Virtual Machine Cloud Portal

The Virtual Machines Cloud Portal (VMCloud Portal or VMCP) was architected and developed to fulfill the needs and demands of A*STAR power users who wanted to manage their own Virtual Machines (VMs). With the portal, virtual machines can be made available to all A*STAR Research Institutes as well as its collaborators, without them having access to our private network.

The number of VMs managed by ITSS Storage and Cloud Services Team is more than 1000, across 3 sites (Biopolis, Fusionopolis and NTU DR site). Simply managing the VMs and servicing users requests alone took up much of the Administrators time at work. If the owners of the Virtual Machines are given just enough privileges to manage their own VMs, the Administrators will be able to improve their work productivity by doing higher value work rather than the mundane and repetitive task like powering up VMs, resetting VMs, installing Operating Systems etc over and over again. The owners of the VMs will have 24 x 7 immediate access and knowledge of their VMs status instead of waiting for the Administrators to respond and react to their requests.

The immediate benefit to the end user is the elimination of the wait time to submit an IT request and getting a response from the VM administrator, which can typically take up to 3 working days.

The Virtual Machines Cloud Portal aims to provide a unified view of users VMs across different sites and allows owners of the VMs to manage them anytime anywhere, even on their mobile devices. It should be intuitive and easy to use. The setup of the VMCP should introduce no or minimal changes to the existing Infrastructure. It should be a complimentary tools rather than re-inventing the wheels for open-source and commercial products. The development tools, programming languages and software used should be free and non-proprietary.

Anticipated Outcomes:

User Empowerment – Owners of the VMs will be able to access and manage their VMs anytime, anywhere, eliminating the response and wait time for VM Administrators to act.

VM Status Transparency – Owners of the VMs will have transparent view of their VMs status, instead of guessing if their VMs are down due to network or system failure. It will instill confidence of the users in choosing to use ITSS Virtual Infrastructure.

Improve Administrators Work Productivity – Rather than being bogged down by mundane and repetitive tasks, Administrators can free up his time to do higher value task.

No Software Licenses Cost – It is developed in-house using open source and open standards tools. Hence we can scale up the virtual infrastructure without worries of additional software licensing cost.

Automated Inventory of Virtual Machines – Provides a unified view of Virtual Machines across different sites. Administrators can easily track and locate a Virtual Machines based on its attributes.

Automated Power Up of VMs – In the event of annual power shutdown of Data Centre, it has the ability to automatically and systematically power on the VMs to bring them to a state similar to the one before the shutdown.

Management Reports – Ability to generate consolidated reports for management use.

HTML5 Console – Ability to view the console of the VM. There is no need for additional plugins to be installed on the web browser. Users can access their VMs even when the network is down. They are able to do change and install the Operating Systems of their VMs and do their own troubleshooting in single-user mode.