Cloudify FAQ

Q: So what is Cloudify anyway?

A: Cloudify is an open source framework that allows you to deploy, manage and scale your applications on the cloud, and we tried to make this as simple as possible. The idea is simple: you model your application using a blueprint, which describes the tiers that make up your application, along with how to install, start and monitor each of these tiers. The blueprint is a collection of text configuration files that contain all of the above. Each Cloudify deployment has one or more managers, which are used to deploy new applications (using the above blueprints), and continuously monitor, scale and heal existing applications.

Q: How is Cloudify different from PaaS platforms like CloudFoundry & OpenShift?

A: Cloudify is not a traditional PaaS framework, although it can be used to build one. PaaS platforms such as Cloud Foundry and OpenShift focus primarily on common application stacks and architectures, and are designed to improve developer productivity by making it easy to develop and deploy new, simple applications. Cloudify, on the other hand, is designed to handle complex, non-trivial apps, that typically have multiple tiers which are not always the usual Ruby, Node, Java stack. By using blueprints to model the application, Cloudify allows users to automate the deployment and management of any existing application stack. In addition, it gives the user a much higher degree of control over the application stack itself – you’re not restricted to a specific version of a web server of a specific load balancer implementation, as you are with the usual PaaS platforms.

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Q: Is Cloudify provided as a service?

A: No, Cloudify is not provided as a service. It’s provided as an open source framework that you can install and use on the cloud of your choice. There however will be a trial service (coming soon) that lets you give it a test drive online without downloading and installing the software.

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Q: What’s the quickest way to try Cloudify out?

A: Download it here, and then head over to the Getting Started guide, and follow the instructions.

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Q: How is Cloudify different than configuration management tools like Chef, Puppet, SaltStack, and Ansible? Can I use Cloudify with these tools?

A: Configuration management (CM) tools are great for configuring individual servers and preparing them for service. Given a server and a desired state, they will make sure to take all the required steps to configure that server so that it ends up in the desired state.*

Cloudify, on the other hand, looks at things from an application perspective – i.e. given a description of an application stack with all its tiers, their dependencies, and the details for each tier, Cloudify will take all the steps required to realize that application stack. This includes provisioning infrastructure resources on the cloud (compute, storage and network), assigning the right roles to each provisioned VM, configuring this CM (which is typically done by CM tools), injecting the right pieces of information to each tier, starting them up in the right order, and then continuously monitoring the instances of each tier, healing it on failure and scaling that tier when needed. Cloudify can indeed integrate with these CM tools as needed for configuring individual VMs, and in fact this a best practice we encourage our users to follow. You can check out our plugins for Chef, Puppet, and our Script Plugin. You can also read about using Docker for configuration management and checkout our Docker Plugin as well.

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Q: Can I use my existing Chef recipes or Puppet manifests with Cloudify?

A: Yup, see above. Cloudify enables you to leverage any Chef cookbook or Puppet manifest. So working with either tool is really intuitive with Cloudify. We have a whole area dedicated to using Chef with Cloudify, and you can check out how to get started with the Puppet plugin here. So be sure to check it out if you’re using one of these tools.*

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Q: I’ve been hearing all kinds of buzz words lately – orchestration, automation, DevOps, continuous delivery…what does it all mean?

A: Automation usually focuses on specific tasks. Orchestration is kind of like automation on steroids. It’s the automation of your automation…what we mean by that, is that it’s the automation of workflows and processes, taking into consideration the order in which tasks need to be performed as well. (For example starting a database before the web server during server provisioning). Here’s a good blog post on cloud orchestration vs. cloud automation that might be able to help.

To learn more about DevOps – read this post on what DevOps isn’t. But seriously, it’s in a way a state of mind that encourages the tearing down of silos and communication between dev and ops – and not be afraid to pick up tasks from dev or ops as needed, if its directly related to what you’re working on.

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Q: What are the prerequisites for Cloudify?

A: For running the Cloudify CLI, you need to have Python 2.7. When running on clouds such as OpenStack or Amazon, you need to have proper IaaS credentials and set them properly in Cloudify. For more details, please see our guide.

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Q: What clouds does Cloudify support anyway? And how does it do it?

