Introduction to the Cloud platform

This section of the documentation is for people that are entirely new to cloud computing and/or the Catalyst Cloud.

What is different about a Cloud platform?

While on the surface there are many similarities between the purchasing of VMs from a host provider and using a cloud provider to provision compute instances; looking closer at both platforms reveals that they have some striking differences.

In the past you may have purchased a series of virtual machines with a specific size for RAM and storage space. You would then pay a predefined amount for these virtual machines on a monthly basis. If you wanted to increase the size of your storage, RAM or the amount of virtual machines you are using, you would have to renegotiate the price of your monthly bill. While you had this ‘subscription’ the virtual machines were yours and you paid the same price regardless of how much you used them; meaning that if you only used them for a week or anything less than 24/7 you were not getting the most out of your monthly bill.

On a cloud based system you only pay for what is used and you can change your resources on the fly. If you need to horizontally scale an instance you can simply spin up more compute nodes. If you need to increase the size of your block storage, then you can add a new volume to your instance, or you can use our object storage service as an alternative. In a cloud environment your instances and other resources are scheduled by the cloud and you are only billed for the amount of resources you use.

For example: you need an instance to crunch numbers for a day. In a cloud system you only pay for however long it takes to complete your task. In a traditional system you would have to pay for an entire month of use. On the Catalyst Cloud, you only pay your instances down to the minute. And if you need more power for the instance during your number crunching you can increase the compute capacity without having to confirm with your provider first. Saving yourself money and the hassle of negotiating changes. Once you are done with your task you can turn off your instance, release any other resources, and the bill stops there.

What is the Catalyst Cloud?

Catalyst Cloud is a cloud computing platform, based entirely in New Zealand.

Catalyst Cloud was built with the open source project, OpenStack. Using OpenStack our Cloud allows users like yourself to provision services. Provisioning is similar to renting. You can provision things such as storage space, compute capacity, or internet access. The building blocks you need to run a business’s applications.

Note

Openstack requires a python interpreter to function and is currently phasing out it’s support for Python2. We therefore recommend running Openstack using Python3.

OpenStack gives you the ability to provision no more or less than what you need, by allowing you to change how much you are using quickly, easily, and automatically, through a variety of tools.

../_images/access_methods.png

To obtain resources on Catalyst Cloud, you provision services. Catalyst Cloud services are pieces of hardware and software that we have in one of our data centres. We make these easy and convenient to use through a variety of tools including our Dashboard web application, the command line interface or a number of orchestration services.

By exposing our hardware and software as services, we remove a lot of complexity from your day to day work. For example: you need to give a server it’s own public IP address. You open a terminal and run:

$ openstack floating ip create public-net

+---------------------+--------------------------------------+
| Field               | Value                                |
+---------------------+--------------------------------------+
| created_at          | None                                 |
| description         | None                                 |
| fixed_ip_address    | None                                 |
| floating_ip_address | 150.242.41.224                       |
| floating_network_id | 849ab1e9-7ac5-4618-8801-e6176fbbcf30 |
| id                  | 415fa158-fd7d-4b43-9002-0a55aa22a753 |
| name                | 150.242.41.224                       |
| port_id             | None                                 |
| project_id          | 8ccc3286887e49cb9a40f023eba693b4     |
| qos_policy_id       | None                                 |
| revision_number     | None                                 |
| router_id           | None                                 |
| status              | DOWN                                 |
| subnet_id           | None                                 |
| tags                | []                                   |
| updated_at          | None                                 |
+---------------------+--------------------------------------+

Now you have provisioned a public IP address. Now you run:

$ openstack server add floating ip my_server_name 150.242.41.224

Just like that, your server has a public IP address in seconds. Quick, easy and powerful. Every action on Catalyst Cloud can be performed just as quickly.

Now we understand the basic idea behind Catalyst Cloud, let’s explore what services Catalyst Cloud provides.

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