In this post, we will talk about our idea of providing virtual machines through a self-service interface and what it means for you.
Using self-service to reduce the time the IT depeartment spends on mundane task is not a new idea. FAQ pages and automatic password reset mechanisms are only two examples. The basic premise is the same: time can be saved if an IT workflow is sufficiently easy and formalizable to automate it. The resulting self-service systems allow a non-technical end user to select and trigger such a workflow without directly interacting with IT.
Virtomize offers self-service for virtual machines. Meaning, that an end user can request a virtual machine, which is configured and deployed without IT having to supervise the process.
There are four aspects to the Virtomize solution, which we will explore next:
- User interface
- Rights Management
- Resource limitations
Let’s face it, the user interface of most hypervisors is not very user-friendly. This is fine, as most users of these UI’s are highly technical and require access to all available settings, logs and operations. However, for a user who only wants to create a virtual machine, this is overwhelming.
Virtomize has a clean and simple UI. As an end user, you only get a list of your virtual machines and a way to create a new one in three clicks: pick a template, chose a name and press “Save”. Virtomize will take care of creating, configuring and installing the virtual machine.
The more complex configuration options are only visible to users required to see them, such as administrators. Even then, Virtomize limits the required technical information as much as possible and lets the admin focus on picking useful templates.
Resources on your hypervisor are limited. As such, you don’t want your users create virtual machines and never clean them up. Especially with Virtomize making the creation so easy. Our answer to this problem: users belong to user groups, and each user group can be limited in how may virtual machines (Number, amount of RAM, Disc and CPU) this group can use.
Choosing the right size and configuring the correct networks is the first considerations in creating a virtual machine. But their implications are wide-reaching and can even be a security concern. Therefore, they are best left to a professional.
So, Virtomize allows the creation of templates. These templates contain all necessary configurations needed and allow the users to focus on the why they need a virtual machine, not on the what kind of virtual machine they need. Think “One virtual machine for an internal service” instead of “On Debian 9 with 2 GB Ram, with access to networks X, Y and Z”.
Restricting the rights of some users for security reasons is a common practice. One which is also supported by Virtomize. This way, end users can’t change fundamental settings, such as clusters or template.
Using rights tailor fit to user groups as the added benefit of simplifying the UI, as Virtomize hides the UI elements of restricted operations. As an example, a user could be limited to only seeing his own virtual machines, hiding the configurations for clusters, profiles or networks.