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Home > Release Notes > RightScale Cloud Management Platform > 2008-12-22

2008-12-22

These Release Notes document the new features, changes, and bug fixes to the RightScale Dashboard.

Release Date: December 22, 2008

 

User Interface 

(*) Features that are only available for users of RightScale pay editions will be denoted with an asterisk (*).  To learn more about upgrading to one of our pay editions, visit us at RightScale: Plans & Pricing or contact us.

New Features

  • New Monitoring Features*
    Several improvements have been made to our monitoring features. 
    • Monitoring at the Dashboard level
      You can now monitor servers at the Dashboard level. (Home -> Dashboard -> Monitoring tab)  Select and view the graphs of any operational server from any deployment.  View graphical data at the Dashboard level to monitor servers across different deployments at the same time without switching from one page to another. 
    • Common Graphs are automatically displayed
      By default, if there are currently no graphs saved in the server, deployment, or dashboard monitoring section(s), the most commonly used monitoring graphs will automatically be shown (cpu overview, network interface traffic, apache scoreboard, and/or MySQL operations overview).
    • New "CPU" column with icons
      A "CPU" column was added to the homepage of a deployment.  The following icons are used to quickly denote the status of each server.  If the monitoring feature is enabled for a running server, a thumbnail of its CPU usage graph will replace the operational icon. 
      • running_14.png  Operational
      • stopped_14.png  Stopped
      • warning.png  Warning/Stranded
      • booting_14.png  Pending/Booting
      • terminating_14.png  Decommissioning/Terminating
         
  • New Dashboard Homepage
    The Dashboard's homepage has changed (Home -> Dashboard, or select the RightScale logo) in order to provide a more comprehensive overview of your RightScale account. 
    There are now three tabs:
    1. Overview - The Overview tab contains three pieces of information:
      1. RightScale News - Brief news bulletins from RightScale such as information pertaining to an upcoming release, scheduled maintenance reminders, recent press releases, or reminders of upcoming  webinars. 
      2. Deployments Budget Estimate - For each deployment active/inactive servers, current hourly and daily run rate, and a 14-day average are displayed.  Important! - These figures are estimates only.
      3. Cloud Service Credential Validity - Icons are now used to denote a credential's validity for each cloud and/or cloud service. 
             icons_valid.gif  Indicates valid credentials for a cloud/service
             icons_invalid.gif  Indicates invalid credentials
             warning.png  Indicates credentials for new services that have not been activated
        See Upgrade Your Account.
    2. Deployments - Shows information for instances that have been launched, as well as deployment information.  This tab displays what was previously shown under Home -> Dashbaord, along with a few minor changes to the display.  Once your cloud service credentials are all valid, the Deployments tab will be shown by default when you click the RightScale logo.
    3. Monitoring* - Select any server from any of your deployments and display its monitoring data.  (NOTE: Monitoring features are only available for our pay editions.  To unlock this feature, please contact us at sales@rightscale.com.   See Overview of the Monitoring System.
        
  • Freeze Software Repositories to a Specific Day

There are several software repositories that are necessary for day-to-day operations in the cloud. Mainly the CentOS, Fedora EPEL, and RubyGems software repositories.  RightScale provides a highly available set of servers that mirror these repositories to ensure high uptime and performance.

In order to further increase the reliability of cloud server launches, RightScale now keeps daily snapshots of the mirrored repositories such that servers can be launched using repositories "frozen" to a particular day. This makes future launches independent of any changes and incompatibilities introduced into the public repositories.

Important!  Freezing repositories is only possible when launching instances that use RightImageTM  version V4_1_0 or newer. Instances using older RightScale images or non-RightScale images will automatically use repositories frozen on 12/10/08. That is, all launches derived from older existing templates will be automatically frozen for you from a repository dated 12/10/08. See Freezing Software Repositories.

The frozen repositories can be set within the RightScale Dashboard so that every time a server or a ServerTemplate is launched/re-launched, it can safely pull the appropriate data packages from the exact same repository that has been "frozen" at a specific date in time. For example, if you test a ServerTemplate on 1/20/2009, you can freeze the repositories used with that template on that day. This will ensure that all servers launched from that template use exactly the same repository data as was available on the day of testing.  However, it is possible to override the repository date on a server-by-server basis, such that the ServerTemplate can be tested easily with newer repository dates.

