Flex Images: Blur the Line Between Cloud and Dedicated

February 1, 2012

Our customers are not concerned with technology for technology's sake. Information technology should serve a purpose; it should function as an integral means to a desired end. Understandably, our customers are focused, first and foremost, on their application architecture and infrastructure. They want, and need, the freedom and flexibility to design their applications to their specifications.

Many companies leverage the cloud to take advantage of core features that enable robust, agile architectures. Elasticity (ability to quickly increase or decrease compute capacity) and flexibility (choice such as cores, memory and storage) combine to provide solutions that scale to meet the demands of modern applications.

Another widely used feature of cloud computing is image-based provisioning. Rapid provisioning of cloud resources is accomplished, in part, through the use of images. Imaging capability extends beyond the use of base images, allowing users to create customized images that preserve their software installs and configurations. The images persist in an image library, allowing users to launch new cloud instances based their images.

But why should images only be applicable to virtualized cloud resources?

Toward that end, we're excited to introduce SoftLayer Flex Images, a new capability that allows us to capture images of physical and virtual servers, store them all in one library, and rapidly deploy those images on either platform.

SoftLayer Flex Images

Physical servers now share the core features of virtual servers—elasticity and flexibility. With Flex Images, you can move seamlessly between and environments as your needs change.

Let's say you're running into resource limits in a cloud server environment—your data-intensive server is I/O bound—and you want to move the instance to a more powerful dedicated server. Using Flex Images, you can create an image of your cloud server and, extending our I/O bound example, deploy it to a custom dedicated server with SSD drives.

Conversely, a dedicated environment can be quickly replicated on multiple cloud instances if you want the scaling capability of the cloud to meet increased demand. Maybe your web heads run on dedicated servers, but you're starting to see periods of usage that stress your servers. Create a Flex Image from your dedicated server and use it to deploy cloud instances to meet demand.

Flex Image technology blurs the distinctions—and breaks down the walls—between virtual and physical computing environments.

We don't think of Flex Images as new product. Instead—like our network, our portal, our automated platform, and our globe-spanning geographic diversity—Flex Image capability is a free resource for our customers (with the exception of standard nominal costs in storing the Flex Images).

We think Flex Images represents not only great value, but also provides a further example of how SoftLayer innovates continually to bring new capabilities and the highest possible level of customer control to our automated services platform.

To sum up, here are some of the key features and benefits of SoftLayer Flex Images:

  • Universal images that can be used interchangeably on dedicated or cloud systems
  • Unified image library for archiving, managing, sharing, and publishing images
  • Greater flexibility and higher scalability
  • Rapid provisioning of new dedicated and cloud environments
  • Available via SoftLayer's management portal and API

In public beta, Flex Images are available now. We invite you to try them out, and, as always, we want to hear what you think.

-Marc

Comments

February 1st, 2012 at 2:07pm

I have a dedicated server running multiple Virtual Machines using CentOS and KVM. Will I be able to use Flex Images to move VMs between my dedicated server and Softlayer cloud instances?

February 5th, 2012 at 8:01am

Are there any complications with cpanel licensing etc?

I have a dedicated server with SL and I d love to move it to CloudLayer.
Flex image seems like the easiest way to migrate.

I am charged some extra cost for cPanel today per month.

Any issues you see with the above use case for flex?

February 8th, 2012 at 1:27am

Flex images are good and useful?
I will do it soon to tell you the truth.

February 10th, 2012 at 1:58pm

Tried to create a Flex Image from my CentOS 6.0 (x64) Minimal CCI and it wasn't supported. According to the announcement, "CentOS" is supported. Obviously there are many details which don't seem to be documented.

February 13th, 2012 at 10:37pm

@Dan At this time you can only capture a dedicated server or cloud instance. We don't support capturing a guest on a hypervisor on a dedicated server.

@Andreas The use case you specify is supported - you can capture your dedicated server with cpanel and deploy it to a cloud instance. The licensing is handled.

@Nadia We'd love to hear your feedback.

@Ronny Sorry for the confusion. We currently support CentOS 5.x. Version 6 support should arrive in Q2.

February 19th, 2012 at 3:15pm

Were currently running unbuntu on a rackspace cloud, we are strongly reconsidering our options and moving over to CentOS and Flex image looks also something we should look at.

Thanks for sharing, Gonna read up a lot more about this.

Ted Hayward CEO
Web Design Bournemouth

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Comments

February 1st, 2012 at 2:07pm

I have a dedicated server running multiple Virtual Machines using CentOS and KVM. Will I be able to use Flex Images to move VMs between my dedicated server and Softlayer cloud instances?

February 5th, 2012 at 8:01am

Are there any complications with cpanel licensing etc?

I have a dedicated server with SL and I d love to move it to CloudLayer.
Flex image seems like the easiest way to migrate.

I am charged some extra cost for cPanel today per month.

Any issues you see with the above use case for flex?

February 8th, 2012 at 1:27am

Flex images are good and useful?
I will do it soon to tell you the truth.

February 10th, 2012 at 1:58pm

Tried to create a Flex Image from my CentOS 6.0 (x64) Minimal CCI and it wasn't supported. According to the announcement, "CentOS" is supported. Obviously there are many details which don't seem to be documented.

February 13th, 2012 at 10:37pm

@Dan At this time you can only capture a dedicated server or cloud instance. We don't support capturing a guest on a hypervisor on a dedicated server.

@Andreas The use case you specify is supported - you can capture your dedicated server with cpanel and deploy it to a cloud instance. The licensing is handled.

@Nadia We'd love to hear your feedback.

@Ronny Sorry for the confusion. We currently support CentOS 5.x. Version 6 support should arrive in Q2.

February 19th, 2012 at 3:15pm

Were currently running unbuntu on a rackspace cloud, we are strongly reconsidering our options and moving over to CentOS and Flex image looks also something we should look at.

Thanks for sharing, Gonna read up a lot more about this.

Ted Hayward CEO
Web Design Bournemouth

Leave a Reply

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