2018 Newsletter

2018 has been an exciting and successful year for Cloud Assert, and what a way to celebrate our 5th Anniversary in January, 2019. We have doubled our customers, tripled our team size, released number of updates across our product portfolios and so on ...

We got this far only because of some of the great people like you all and the teamwork that made us drive for results and customer success.  It has been a fantastic journey so far, and we are happy to serve you in the coming years with a bond of love and trust. 

We have delivered some awesome features through last year enabling Hybrid Cloud scenarios, starting from integrations with top Cloud and Virtualization platforms, Backup service, to taking care of some basics like Role Based Access Control (RBAC), Consistent experience, Bulk Provisioning and Customer Signup and approval workflows. All with full self-service and extensible automation support, which reduces IT support and management cost, making the ROI very attractive.

Here's a rundown of the latest features that we have worked in 2018:

HYBR (Cloud Assert Homegrown Product - An Alternative platform for Windows Azure pack):

  1. New Integrations: Tenants can provision and manage across all platforms using a single-pane of glass experience.
    • Azure Public Cloud
    • Amazon Web Services
    • System Center
    • vCenter
  2. Bulk-provisioning of VMs: VMs can be provisioned in bulk using Resource Template of different types and deployment specs.
  3. Group Resources and Access Control:  Use Resource Groups to manage VMs as groups, and provide fine grain Access Control
    Tenant Administrators can use Resource Group Access Control to enable fine grain access (e.g., Owner, Contributor, Reader).
  4. Custom Commands:  Custom commands to Add Disk, Expand Disk and Delete Disk are available out-of-the-box.
  5. Backups Improvements:
    • Inline support for backing up VMs from the VM management UI using Commvault
    • View tenant created backups in the connection level
    • Backup extension - to view subscription-based schedules and respective restore points
  6. VM Management and Deployment Improvements:
    • Virtual Machines can be deployed automatically
    • CPU core size/ RAM can be increased for the VMs
    • Take Snapshots for the VMs
    • Schedule based power operations such as reboot, power on/ off, etc., can be performed for the VMs.
  7. Billing:
    • Systematic Invoices can be generated for each subscription at the end of the billing cycle.
    • Pricing profile can be configured by the admin to set price for each resource and its meters specified by the resource provider.
    • Admin can set different prices for the same metered resource based on the property (E.g. VMs, SQL DBs, etc.) or volume of raw usage units.
  8. Self-Service CSP Portal Experience: End customer/ Tenant can create customer profiles, purchase CSP licenses, create and assign licenses right within the HYBR portal without the intervention of the service administrator. Supported for Mapping Cloud Services to both new and existing tenants.
  9. Service Catalog: Admin can create a catalog of offers which can be displayed and availed by the Tenants.
  10. Request Management: Enabled Request Management in the context of workload provisioning along with workflows and Tier level approval processes.

VConnect for Windows Azure Pack:

  • Service/ Deployment Requests: 
    • In the Tenant portal, Included Refresh button in the Approval tab of the Deployment Requests.
    • Multilevel approval process can be supported.
    • "My Approvals tab" for displaying the pending and recent approvals.
    • Deployment request drill down tab for listing the details of the VMs, approvals, deployments, etc.
    • Email alerts on approvals and deployment requests.
    • Supports Custom Parameters for the deployment requests.
    • Tenants can select a custom size for the VMs in the deployment request.
    • Cost estimation of the deployment request will generate at the time of creation based on the configured usage and billing settings.
    • Tenants can upload an attachment while creating a deployment request.
    • Tenants can edit a deployment request before the approval.
    • Admins can add a description of the commands in the new “Description” field introduced.
    • Tenants can upload an attachment in the service request based on App settings.
    • Validating the operation template or script path in the custom Commands.
  • VMware:
    • Admin can Configure Datastores for creating the VM at the Connection Level.
    • Removal of the A0 (1 Core and 256 MB Memory) Compute Instance Size during the VM Creation in the Tenant Portal
  • System Center:
    • Option to hide the CPU and Memory dropdown in VM creation and Dynamically setting the compute instances in the Tenant Portal.
    • Subnets of the System Center Networks can be displayed on the Dashboard page in the Tenant Portal.
  • Resource Templates:
    • Network Resource Name could be displayed in the VM wizard of the Resource template while creating in the Tenant Portal.
    • A tenant can create the network resources using resource templates.
  • Backups Improvement:
    • Inline support for backing up VMs from the VM management UI using Veeam and Commvault.
    • Usages history can be generated for the Commvault backups.
    • Performance improvements in the backup and restore point tabs.
    • Supports for scale-out repositories.
  • Parameter Configurations:
    • Admin has the option to move Parameters from one section/ category to another.
    • Improvements in the Parameter Advanced Option functionalities.
    • Admin can delete and order the parameters inside the sections.
  • Plan Settings:
    • Admin can specify VM expiry settings in the Plan level, and send email alerts to the tenants based on the VMs expiry.
  • Param Specs:
    • Admin can add default Param Specs names in the app settings so that it can get tagged automatically on the VM template.
    • Admin can clone the existing Param Specs.
  • Others:
    • Default Compute Instances configuration at the App settings level.
    • Call Logs in major scenarios in the Controller methods of Deployment requests and Resource templates.
    • Support for native SPF/VMM 2016 features and SDN for VMM/Hyper-V.
    • Admin can create customized network templates and can use it in the resource templates.
    • Max active users count quota introduced in the license.
  • Usage and Billing for Windows Azure Pack:

