage orchestration which are directly available to end users via self-service control panel and API, in addition to an extensive set of functionalities to help Service Providers profit from their public cloud and open new revenue streams.
Yes. Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator provides an extensive white labeling capability where Service Providers can launch public clouds using multiple brands, even belonging to different legal entities, to enable partners and resellers launch their own service sharing the same physical infrastructures. Each brand (“Billing Entity”) can customize the control panel look & feel and the templates of any communication generated by the system.
We provide a comparable set of functionalities to OpenStack. However, we started to develop Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator years before the birth of OpenStack and we believe our software is much more stable and mature for a production-ready IaaS cloud. However, orchestration is just one element of what you need to launch a public cloud, and choosing OpenStack will eventually lead to more time and resources being spent to develop the missing features that Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator provides automatically. On the other hand, we are in favour of standardisation and we believe OpenStack is en route to becoming a great piece of software and that is why we have recently announced that we are going to support it as part of our hypervisor eco-system.
Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator supports a wide variety of architectures and hardware platforms. To give an example, when using KVM hypervisor we need a minimum of one management server equipped with dual Quad-Core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, 500GB of local disk space and 2x1Gbps NICs with PXE capability. In addition to that, we recommend at least 3 Compute Nodes with a minimum of 96GB of RAM, dual Six-Core CPUs and 2x1Gbps NICs with PXE capability. If we choose the NAS storage option, we also need an NFSv4 share with an average of 5TB available space per Compute Node. All hardware should be Ubuntu 12.04 compatible. A more extensive set of hardware and network requirements can be found here.
Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator supports four hypervisors: KVM, Xen4, VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. While KVM and Xen4 are supported out of the box, with Flexiant also providing the OS running on the Compute Nodes, vSphere and Hyper-V must be provided externally by the Service Provider. All functionalities with minor exceptions are supported across all four hypervisors. We have also recently announced our upcoming support for OpenStack and that will be treated as our fifth hypervisor.
Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator talks directly to vCenter, thus the only requirement is a working installation of VMware vSphere. No vCloud Director is required to work with Flexiant.
Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator supports a wide variety of storage types, highly dependent on the chosen hypervisor. Also, we are not tied to any specific storage vendor. For vSphere, we support any storage supported by VMware as we orchestrate it through vCenter. For Hyper-V, we are following Microsoft recommendations to create the volumes on top of an SMB3 share. For KVM and Xen, we support NAS (NFSv4), SAN (iSCSI), local storage and distributed storage based on Ceph.
Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator comes with integrated Ceph support which can be easily enabled and configured. We can leverage the disks inside the Compute Nodes so that you won’t need to dedicate extra Storage Nodes. However, all the disks inside Compute Nodes are bundled together into a large distributed replicated block store that is addressed by the hypervisor via network. If you do not want to use our internal Ceph implementation, we also support external Ceph clusters. Ceph is available only for KVM hypervisor. More information on our Ceph support can be found here.
Yes. Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator orchestrates the network for all types of hypervisors. Either via virtual routers which are embedded within Compute Nodes or with specific Router Nodes, Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator automatically manages the VLAN tagging (private, public and interworking), IP address assignment with embedded DHCP servers, IP address routing and firewalling. All features are IPV6 ready. We simply make use of standard protocols (Ethernet, IP) and we do not integrate with any specific network device vendor.
Yes. Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator was born primarily with the intent to provide true utility computing billed via PAYG model. Flexiant provides a virtual currency (units) that can be used to charge for every consumable cloud resource, either a one off or on a recurring basis, including hourly, daily, monthly or yearly. Service Providers can keep their invoices simple by selling units packages while end users will be able to drill down their consumption by accessing all the units transaction performed by the billing cycles, directly via control panel or API.
No. Starting with Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator version 4, we have full integrated capabilities to charge monthly fees directly in any currency, to automatically generate invoice, take payments and handle credit limits (currency amounts or overdue days) before end user accounts are cut off.
Yes. Flexiant has an API first policy. All the functions that are available on the control panel are built on top of an API which is also directly accessible to end users and administrators. Our API is SOAP 1.1 and can be consumed via the web after an HTTP basic authentication over SSL. End users can automate their cloud infrastructure consumption by incorporating into their applications the required business logic to create new servers for meeting increased workload demand, or vice versa. Administrators can use API calls, for example, in order to pull out billing data, query the customer database or to build statistics on the platform usage. More information on Flexiant API is available here.
Triggers are the ability of Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator to perform “call-outs”, as opposed to the “call-in” capability provided by the API. A very large set of events is available throughout the platform with PRE, POST and SCHEDULED triggers that can execute arbitrary portions of code written using FDL (Flexiant Development Language). Triggers can be used to integrate with external systems, like adding all newly created VMs to a monitoring service or automatically adding firewall templates to new VMs or taking snapshots on a regular basis.
Yes. Since our release of Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator version 4, we support Chef-specific settings, which can be tied to a specific VM, a blueprint, an OS image or the end user. With Flexiant’s Chef integration, you’ll be able to specify which Chef server to register the VMs to, and which recipes to execute at boot time.
Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator provides the ability to extract billing data at many different phases of the metering and billing process. We provide different API calls to extract raw consumption data, billing records (units transactions) or aggregated summaries. We provide a comprehensive documentation page on how to integrate Flexiant with external billing systems, describing the role of each system and providing details on the involved API calls here.
Flexiant provides the integration module with Hostbill and WHMCS, two of the most popular software packages for aggregating cloud services, managing customers and products. The modules will enable you to add specific products to your existing Hostbill and WHMCS installations that link to Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator: units packages or resource pools that your end users will be able to purchase and consume through Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator control panel or API. For both platforms, we also provide a reseller module.
On top of our existing features there are a number of significant new advances in v4.0 including:
Aside from the above, we have made a vast number of minor improvements and fixed several bugs.
Following feedback from our customers, we have decided to simplify our product set and reduce the number of editions from four to three. In the process we have also streamlined the differences between the editions and renamed them accordingly. No functionality has been removed from any edition, but you may find you now have access to various features such as Reseller support that you did not have before. Your licence will be automatically updated in the next 14 days to match the new licence types.
|Old name||New name|
|Service Provider||Single Cluster|
|Service Provider Advanced||MultiCluster|
Note that all the features previously available in the Hosting Advanced edition are now available in the Hosting Edition.
Almost all customers are entitled to free upgrades from their current version to version 4.0. If you first purchased Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator before May 2012 and have not since migrated to our standard terms and conditions, please contact your account manager.
Upgrades to v4.0 must be done from v3.1.6 or later. Direct upgrades from earlier versions are not supported. Full details on the process are available from the Documentation area or by contacting the Customer Operations team.
As of the release of v4.0, our v3.1 chain has reached ‘End of Development’ status; our v3.0 chain reached ‘End of Development’ in May 2013. This means that we will not be introducing new features in these release trains.
We plan to continue to support and to issue bug-fixes for security and critical functionality issues for both v3.0 & and v3.1 to existing customers until these releases reach ‘End of Support’ status. End of Support dates are set out below:
|Software Release Train||End of Support|
|v3.0||1 May 2014|
|v3.1||1 December 2014|
Versions 2.0 and any prior versions have now reached End of Support status and are not supported.
We will obviously honour any later date within your contract with us.
Yes. You can still expand the maximum licence cores or buy core months for your existing licences under the same terms as set out in your existing contract.
All hardware which works on v3.x will also work with v4. In fact, with the added support for Ceph distributed storage we now support more hardware than ever before.
Yes, download the free version from our web site.