RightScale provides mirrors for the following free software repositories:

rubyforge.org - All rubygems hosted by rubyforge.org

CentOS - Community ENTerprise Operating System.  CentOS Linux public repositories for version 5.0, 5.2 (OS, Updates, Add-ons, Extras, CentOS Plus)

Epel - Fedora EPEL version 5 with extra packages for Enterprise Linux

RightScale maintained packages

See  Freezing Software Repositories and RightScale Mirrors.

 

  • MySQL-EBS Runbook

The runbook is specifically designed for customers who are using the "MySQL EBS" ServerTemplate to create a MySQL-EBS Database setup.  It documents common problem scenarios that you may encounter when managing your MySQL databases, as well as suggested recipes for resolutions.

 

  • Create Custom Alert Specifications

Previously, you could only create an alert specification using one of the predefined file types.  You can now create a custom alert specification using any of a server's monitored variables.  See Creating a Custom Alert Specification.  

 

  • RightScripts - Copy to Head

There is a new "Copy to Head" button  that allows you to make a previously committed version of a script the new (editable) HEAD version.   This feature allows you to edit older versions of a script by making them an editable HEAD version. 

NOTE:  When you use this feature, it will overwrite the current HEAD version of the script.  As a best practice, you should always commit the current HEAD version before using the "Copy to Head" button.   As an added safety feature, when you press this button a dialog box will make you confirm the overwrite of the HEAD version.
 

  • Support for Splunk

You can now use Splunk to monitor servers in your deployment.  Splunk is a powerful IT search engine.  It enables you to search and navigate all your logs and IT data in real-time.  See Splunk for more details or follow our Adding Splunk to your deployment tutorial. 

NOTE:  The ServerTemplates and RightScripts to support Splunk will be release later this week.

Changes and Bug Fixes

  • Improvements to Deployments
    Several improvements have been made to the Deployments User Interface and display.  (Manage > Deployments)  They include:
    • Sorting Options
      Deployments can be sorted in the manners listed below.  Previously, they were sorted by their creation date.  The Default deployment is always listed first, regardless of the specified sort order.  (Click a column's name to toggle between ascending/descending order.)
      • Alphabetically by Nickname - The Default deployment will always be listed first, followed by the other deployments sorted alphabetically by name.  
      • Alphabetically by Description -  Sorted alphabetically by description.
      • Servers - The first criteria is the number of active servers.  If the number of active servers is the same within deployments, the number of inactive servers is considered next.
    • Actions column has been removed
      Previously, you could perform actions such as launch, terminate, edit inputs, and delete deployments from the Deployments page.  You must now click through to a specific deployment to perform any actions.
    • Servers column appearance
      A new display scheme is being used to make it simpler to determine the number of active and inactive servers at a glance.  The green circle icon running_14.png (active servers) and red square stopped_14.png icon (inactive servers) icons are now preceded by the number of servers. 
      For example, 4 active and 2 inactive servers would be displayed as:  05-deployment_active_inactive.gif
      If a deployment includes an active array with operational servers, the number of servers in the array will be surrounded by square brackets "[]".  For example, the following deployment has one active server, one inactive server, and one server in the array:  06-deployment_arrays.gif .
       
  • Missing Inputs on Relaunch

When adding a Relaunch Server action to an Alert Escalation, or an Alert Specification there is now a check to see if this is connected to a server or ServerTemplate with missing inputs. If so, a warning will be displayed to inform the user that in order to automate the relaunching of a server, its input parameters must be fully specified. 

 
  • Prevent two (or more) concurrent backups from hanging
    If two or more instances of mysql-binary-backup.rb are run concurrently, the backups would hang.  This scenario could occur if the backups were started via a cron job, operational script, or a combination of both.  A bug with the locking mechanism has resolved a deadlock condition such that all backups initiated will run to completion. 
     
