Many administrators are not developers and do not necessarily know how to use the APIs of current infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers to programmatically build a complex cloud infrastructure. The next generation of cloud services, especially in the area of IaaS, must and will be much easier to use. In the future we will see more and more cloud offerings that provide in addition to an API a graphical web interface, to “click” cloud infrastructures together, without having knowledge of the underlying API.
Web-based GUIs for cloud infrastructures
Pioneer is the German company openQRM Enterprise. Since 2009, they provide in addition to their open source cloud infrastructure solution openQRM, for setting up own public and private clouds, also a web-based GUI called “Visual Designer Infrastructure”.
Since May 2012, ProfitBricks, also from Germany, provides its infrastructure-as-a-service solution. Also ProfitBricks has, as the first public cloud provider on the market, a web-based GUI for creating an own cloud infrastructure, the “Data Center Designer”.
Both web GUIs, the “Visual Designer Infrastructure” and the “Data Center Designer” help cloud administrators establishing and managing common up to complex cloud infrastructures.
Open source cloud solutions like Eucalyptus, OpenStack or CloudStack and also public IaaS providers such as Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure and Rackspace do not offer such surfaces, so that administrators are completely dependent on the APIs.
Top trend with more potential
The “Visual Infrastructure Designer” of openQRM and the “Data Center Designer” of ProfitBricks do not exhaust their full potential yet, but they show very well in what direction the design and management of cloud infrastructures will develop. In addition to an extensive and well-documented API, web-based graphical management interfaces and infrastructure designer tools are the top trends in infrastructure-as-a-service and belong to the portfolio of each IaaS cloud provider in the future.