A: Cloudify supports pretty much any cloud. No wait it’s true – hear us out. There are clouds that are supported out of the box with already available plugins – the most common clouds OpenStack, vCloud, Azure CloudStack, Softlayer, AWS and a bunch of others, you can check out our documentation for the full list.

If you’re looking to use a cloud that doesn’t have an existing provider – you can write the provider yourself (isn’t open source great?), or you can reach out to us for help.

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Q: Can Cloudify work within my data center or non-virtualized environment, or does it have to have an IaaS infrastructure?

A: It sure can. Cloudify supports a BYON (bring your own node) provider which basically means you can leverage your existing servers (virtualized or non-virtualized) for deploying and managing Cloudify services.

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Q: I tried installing Cloudify and got an obnoxious error – where can I get help?

A: You can post a thread in our in our developer and user forums, or on stackexchange, or you can reach out to us directly – we’re always here to help troubleshoot. We also have office hours every two weeks with open Q&A so you can have hands-on help with someone from our team.

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Q: What other technologies does Cloudify integrate with?

A: Cloudify was built out of the box to work with our favorite technologies – we’re not looking to replace great tools – we just want to work really well with them. So pretty much any tool you’re used to working with, Cloudify likely supports it. There are the obvious configuration management tools like Chef and Puppet as well as bash (for *nix systems) And PowerShell (for Windows).

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Q: How do I get started with Cloudify blueprints, and where do I find them?

A: You can find all of the available blueprints in Github. You can take a test drive with the Cloudify widget and interactive shell (coming soon), and see how the blueprints work in action before doing so. You can also check out our video tutorials :for how to get started with Cloudify blueprints.

To get started just follow our quick start guide.

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Q: Can I write my own Cloudify blueprints? How hard is it?

A:Of course you can. From newbie to ninja – somewhere in the vicinity of green belt.

If there is a blueprint you need that doesn’t exist in our repo, you can copy the syntax from the existing blueprints and create your own. Our blueprints are written in YAML so they’re pretty straightforward. To learn how to get started check out these resources, you can also purchase pro support which offers custom blueprint support.*

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Q: Can I use Cloudify on a single desktop?

A: Yup. Cloudify supports Vagrant based installation, which means for testing purposes or any other reason you may have, you can bootstrap Cloudify on your local environment and get started. Read how here.

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Q: How does auto-scaling works?

A: Auto-scaling let’s you define thresholds and rules to automatically add capacity to your deployment. You can check out this blog post that discusses this in detail and our docs.*

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Q: What do you mean by OpenStack Native?

Cloudify was designed to be provide out of the box native integration with OpenStack, based on two main guiding principles:

  • Integration with OpenStack core and infrastructure services, which usually includes this full OpenStack component list – as well as those that are continually being developed and added with every release.
  • Follow the OpenStack design principles – OpenStack is written in Python and uses a certain stack for messaging, database and such. To be OpenStack native you should align yourself with the OpenStack design principles as closely much as possible.

With Cloudify 3.x we have strived to be as closely aligned with these principles, have incorporated the TOSCA standard, and have developed built-in plugins to support all OpenStack components.

Read more about becoming OpenStack native.

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Q: So Enterprise Cloudify vs. open source – what’s the deal?

A: Cloudify comes in the free for life open source version that you are able to fork here and customize to your needs, and a Premium edition that includes all of the open source edition’s features, and some other goodies. Learn more about the two versions here, and feel free to get in touch. if you’d like to hear more.

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Q: How about support?

A: Support packages are available for puchase as an add-on to Cloudify, and if you choose the Cloudify Premium edition, the support is included as part of the package. You can find out more about Cloudify Premium here.

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Q: Anything else I should know?

A: Can we be cheese? We value each and every Cloudify user and community member, so if you have any ideas or feature requests and you can check out our roadmap to see what’s coming in the next versions, we love to keep innovating, so definitely reach out and let us know what you’re thinking. And we know, there’s no open source tool without an awesome community to back it, so we hope the site provides you with all the resources you need – docs, blog, “video tutorials”/cloudifysourcetv and more. You can also find help in our developer and user forums. Be sure to join us and don’t be shy to reach out.

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