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Displaying articles for: February 2010

HP Blades Tech Days: Finally able to explore where all this comes together.

Then it was off to see when systems are actually assembled and shipped. The bloggers headed to the server assembly area and Factory Express. Ever see where tens of thousands of servers are made every month? As John Obeto, Absolutely Windows  http://absolutelywindows.com/ put it. "Pigging out on Technology". To see how everything comes together, gets assembled and shipped is pretty darn impressive. And we also got to see where rack enclosures are asembled, tested and shipped full of storage and servers. We saw some impressive systems being prepped that had over 350 TB of storage in them. We also had to keep John away from the automatic shrink wrap machine as he was ready to see how it worked on him. Too funny!


Then is was off to see the assembly area for PODs( Performance Optimized Data center) with Jean Brandau as our guide. She indicated that with the new assembly area we can build 7 PODs at one time. PODs are assembled into 20 ft or 40 ft. containers that  can ship with fully integrated and tested IT from the HP factory in as little as six weeks – slashing the time for data center build-out. The HP POD comes to you as part of a complete data center portfolio, with services available for strategy and site planning to innovative products and comprehensive global support. Jean showed us both a 20ft POD that can contain 10, 50U racks for servers and storage and also the 40 ft container that can contain 22, 50U racks. All you need is power and cooling brought in and you have a ready made data center. Of course each 40ft POD may need upto 600kW of power, but what is a small substation nowadays. Jean said we are seeing companies that need data center expansion but can't or don't want to invest in a building, but are buying a POD as a means to expand their data center and save upto 40% on infrastructure costs. Pretty impressive to see over 1300 servers ready to go in a 40 ft. space. Once again we had to keep John Obeto out as he was ready to move right in.


Again pictures from Mike Krodel:


 One of the guys labeled for shippment


  Inside a 20ft. POD. John Obeto on the left


 A view of the back of a rack in a 40ft. POD


Daniel Bowers On Day 2 of HP Blades Tech Day

Day #2 of the Infrastructure Software and Blades Tech Days got off to an early start, with an 8AM Q&A session (hosted in a room with working wireless, whew).   No zinger questions from the bloggers in the session (I'm very  disappointed, Kevin!!)    Yesterday's Tolly Report did come up, though.


Next was a discussion on client virtualization.  As a server guy,  I sometimes feel pained to think that my precious server CPU cycles are being used to power client OS's, but HP's Joseph George convinced me that the economics of VDI override my server-centric concerns.


We stepped out of the meeting room for a quick tour of one of the blade labs, and I got a chance to catch up with John Obeto.  Did you know that, in addition to all his clients here in the US, John also does IT work in Nigeria?   I don't think I've ever met as good an advocate for WIndows as John.  Despite his outrage at me for admitting that my only experience with Windows 7 was on a VM running on top of Ubuntu, John was kind enough to spend  a few minutes on video talking about training IT staff, and the rack server-versus-blade server debate, so I'll post that soon.


The tour of the factory was probably the high point of the event.  We had to hike a bit to get from the building where blades are engineered to the building where they're built and integrated, but most of the guys had their cameras out as we came onto the factory floor.  Actually it was two different buildings: One where servers are assembled, and a second where rack configurations with custom configs get integrated and tested.


In the first building, Simon Seagrave tried his hand at assembly, slapping a server hood label sticker onto Greg Knieriemen's jacket. 



As we were led through the aisles of servers and racks in various stages of assembly & integration, one of the things that impressed me (and others) was the awesome cable routing the factory guys do inside the integrated racks.


Next, Jean Brandau of HP led us outsite to the HP POD final test area, a pair of covered bays that are used for run-in tests of the 20' and 40' Performance Optimized Datacenters (aka data center in a shipping container).  The bays held up to 7 PODs, and today, there were three; a 20' POD (holding up to 10 racks) and two 40' PODs (each with up to 22 racks).   Kevin asked Jean what the primary use case was for PODs, and she said that rapid capacity expansion was the main reason customers installed PODs.  She gave the example of a company needing to quickly ramp up capabilities to take advantage of the rise from a recovering economy.


Tex-Mex food for lunch.  Frank Owen somehow convinced me to try the "special red sauce" on my chips...I guess I'll know in a couple of hours whether that was a good idea. Martin MacLoeod gave me some insightful anecdotes that pointed to the need for simple inventory survey tools.  (He gave me some other ideas, too, which I plan on stealing -- I mean leveraging -- soon.)