  • Self-Service CSP License Purchase:
    • Admin can configure/ enable CSP feature in the Settings tab and allow Tenants to create customer profiles, purchase CSP licenses, create and assign licenses right within the Azure Stack tenant portal without the intervention of the service administrator.
  • Pricing:
    • Admin can offer payment plans with fixed payment fee or pay-as-you-go plan or hybrid plan (combination of fixed fee and pay-as-you-go model).
    • Admin can set different prices for the same metered resource based on the property (E.g. VMs, SQL DBs, etc.) or volume of raw usage units.
    • A Markup Percentage can be set for Pricing Profile. This enables Admin to offer plans with a Markup Percentage in addition to the fixed/ monthly fee.
    • A Standard Tax can be set for Pricing Profile and it makes Invoice to be generated with a Standard Tax for the Tenants.
  • User Credits:
    • Admin can set Credits to the Tenants irrespective to the number of subscriptions been registered against Billing service.
    • SUSPENDING SUBSCRIPTIONS UPON USAGE EXCEEDING - It will automatically suspend the subscriptions of a user if the usage cost exceeds the allowed credit limit.
  • Policy Management:
    • Admin can set auto expiry of subscriptions in the plan level.
    • Admin can customize the downloadable CSV files which can be fed into the ERP system.
  • Billing and Invoicing Improvements:
    • Systematic Invoices can be generated for each subscription of the Azure Pack tenants at the end of the billing cycle. Integrates with Veeam Availability Console client to pull Veeam usage and computes cost for the same.
    • Integrated with WHMCS and CyberSource by allowing the tenants to pay their invoices using credit/debit cards right within their Azure Stack tenant login portal.
    • Entire Invoice content can be customized that includes date/ time format to different languages like German, French, etc.
    • Integrated with Azure Stack to pull the usage and cost computation.
    • Invoice PDFs can be sent to users via email.
  • Veeam:
    • Integrated with VAC (Veeam Availability Console) to compute the cost for Veeam Cloud connect usage.
  • Email Alerts:
    • Automatic Email Notifications to users upon successful creation/ deletion/ suspension of subscription, invoice warning and due date notification, etc.
    • When the Billing Agent windows service stops, an email alert will be triggered to the service administrator indicating the service status.
  • VConnect for Microsoft Azure Stack:

  • New Integrations: Tenants can provision and manage across all platforms using a single-pane of glass experience
    • Azure
    • AWS
  • Service Requests/ Request Management:
    • Added option to edit Errored Deployments of the Service Request.
    • Enabled approval workflows in the context of provisioning VMs.
  • vCenter:
    • Configuring the Datastore Hints at the Connection Level for the vCenter Connections.
    • Supports Power CLI 6.5 version.
  • System Center:
    • Listing the IP Pools from the VMM in the SPF VM creation.
    • SPF Virtual Network UI can be created similar to VMM Network template.
  • Resource Template:
    • Network Resource Name can be displayed in the VM Resource Customization wizard.
    • Advanced options for VM template parameters to invoke DataSource scripts.
  • Backups Integration:
    • Tenants can take backups for the virtual machines created in vCenter and System Center.
    • Veeam
    • Commvault
    • Veeam and Commvault backup usages can be generated.
    • Improved call logs auditing for several key operations.
  • Parameter Configurations:
    • Added option to move Parameters from one section or category to another.
  • Dell EMC Isilon Integration:
    • Integrated with Dell EMC Isilon and it will act as an external storage service for file sharing, and so on.
  • Usage and Billing for Microsoft Azure Stack:

  • Self-Service CSP License Purchase:
    • Admin can enable/ disable this feature in the Product Feature Settings for the Tenants to create customer profiles, purchase CSP licenses, create and assign licenses right within the Azure Stack tenant portal without the intervention of the service administrator.
  • Pricing Configuration:
    • Admin can offer payment plans with fixed payment fee or pay-as-you-go plan or hybrid plan (combination of fixed fee and pay-as-you-go model).
    • Admin can set different prices for the same metered resource based on the property (E.g. VMs, SQL DBs, etc.) or volume of raw usage units.
    • A Markup Percentage can be set for Pricing Profile. This enables Admin to offer plans with a Markup Percentage in addition to the fixed/ monthly fee.
    • A Standard Tax can be set for Pricing Profile and it makes Invoice to be generated with a Standard Tax for the Tenants.
  • Usage meters:
    • Cloud Assert has introduced an online service to enable Azure Stack administrators to import newly available usage meters (published by Microsoft) via a button click right within the Billing extension in Azure Stack admin portal.
    • Admin can set a price for the new meters once imported.
  • User Credits:
    • Admin can set Credits to the Tenants irrespective to the number of subscriptions been registered against Billing service.
    • Admin can see the remaining user credits for each user under User Credits Blade.
    • Tenant can view the remaining credits under Overview and Usage History Blades.
  • Billing and Invoicing:
    • Systematic Invoices can be generated for each subscription of the Azure Stack tenants at the end of the billing cycle.
    • Billing solution is integrated with Stripe and allows the tenants to pay their invoices using credit/debit cards right within their Azure Stack tenant login portal
    • Entire Invoice content can be customized that includes date/ time format to different languages like German, French, etc.
  • Email Alerts:
    • When the Billing Agent windows service stops, an email alert will be triggered to the service administrator indicating the service status.
  • Notification Rules:
    • Azure Stack tenants can create a new notification rule to set a limit for their credits.
    • When the credits deplete, the created rule gets triggered and sends an email notification to the tenant.
  • Commvault Integration:
    • Enabled support to collect backup storage usage information from Commvault such as backup size and retention period and enable related usage meters for configuring pricing.
  • Improved ease of managing Usage Collection settings:
    • Admin can manage the Azure Stack Usage Collection settings from the Admin portal and thereby avoid having to backup configuration files during version upgrades.
  • We believe that Cloud Assert has helped you automate Workload Provisioning and Billing Automation across Cloud and Virtualization platforms.  Thank you for your kind support and to be part of our journey and we're excited to help you in 2019.