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Calm: Getting Started with Tasks for Automation

  • 13 October 2020
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Calm: Getting Started with Tasks for Automation
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Nutanix Calm 3.0 is now GA! This release brings in many power-packed features, such as Runbooks (the ability to create custom orchestrated workflows), Nutanix Xi cloud support, Microsoft Azure integrations, and more. With Calm 3.0, Nutanix has also released 250+ pre-built tasks that can be imported into the Calm Task Library.

The economic benefits of IT automation are well established. With most industries undergoing a digital transformation, organizations are looking to decrease costs, operate more efficiently, and reduce time to market for their solutions. Achieving each of these requires planning, deploying, and managing IT infrastructure across public and private clouds.

Nutanix Calm provides a comprehensive platform to model, deploy, and manage complex multi-tier applications across public and private clouds in a centralized management platform. Calm’s blueprint model makes it easier to build and consume infrastructure. One of the most powerful aspects of Calm is the “Marketplace,” which comes with pre-seeded, ready-to-use application blueprints that allow the user to start exploring Calm without a major learning curve. A consumer can deploy applications like Chef, SQL Server, Redis, and many more in just a few minutes without having to write any code.

To further promote the agility of custom blueprint development, users can now directly use over 250 scripts once they have been imported into Calm. Further, these scripts can be modified as per their requirements. These scripts cover some of the most frequently used operations, such as interacting with IPAM systems like Infoblox and PhpIPAM; integrating with Rubrik or Veeam for backups; installing Java, Jenkins, and docker; and many more!

Published in the Calm Task library, these scripts can be used in any Blueprint or Runbook across multiple Calm projects. Publishing these independent and modular scripts to the task library enables reusability of frequently used scripts and tasks and thus adds tremendous value to Calm users.

Below is a table with major products for which we have released numerous tasks:

Area

Products

Databases

MongoDB, Postgres, Cassandra, MariaDB, MySQL, CouchDB

IPAM

PhpIPAM, Infoblox, efficientip

Message Bus

Apache Kafka, RabbitMQ

Backup

Rubrik, Veeam

Containers

Docker, Kubernetes

Networking

F5, Fortigate, Cisco-ACI

DevOps

Jenkins, Chef, Puppet

Miscellaneous

Ansible, Hadoop

 

In our example, we will deploy a 3-tier web application consisting of 2 apache web server VMs, 1 load balancer VM, and 1 VM each for SQL and MongoDB, using only the tasks that are pre-seeded in Calm-3.0.

For each VM after defining the VM spec, we must create the “package install” task. Here, consider the installation of MongoDB on one of the VMs. When creating the task, we have the option to browse the library and select a suitable task.

In the library, we see 3 pre-seeded tasks pertaining to MongoDB. We select the task to install and configure MongoDB. It then gets copied over to our blueprint, where we can modify the script if need be.

Once we have created the blueprint, we define all the required variables that have been used in the scripts for these tasks and simply “launch” the application.

And voila! We have a 3-tier application running in just minutes. Since we reused most of the tasks from the library, the application deployment was not only quick, but also free of errors. In fact, we didn’t even have to make any code change in order to get the application running.

Calm DevOps takes ownership of building and maintaining these tasks, which are shared publicly via the Nutanix Github Repository.

The repository also provides a utility to quickly import these tasks in any Calm instance, which is detailed in the following link.

As Calm continues to evolve and bring in new features in each upcoming release, we will continue to add onto these ever-growing list of tasks and improve customer productivity and agility.

Be sure to ask questions and join others in the Calm community forums.

This post was written by Rachit Kansal, Product Manager, Nutanix Calm


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