  • Improvements to EBS Snapshots and Volumes
    Several improvements have been made to the EBS Snapshots interface.
    • You can now delete more than one snapshot at a time. 
    • You can now sort snapshots by name, date, status, etc.
    • Under the Lineage tab of a volume, it will also show when a volume is "attached to" an instance.  Previously, the Lineage tab would only display when a volume was created and when it was "detached from" an instance.
    • Deleted and attached volumes no longer appear as a selectable item in the dropdown box when selecting a volume to attach to a server.
    • You can now "create and attach" a volume from a server's Volume tab.  Previously, you could only attach a volume that already existed.
    • When creating a volume from a snapshot, the size of the volume will automatically show the size of the snapshot.  Previously, (unless you specified otherwise) it would create a volume that matched the size of the snapshot.  You can now see the size and increase the size of the volume, if necessary.
    •  When viewing a snapshot, instead of showing "started at" and "completed at" it now says "started at" and "took" (i.e. The duration in minutes that it "took" to complete the snapshot.)
    • If you attempt to launch a volume from a snapshot that is still pending and not 100% complete, an error message will appear.
    • Previously, only the last 10 EBS snapshots were saved if you used the "MySQL-EBS" ServerTemplate.  The default has been increased to 60 and is now configurable by setting the DB_BACKUP_KEEP_LAST input variable.  See Change the frequency and number of saved snapshots.
    • EBS and CloudFront are now visible for sub-accounts whose parent is not RightScale.

 

  • "Locking" RightScripts

The ability to lock the HEAD version of RightScripts is now deprecated.  The built-in RightScript versioning tool is a far superior tool for controlling the version of a script.  Therefore, the ability to "lock" a script is no longer needed. 

 

  • Committing Scripts and Templates

Logic has been added to the Commit button such that if no changes have been made to the RightScript, you will be presented with the following dialog box message if you attempt to commit an unchanged script:  "The last committed revision is identical to the [HEAD] revision.  Would you like to commit anyway?"  However, you still have the opportunity to commit the script and create another revision.  This check prevents you from creating duplicate revisions of the exact same script.

 

  • Simpler Procedure for Alert Specifications

The procedure for assigning Alerts to Servers and ServerTemplates (Design -> Alert -> Specifications -> "AlertSpecificationName") has been simplified by splitting the former Subjects tab into two tabs:  Servers and ServerTemplates.  There is a new  "Add Server" operational button in the Server tab that adds a server to the currently selected alert.  Servers are now categorized and displayed in an easy to use structured selection box.   (Previously, all available Servers and ServerTemplates were placed in an unorganized drop down list.)  The "Instances" tab has been deprecated.   See Alert Specifications

 

  • Audit Entries

Audit Entries now support two views:  "Structured" and "Raw" output.  The "Structured" view is parsed and subsequently formatted, hence it is a bit more readable.  It splits the details of an audit entry into audit entry records.  You can expand/collapse the detailed entries for these records.  For example, you can expand/collapse boot state or package installation entries with a simple mouse click.  Raw output is identical to that of audit entries from previous RightScale Dashboard versions.  The raw output is more exhaustive as it shows all of the output from the logs, not just the portions that were parsed and placed into a structured view.  In some instances, it is possible that structured view contains slightly less data.  Data that did not parse well will always be included with the raw output.  

 

  • Audit Entries by the Alert Sub-System
    • To distinguish between actions initiated by the user and those generated by the Alert Sub-System, the corresponding audit entry displays the responsible user accordingly.  For example, if an alert triggers an action such as re-launching a server, the User column will specify the Alert Sub-System as the user, "alerter@rightscale.com."  Previously, the User column was simply "N/A" (not applicable).
    • The body text of an email alert from the Alerter Sub-System now includes the associated RightScale account name.  Note the bold text in the truncated excerpt below:
cpu-0/cpu-idle.value is '99.93', this is != . . . of deployment 'Default' of account 'Greg Doe'

 

 

ServerTemplates

NOTE:  The Splunk ServerTemplates and RightScripts will be rolled out 3-5 days after the other templates and scripts, which were released on December 24, 2008.  Thanks for your patience.

The following ServerTemplates have been updated to use the new RightImage CentOS5_2V4_1_10, which supports the frozen repositories.  See Freezing Software Repositories.  Therefore, all new servers should be launched with the new ServerTemplates.  Most templates and their corresponding RightScripts are now reboot safe (except the MySQL Bootstrap and Additional (non-EBS) ServerTemplates). 

Hadoop JobTracker [rev 2]

There were no changes to the RightScripts.  The only change is that the template now uses the RightImage CentOS5_2V4_1_10.

Hadoop Namenode [rev 2]

There were no changes to the RightScripts.  The only change is that the template now uses the RightImage CentOS5_2V4_1_10.

