As cloud computing-based technology has grown, so have the number of services offered over the cloud. Due to this rapid growth in cloud-based technology, service providers must be able to deploy cloud service environments very quickly. In order to address this issue, the NCHC created Ezilla. Thus, the questions arrive, "What is Ezilla?," "What can it do?,” and "How did the NCHC use it to build the Education Cloud and use it as a helpful teaching tool?" To answer these questions and more, we present to you the story of Ezilla!
Ezilla – Built On the “Carry-On-Cloud” Concept
Ezilla (pronounced "Easy La") helps users quickly and easily build their own private cloud! Ezilla integrates storage, networking, and computing resources under a cloud and allows cloud service providers to swiftly deploy cloud service environments that are built on a user-friendly, web-based interface.
In order to create a private cloud and, thus, an exclusive computing environment, it is essential to virtualize the IT environment and develop an automatic management mechanism as well as a service-oriented application strategy. In order to meet these criteria, Ezilla provides an open cloud architecture and a fully web-based solution which enables its users to easily utilize virtual and real computing resources via an intuitive and user-friendly interface.
Creating a "Single Click" Cloud Environment that Includes Storage, Networking, and Computing Services
After installing Ezilla, the user can immediately and easily create a cloud environment for storage, networking, and computing. For storage, Ezilla allows the user to mount virtual storage space directly onto the system. The advantage of this is that it reduces network delays and the time needed for data transmission which, in turn, increase the efficiency of task execution and data access. One potential drawback to this scenario is that the data is normally cleared once the virtual machine (VM) is deleted. To address this issue, Ezilla added a function which allows the user to utilize remote storage space (e.g. Dropbox and iFolder) to save the data. In this way, the system is capable of offering space with full data security and stability. The data can be stored permanently even if the VM is deleted.
Ezilla also features a setup function that allows for flexible networking configuration in that it can build a safe environment for virtual network communications among the VM groups on demand. The various VM groups can be easily linked or segmented as illustrated in the figure below.
ˇ˝The Ezilla Virtual Network Structure
Ezilla's entire virtual cluster establishment mechanism, including the cloud network and storage, activates immediately upon receiving a request from the user. In so doing, the user possesses the entire virtual cluster of computing services. Also, Ezilla helps the user to integrate off-site computing resources "on demand" as illustrated in the figure below.
ˇ˝Ezilla's Integration of Offsite Computing Resources for "Resources on Demand"
The NCHC's Ezilla Application -- The Education Cloud
One application that the NCHC built using Ezilla was the Education Cloud. Below are two real case scenarios where the NCHC successfully used Ezilla to make a genuine contribution to the education sector.
Case 1: Professor Pang-Chang Hsieh of Fu Jen Catholic University has many years of lecturing experience in statistics. His students are unable to use the university-acquired, commercially-available version of the statistical problem solving software to complete their assignments while at home, because there were only enough licenses purchased to be able to install them on the university PCs. Professor Hsieh utilized Ezilla to deploy a cloud environment so that his students could use the software from their home PCs via web browsers. Ezilla completely eliminated the need for his students to make pirated copies of the software!
ˇ˝"One Click" Speedy Deployment
ˇ˝Browser-based Statistical Computing Services
Case 2: The Chihlee Institute of Technology in Banciao in New Taipei City provides its students specialized instruction on how to set up networks. The goal is for each student to be able to practice setting up a network on his own, however, in order to do so, each student would need at least two computers. With about 80 students in each classroom, a total of 160 machines would be needed for each student to be able to practice on his own. Due to limited funding, it is very difficult for the school to provide that many computers for the students to work on. As a result, the students have to share computers when practicing setting up their networks. But with Ezilla, students are able to create multiple VMs of their own by logging into the NCHC's Ezilla Cloud Service Website from just one computer. This enables each student to conduct the network set-up individually and, as a result, greatly improves the quality of both teaching and learning. On the practice date, the NCHC's Ezilla platform received 100~ 200 VM requests as illustrated in the figure below.
ˇ˝Ezilla Load Status for Class Use
The NCHC's Ezilla Development Team hopes that others will use Ezilla to create diverse applications which incorporate additional cloud services that can be accessed anytime. The ultimate goal of Ezilla is to achieve "Everything as a Service" usability.
Ezilla Installation Introduction
Ezilla was designed to be installed as simply as possible so that users can easily and quickly build their own private clouds. In fact, an Ezilla Server can be installed in just three simple steps!
Project Website: http://ezilla.info
Software Download: ezilla-nchc.sf.net
Requirements: Two (2) machines (i.e. server and client) capable of supporting virtualization and PXE boot
Step 1. Boot with a genuine Debian CD-ROM and select “Help.”
Step 2. Input “auto url=ezilla-nchc.sf.net” once the Help Index has been entered.
Step 3. Per the illustration below, the Local Area Network does not use of DHCP, therefore, a static IP must be set up manually.
After completing these three steps, the automatic installation process takes over. Once the installation completes, the user can begin enjoying his own private cloud (see figure showing completed installation below).