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What is SparkCore FireCloud?
Sparkcore FireCloud is a software tool for Telco, Hosting providers, ISP, Mobile Service Provider, ISV, Corporate & Government. It enables them to become Cloud Service Provider/Cloud Operator, to set up and manage public and private clouds on their existing infrastructure, using commodity hardware. They can then launch cloud-based services to their clients, with easy deployment of virtual machines running different operating systems (and their applications) on the same hardware at the same time; bill per hour for the cloud resources used; and easily scale resources to meet the changing demands of their users and/or customers.
What can hosts do with SparkCore FireCloud?
With SparkCore FireCloud, hosts can set up private or public clouds in minutes, using libraries of pre-configured, customizable virtual machine templates; host multiple virtual machines with different operating systems in complete isolation from each other; customize virtual machines, resources, templates, users, billing and more, through an intuitive control panel; migrate virtual machines near-instantly to maximize use of server resources, and minimize downtime for users; and scale to match demand and minimize cost: save energy and make best use of available hardware.
Is there a white label version? Can I rebrand SparkCore FireCloud?
Absolutely. While you can use SparkCore FireCloud in its standard configuration, look and feel, it is designed to allow you to customize it to suit your own brand identity, look and feel. You can skin the control panel through the UI itself, or by customizing html, css and other files. You can also use existing integrations to customer/billing portals (like WHMCS, Ubersmith and HostBill) and manage SparkCore FireCloud services that way; or, with the SparkCore FireCloud API, you can build a completely new front-end to your SparkCore FireCloud, or integrate SparkCore FireCloud with some other control panel or front end.
Does SparkCore FireCloud do billing?
SparkCore FireCloud does not invoice your customers: however, it does manage the whole process of setting prices for cloud resources, calculating billing information, and exporting it to your billing engine. SparkCore FireCloud has been integrated successfully with various third party billing engine through our SparkCore FireCloud API, and if you use a different package (or an in-house system) we’ll work with you to build integration for it.
What cloud resources can you bill for in SparkCore FireCloud?
CPU cores, MEMORY, Disk space (primary/secondary/backup), IPs, port speed and data. You can set limits along with prices, free and max resources, prices for VMs powered on and off, and prices for different performance/availability zones in your cloud. Together with SparkCore FireCloud’s granular user permissions system, this lets you create cloud hosting services tailored for the precise needs of your customers – and your business.
How many servers do we need/what are the hardware requirements?
See our hardware requirements page for an example of a small cloud or proof of concept. We’re happy to advise you on requirements for a full cloud deployment – contact us.
What virtualization technology do you use?
SparkCore FireCloud supports Xen and KVM hypervisors. We will introduce Hyper-V and VMware support in the near future.
Why do hypervisors require three NICs?
Having three NICs makes the cloud network more stable and easier to scale. There is less chatter internally and, therefore, less opportunity for failure because of bottlenecks between the SANs and the management network. From a cost perspective this helps maintain performance without additional hardware investment, too.
What are SparkCore FireCloud templates?
SparkCore FireCloud VM templates are fully pre-configured operating system images that are used to build virtual machines. Using templates can result in a significant reduction in the installation, configuration and maintenance costs associated with cloud management. You can rapidly provision new virtual machines by using pre-installed gold images or create your own VM templates for future deployment of virtual machines.
Can I create my own templates?
Yes. You can create your own custom templates from pre-configured Virtual Machines. It’s a simple process: configure a virtual machine as required, back it up, and convert the backup to a template in just a few clicks.
Does SparkCore FireCloud support Windows 2008 virtualization mode?
No. Instead, SparkCore FireCloud uses GPL Paravirtualization drivers, which provide front-end drivers for the Xen block and network devices. This gives Windows much higher disk and network performance.
Does SparkCore FireCloud support Active Directory Domain Controllers / openLDAP?
At present SparkCore FireCloud does not support Active Directory Domain Controllers/ openLDAP directory. But if you really required this to work in your environment, we can discuss about this to see how we can make it happen for you.
What SANs do you support?
Any SAN that can present a block device: iSCSI, ATAoE, Fiber.
Does SparkCore FireCloud support local storage?
Yes, but this isn’t how a cloud should really be designed. We can make local storage work for you, but bear in mind that there won’t be any failover, because storage would be tied to just one hypervisor.
How is fibre channel supported?
Fibre SAN is supported as long as the device itself is supported by RHEL5/SLES11. Hypervisors can create virtual machines on a shared LUN.
How do I get started?
To get started with SparkCore FireCloud, book a demo in contact us to discuss your cloud hosting requirements.
Is there an installer? Who installs it?
There is currently no installer for SparkCore FireCloud. All installations are performed by our in-house installation team, as part of the packages without extra charge, once your hardware is in place. Our team has unmatched expertise in cloud deployments and will tailor the installation to your specific requirements and network environment: installation, in most cases, takes no longer than 1 month (and in many cases can be completed in about 2~3 weeks). If you plan to offer full private clouds to your clients, and need to install and support SparkCore FireCloud in-house, that’s something we’re happy to work with you on as well.
Can I deploy SparkCore FireCloud on Citrix XenServer?
I’m not a hosting provider. Can I use SparkCore FireCloud?
We’re happy to talk. SparkCore FireCloud is already used by some clients that are not hosts. Most of them use SparkCore FireCloud as Private Cloud Environment
How does CPU priority work?
When a virtual machine is created it is allocated a CPU priority as well as a number of CPU cores. You can think of CPU priority as its “share percentage”. This value is used to determine how much CPU resource that VM is given, by multiplying CPU priority by the number of cores allocated to the VM. The result is a minimum number – VMs can burst over it, up to 100% multiplied by the number of cores.
For example, consider a VM which has been allocated the following CPU priority percentages and cores, on a hypervisor with a number of 3GHz CPUs:
- 100% x 1 core = 3GHz CPU resource available (burstable to 3GHz)
- 10% x 2 cores = 600MHz resource available (burstable to 6GHz)
- 5 % x 4 cores = 600MHz resource available (burstable to 12GHz)
By default, SparkCore FireCloud allows overselling of cloud resources. For example, SparkCore FireCloud will allow users to create 5 VMs with 100% CPU priority/1 CPU core on a hypervisor with a 4-core CPU. In this example, SparkCore FireCloud would reduce the guaranteed CPU for each VM.
The CPU Guarantee option in SparkCore FireCloud Settings/Configuration allow enables or disables this behaviour. With the CPU Guarantee option enabled, SparkCore FireCloud will not create VMs requiring more CPU resource than is available on their hypervisor.
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