Last Summer in Serverboards

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Last summer was packed with new developments. We were so immersed in creating new features that could not write month to month status reports.

We also reworked the cloud integration, allowing for an easier development of integrations, and added AWS, LXC and LXD integration with Docker and more coming soon.

In previous months and posts, we talked already about the big 18.10 release feature: rules v2. In this post, I will center on the specific development we performed during the summer.

Two panels at Issues and Services

Two panels at issues

This release also features the new design based on two panels, which provide information, tips and listings on the left side, and tips and editing on the right. This separation allows for very fast and easy use of the platform.

Add Services

We liked it so much that on every opportunity we have we use it, as in the Backups and VMC plugins.

Easier component installation

Access to plugins in situ

At Serverboards we saw from the beginning an opportunity to ease the use of the platform by easing the installation of new functionalities. We wanted to allow the user to add new service types, rule presets and so on without breaking the workflow, directly from where you need them, when you need them.

So all around the app we provided access to non installed components, as a listing, which allows installing with one simple click. This allows to do not think too much if one component is installed or not, only if it exists in the Serverboards plugin repository, and in seconds it can be up and running.

Cloud integrations

Virtual Machines and Containers (VMC)

At 17.04 we had very simple cloud integration. It allowed to start/stop and pause on a limited set of cloud providers, and adding a new one was made changing that plugin itself.

This way of working is an inheritance from the pre-1.0 times when the options to develop plugins were not as explored as now, and we know better now.

So for this release, we remade this area and, although the functionality is not expanded, we allow for easy adding plugins that give functionalities for further integrations. Each provider is managed by a specific plugin, which allows to easily add more and more providers.

We also renamed this component to VMC, which stands for Virtual Machines and Containers.

The idea is that both areas, although fundamentally different, have many common areas, which can be factored and summarized in a common grounds panel. We do not allow yet to do more than start/stop machines and containers, but we are also thinking of ways to allow per provider tools, to allow for example to do the basic creation of Docker containers or AWS machines.

This plugin is provided with the core Serverboards but can be deactivated. Our intent is to make it a central part of Serverboards and promote creating plugins for the VMC manager. Had it been outside of the core it would be more difficult.

Backups

Easy Backups

All our clients asked again and again for this feature. Easy backups. So we delivered.

The current form is for very basic backups but allow for extensibility which we plan to exploit during the next release cycle.

It allows creating scheduled jobs that will get data from one source and store in a destination. For example, create a tar file from a remote SSH accessible directory, and store in another SSH accessible server. For the future we want to add support to store on S3, to read from main servers via IMAP, or create SQL backups.

For the future, we also want to create an encryption layer so that your backups are secure. And of course we will provide some way to restore the backup, but that’s more difficult.

As this was a very requested feature, we decided as well to provide it with the base installation.

Project Wizard

Wizard

Another area our clients demanded was easier onboarding, with more information on how to get started. For this we created a setup wizard that helps to create the first and later projects, going step by step adding features to the projects, as adding widgets to the dashboard, services, tools…

Of course, this is integrated with the plugin repository, so even at the first use, you can install the features you need, and no more.

The future

Although Summer is over, we still have some days before the feature freeze for 17.10, as we will use the october month to iron out all the rc bugs. So still more features can be added in these few days!

Stay tuned!