You are now logged in to SolusIO. Before you or your customers can start creating their servers, you need to do some setting up in SolusIO. This topics explains step-by-step how to do it.

1. Licensing

To start any SolusIO setup, you need to install a SolusIO license first. SolusIO is licensed per hardware CPU core. Your license must cover a total number of CPU cores on all compute resources that you will add.

To install a license:

  1. Go to Settings > Licensing.
  2. Click Activate License, paste the license key you’ve got, and then click Activate.

You’re now ready to set up SolusIO.

2. Adding a compute resource

Compute resources are hypervisors that are connected to the management physical server. Compute resources provide resources (CPU, RAM, and disk space) the customers consume to deploy their own isolated servers. The industry also calls these servers virtual private servers (shortly VPSs). However, we will stick to the term “servers”.

Note: The SolusIO term “compute resources” has a different meaning compared with a common one. By compute resources, we mean both actual compute resources (CPU and RAM) and also storage resources (disk space).

Requirements

Servers that you want to connect as compute resources must meet the following requirements:

OS CentOS 7/CentOS 8/Ubuntu 18/Debian 10
RAM Minimum 8 GB
Free disk space Minimum 100 GB
Allowed connections to ports

TCP 22 (SSH)

TCP 8080 (Agent)

TCP 7778 (VNC)

Caution: For resiliency reasons, we do not recommend that you use the management server as a compute resource (even if it is technically possible).

To add a compute resource:

  1. Go to Compute Resources and click Add Compute Resource.

  2. Give your resource a name.

  3. Specify the hostname or IP address of a server that you want to connect as a compute resource.

  4. Choose how to connect to the server:

    • If via SSH, type root as the SSH login and the root password.
    • If via SSH keys, select “SSH Key” and paste an existing private SSH key or generate a new key pair.

    Note: SolusIO uses the server’s credentials only once (while connecting the server as a compute resource) and does not store them anywhere.

  5. Click Save.

    SolusIO now checks if the server you are trying to connect as a compute resource meets the requirements. If the server does not support virtualization, you will see the following error message:

    image-network-error

    In this case, enable virtualization in the server BIOS settings. To do so, refer to the documentation of your processor manufacturer.

    If the server passed the checks and was connected as a compute resource, you will see the screen that suggests selecting a network interface and configuring network.

  6. Select the network interface and click Configure Network.

    Warning: Configuring network poses the risk of permanently losing network access to the server. Proceed only if you have one of the following:

    • Physical access to the server
    • Access to the server’s serial console
    • 24/7/365 server support
  7. Click OK to start network configuration.

Once the network configuration is finished, you will see the connected server in the “Compute Resources” list.

image-compute-resource

You are now ready to create a plan.

3. Adding a plan

Plans are templates according to which servers are deployed. Plans preconfigure how a compute resource will be partitioned (various virtualization types exist) and what amount of resources (CPU, RAM, and disk space) will be allocated.

To add a plan:

  1. Go to Compute Resources > Plans and click Add Plan.

  2. Give your plan a recognizable name.

  3. Select a storage virtualization type: File Based, LVM, or ThinLVM.

    These types define how disk is partitioned and data is packed. There are various reasons why you may prefer one method over another. However, we recommend that you take the following considerations into account:

    • Each storage virtualization type requires that you configure a storage point (a directory, a volume group, or a thin pool). If you do not have experience with volume groups or thin pools, select File Based. In this case, SolusIO can create a storage space for you.

    • To be able to create snapshots, select File Based or ThinLVM.

      A snapshot is a copy of a server at a particular point in time. If anything goes wrong with the server (for example, after software update), you can return to the successful server configuration by restoring a snapshot.

    • To save resources and deploy a maximum number of servers, select ThinLVM.

    • Compute resources require that you monitor the resources consumed by customers to prevent overusing resources. ThinLVM requires additional efforts to monitor available disk space. To make monitoring easier, select either FB or LVM.

  4. If you selected File Based during the previous step, select an image format: qcow2 or raw. With qcow2, you can enable snapshots.

  5. Type a number of tokens. The tokens are units used to calculate and show the exact price for a plan for customers.

  6. Specify the desired amount of CPU, HDD, and RAM.

  7. (Optional) To prevent resources overuse, you can limit bandwidth and IOPS for each server created under the plan. To do so, click “Change resource limits”, click “Limit”, and then set the desired limits.