Hadoop Slave [rev 2]

There were no changes to the RightScripts.  The only change is that the template now uses the RightImage CentOS5_2V4_1_10.

LAMP v4 developer [rev 1]

Updated    DB MySQL server install v7  r6
Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3

LAMP v4 trial [rev 2]

Updated    DB MySQL attachment mysqldump import v1  r1
Updated    DB MySQL server install v7  r6
Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3
Updated    WEB app attachment code install  r1

LB Apache+HAproxy v4 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3
Updated    SYS Monitoring HAproxy Add v1  r9

LB Nginx+HAproxy v1 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring HAproxy Add v1  r9

MONO App Server v5 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3
Updated    WEB apache http-only vhost v4  r8

MONO FrontEnd v4 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3
Updated    SYS Monitoring HAproxy Add v1  r9
Updated    WEB apache http-only vhost v4  r8

Mephisto all-in-one v8 [rev 2] 

Updated    DB MySQL server install v7 r6
Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1
Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3

MySQL Additional v13 [rev 3]

Updated    DB MySQL server install v7 r6
Updated    DB Rightscale tools install v10  r5
Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1

MySQL Bootstrap v13 [rev 3]

Updated    DB MySQL server install v7  r6
Updated    DB Rightscale tools install v10 r5
Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1

MySQL EBS [rev 10]

Updated    DB EBS backup r5
Updated    DB EBS continuous backups  r4
Updated    DB EBS master restore  r6
Updated    DB EBS promote to master  r4
Updated    DB EBS slave init r4
Updated    DB EBS slave init at boot  r4
Updated    DB EBS slave init from non-EBS master  r4
Updated    DB MySQL server install v7  r6
Updated    DB Rightscale tools install v10  r5
Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4 r1

NFS Server Additional v1 [rev 2]

Updated    NFS Lightweight Backup Install  r3

NFS Server Master v1 [rev 2]

Updated    NFS Lightweight Backup Install  r3

PHP App Server v6 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1 r3
Updated    WEB apache http-only vhost v4  r8

PHP FrontEnd v7 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1 r3
Updated    SYS Monitoring HAproxy Add v1  r9
Updated    WEB apache http-only vhost v4 r8

Rails AppServer v5 [rev 2]

Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1

Rails FrontEnd v5 [rev 2]

Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4 r1
Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1 r3
Updated    SYS Monitoring HAproxy Add v1  r9

Rails all-in-one-developer v8 [rev 2]   NEW!

Updated    DB MySQL server install v7  r6
Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1
Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3

Rails all-in-one-trial [rev 2]   NEW!

Updated    DB MySQL attachment mysqldump import v1  r1
Updated    DB MySQL server install v7  r6
Updated    RB rails attachment code install & db config v1  r3
Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1
Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3

RightGrid Worker v4 [rev 2]

Updated    RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1

TomCat5 App Server v6 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3
Updated    WEB TomCat Connector (Mod_JK) install from src v3  r4
Updated    WEB apache http-only vhost v4  r8

TomCat5 FrontEnd v6 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3
Updated    SYS Monitoring HAproxy Add v1  r9
Updated    WEB TomCat Connector (Mod_JK) install from src v3  r4
Updated    WEB apache http-only vhost v4  r8

TomCat6 FrontEnd v2 [rev 2]

Updated    SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3
Updated    SYS Monitoring HAproxy Add v1  r9
Updated    WEB TomCat Connector (Mod_JK) install from src v3  r4
Updated    WEB apache http-only vhost v4  r8


RightScripts

The following RightScripts have been modified.

  • DB EBS backup r5
  • DB EBS continuous backups  r4
  • DB EBS master restore  r6
  • DB EBS promote to master r4
  • DB EBS slave init r4
  • DB EBS slave init at boot  r4
  • DB EBS slave init from non-EBS master  r4
  • DB MySQL attachment mysqldump import v1  r1
  • DB MySQL server install v7  r6
  • DB Rightscale tools install v10  r5
  • NFS Lightweight Backup Install  r3
  • RB rails attachment code install & db config v1  r3
  • RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1
  • SYS Monitoring Apache Add v1  r3
  • SYS Monitoring HAproxy Add v1  r9
  • RB rubygems 1.3.1 + quickinstall v4  r1
  • WEB apache http-only vhost v4 r8
  • WEB app attachment code install r1
  • WEB TomCat Connector (Mod_JK) install from src v3 r4
 
 
 
 
 
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