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  1. Blog
  2. Article

Canonical
on 8 April 2015


John Meadows, VP of Sales and Business Development at Talligent, writes about their motivations and experiences charming OpenBook.

Let me start with a brief explanation of why we decided to Charm our application. Canonical is an important player in the Openstack cloud space with a leading distribution of Openstack.  Ubuntu is the most popular platform for Openstack deployments as well as the most popular guest operating systems on public clouds.  It has been critical to Talligent’s success that we stay closely aligned with both the changing capabilities of OpenStack platform, as well as stay closely involved with the ecosystem and partner innovations.  Our customers expect it of us and we have an obligation to continue to take advantage of what key Openstack partners like Canonical can provide.  So, we decided that it is a strategic advantage for Talligent to be a certified Canonical partner and be able to provide Ubuntu certified solutions to our joint customers. Automation of the set-up and installation of OpenBook is a huge win.  The Juju Charm packaging truly simplifies the deployment of our OpenBook solution, eliminating time consuming set-up of prerequisites such as the tomcat application server and mariadb database. Users can simply download those charms, drag a line to connect the components to OpenBook, and deploy the package to their cloud environment.  Juju determines which virtual machine to deploy components to, and if no VM is available, it will create one.  The entire process now takes just minutes!  This eliminates time consuming (and low value) steps in the Talligent OpenBook evaluation process allowing us to spend more time on setting up rate plans and integrating customer work flows.

How easy was that? ☺

We expect that the Charm packaging will be a gateway for other opportunities with Canonical. We look forward to using the OpenBook charm for easy integration into the Canonical managed cloud offering, Bootstack, as well as inclusion in the Orange Box program for evaluations and demonstrations (and no, we do not get to “borrow” an orange box for our own lab – we asked!).

What we have learned about Charming

It is important that our Charm be Recommended.  We want our customers to know that the charm has been through a rigorous review process where Canonical team members have deployed and tested the charm.  The process took a few weeks but we know that all deployment options were confirmed and the solution dependencies were ironed out by Talligent and Canonical engineers.  Our customers will be able to confidently implement the OpenBook charm.  Being Recommended also differentiates the OpenBook charm from the hundreds of charms in the store that have not been vetted by Canonical staff. A shortcut to developing our charm was to identify an existing charm(OpenMRS) with a similar layout and use that as a template.  Talligent OpenBook and OpenMRS both require a database (MariaBD for OpenBook, MySQL for OpenMRS) and an Application server (Apache Tomcat) to function properly. The mysql and tomcat7 charms were already available for use with OpenBook.  Most charms are open source and deploy from a Unix shell script making it straightforward to borrow the source code. Given the wide number of currently available charms, most application owners can find a charm to use as a guide rather than starting from scratch.  This step helped us ramp up quickly and cut our Charming process by a few weeks. Otherwise, the charming process was straight forward.  The steps are well documented and the Canonical staff were readily available to provide advice.  The queue is transparent so easy to for us to know what to expect for timing.  I won’t rehash the process – the steps are well laid out here:  https://jujucharms.com/docs/1.20/authors-charm-store

Where we go from here

The current version of the Talligent OpenBook Charm is for evaluation or small scale production deployments.  We expect to create future branches of the charm designed for large scale HA deployments. As we extend the OpenBook platform to support CloudFoundry PaaS on OpenStack, we will add that charm as well.   Options for deploying the OpenBook Charm  We are excited about this first step in the partnership with Canonical.  We hope to see OpenBook management tools become part of the Bootstack hosted cloud offering and the Orange box demo servers, so popular at recent Openstack Summits.  The OpenBook Charm will help Talligent work more closely with Canonical as they spread the gospel about OpenStack! Talligent OpenBook v2.5 is available for download to your Ubuntu OpenStack cloud at https://jujucharms.com/openbook/trusty.

About Talligent

OpenBook by Talligent allows customers to differentiate and monetize their cloud services with flexible billing/chargeback, improve management visibility with intuitive reporting of infrastructure costs, and decrease response times with self-service access.  For more information, please visit www.Talligent.com or visit with us at the upcoming Openstack Summit in Vancouver, BC, May 18-21, 2015.

Learn more about joining Canonical’s Charm Partner Programme

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