  8. If you selected File Based with qcow2 or ThinLVM, you can turn on snapshots.

  9. Click Save.

The plan was created. You can now see it in the “Plans” list.

image-plan

4. Adding a storage point

Each compute resource requires a storage point depending on a virtualization type:

  • A directory for File Based
  • A volume group for LVM
  • A thin pool for ThinLVM

A directory for File Based is just a normal directory, while a volume group and a thin pool are storage abstractions.

SolusIO can create a directory for the File Based virtualization type but you need to create a volume group and thin pool yourself.

To add a storage point:

  1. The procedure of creating a storage point depends on the storage virtualization type you have selected while creating the plan:
  2. Log in to SolusIO and go to Compute Resources.
  3. Click the name of the created compute resource, go to the “Storage” tab, and then click Add Storage.
  4. Select a storage virtualization type that your created plan has.
  5. Depending on your storage virtualization type:
    • Provide the directory path for File Based.
    • Select the volume group or thin pool (which you created during step 1) in the drop-down list.
  6. (Optional) By default, the storage will be used for balancing new servers according to the chosen balancing algorithm (random or round-robin in Settings > Compute Resources) if the “Use for New Servers” setting is turned on. Keep this setting on because you now have only one storage point. If later you have multiple storage points and one of them is overloaded compared to others, you can prevent new servers from being created in this storage point by turning off “Use for New Servers”.
  7. Click Save.

The storage point was added.

image-storage-added

5. Adding an IP block

IP block is a range of IP addresses from which each created server receives its IP address. Assigning an IP address turns a mere server partition into a real server.

An IP address identifies a server and allows it to communicate with other devices in the Internet, which is essential if the server is used for hosting websites.

Note: By default, each server has only single IP address assigned.

To add an IP block:

  1. Get a range of IP addresses. Usually you buy IP addresses from data centers and hosting providers or allocate a range of IP addresses within your local network.
  2. Go to Network > IPv4 blocks and click Add IP Block.
  3. Give your IP block a name.
  4. Specify the following values:
    • The beginning and the end IP addresses of the IP block
    • Gateway
    • Netmask
    • Primary and secondary name servers
  5. Select one or more compute resources to assign the IP block to.
  6. Click Save.

The IP block was added.

image-ip-block

You have created the compute resource, the plan, the IP block, and the storage point. You are more than halfway through. You now need to create a location.

6. Adding a location

A location is a label that informs customers where a particular node is actually geographically placed. Usually customers want to choose a compute resource closest to their geographical location to decrease network latency. To give customers information about geographical locations of available nodes, you need to create locations and assign them to compute resources.

By default, SolusIO creates the “Default” location. You can edit it or add new locations.

To add a location:

  1. Go to Compute Resources > Locations and click Add Location.
  2. Give your location a name and description.
  3. (Optional) If all your nodes are located in the same region, your customers do not have a variety of locations to choose from. In this case, you can hide this single location from customers: they will not see it when creating servers. To hide the location, turn off visibility.
  4. Select the icon (a flag that represents a country) according to the actual geographical location of the node that was added as a compute resource.
  5. Select one or more compute resources to assign the location to.
  6. Click Save.

You have added the location and assigned it to the compute resource.

If you chose not to create a new location but to use the default location, you need only to assign the existing location to a compute resource.

To assign an existing location to a compute resource:

  1. Select the image-pencil icon next to the location that you want to assign.
  2. Select one or more compute resources to assign the location to and then click Save.

You are almost there! The last step left before customers are ready to create servers.

7. Setting up sending out email notifications

SolusIO can send automatic email notifications to your customers when their servers are deployed. These emails contain information necessary for connecting to the server command line via SSH: the IP address of a created server and the root password.

To start sending out these email notifications, you need to get an SMTP server and then specify its settings in SolusIO.

To set up email notifications:

  1. Get an SMTP server. You can use such email services as SendGrid, MailGun, Mailchimp, or others or set up you own mail server (for example, Postfix).
  2. Log in to SolusIO and go to Settings > Mail.
  3. Specify the following settings:
    • Outgoing mail server hostname
    • SMTP port (usually one of the following: TCP 25, 465, or 587)
    • SMTP username and password
    • The email from which email notification will be sent
    • The name that will be specified in the email notifications’ signature
  4. Select the “Use TLS” checkbox.
  5. (Optional) To check if the specified SMTP settings are correct, you can send a test email. To do so, select the “Send test email” checkbox and type the desired email address.
  6. Click Save.

Congratulations!

Everything is done from your side as the administrator. Customers are now ready to create their servers.

Let’s see how they do it.