A big thanks to all the guys below for spending the last couple of days with us...looking forward to the next one!


The ISB Blades Tech Day attendees:


Stephen Foskett, Pack Rat http://blog.fosketts.net/
Simon Seagrave, Tech Head http://www.techhead.co.uk/
Martin MacLoeod, Blade Watch http://www.bladewatch.com/
Rich Brambley, VM/ETC http://vmetc.com/
Frank Owen, Tech Virtuoso  http://techvirtuoso.com/
Greg Knieriemen, Storage Monkey http://www.storagemonkeys.com
John Obeto, Absolutely Windows http://absolutelywindows.com/
Chris M. Evans, Storage Architect http://www.thestoragearchitect.com/
Devang Panchigar, StorageNerve http://storagenerve.com/
Kevin Houston, Blades Made Simple  http://bladesmadesimple.com/

Reviewing the Virtual Desktop market on Day 2 of the HP Blades Tech Days

The focus and discussion now centered on what was happening to address the corporate push towards Desktop/Client Virtualization. Joseph George, Doug Hart, David Heisey, and Dan Nordhues presented the rapidly expanding Desktop Virtualization market. Joseph explained how corporations were looking to extend the experience and business value of server virtualization to the desktop via client virtualization. Joseph, David, Dan, and Doug went through the market awareness of how client virtualization would meet business needs around:



  • Security

  • Managability

  • Environmental needs

  • Availability

  • Flexibility


David felt that many of the client virtualization vendors such as Microsoft, Citrix, and VMware had addressed many of the earlier problems faced by client virtualization either through acquisition or product feature enhancements. They also went over HP's 6 year history of client virtualization solutions such as RGS for graphics, SAM for session management, and the whole Virtual Desktop infrastructure offerings that HP has today. The debate for many companies comes down to CAPEX vs. OPEX issues. Client Virtualization generally requires more upfront CAPEX spending while reaping true ROI via OPEX over a short number of years. And companies seem to be doing Client Virtualization in stages by addressing classifications of employees and taking them one at a time through the virtualization migration. This allows them to show meaningful success and test ROI gains before further deployments.


We then went to the lab to see how the VDI team tests different reference architectures, servers and storage combinations and different software implementations. There was a lot of interest in seeing the MDS600 with 70, 1Tb drives in a 5U enclosure. Calvin Zito simply pulled out an MDS600 drawer while running and proceeded to give Stephen Foskett, Pack Rat  http://blog.fosketts.net/ a heart attack. Apparently Stephen has seen too many drives die when moved while spinning to see Calvin do this. So Calvin proceeds to do it some more just to keep Stephen hopping.


Here are some pictures from Mike Krodel.


   The Select Industry Bloggers


     Gary Thome leading things off


    Joseph George talks about VDI


   David Heisey, VDI R&D Mgr.


    Calvin Zito pulls out 70 TB of storage


                                                   


 

Next day at the Blades Tech Days: Some moving a little slower!

We started early with the attendees this morning. Sounds like some played a little later than others last night. I heard Calvin has videos!


 


Yeay! We got a conference room in the plush digs of the HP Customer Experience Center. A much nicer place that the "deep in the bowels of M7" conference room we had yesterday. The morning started off with a recap and discussion about what they all heard and saw yesterday. Gary Thome and John Gromala were there to answer any ISB questions. Simon Seagrave, Tech Head  http://www.techhead.co.uk/  asked about the HP strategy and direction around FCoE. Gary responded that while the FCoE standard has been ratified, the completing standards around CEE are still in committee. He sees great value in converging server protocols and network fabrics using FCoE. The value of FCoE in the averall data center would have to be weighed by the individaul data caenter of having to replace existing FC, NIC, and Switch infrastructures with FCoE, according to Gary. Being a server guy he feels his response ends at the server edge where he does see great value, and other network areas of HP would have to determine their strategy regarding FCoE moving forward.


There was a question as to when G7 & G8 servers are coming to which there was "No Comment on unannounced products." That became the standard response to NDA questions!


I think Rich Brambley, VM/ETC  http://vmetc.com/  had a question from one of his bloggers about SA support for a VMware installation. I asked him to send me an email and we would get the question answered.


There also was a question on Virtual Connect support for jumbo frames. These are any Ethernet frames that are over the standard Ethernet 802.3 payload of 1518 bytes. I asked to have that question sent to me as well, as each OS and NIC has different capabilities and we would provide that info.


HP provided the attending bloggers witha  new Tolly report on BladeSystem vs. Cisco UCS performance and testing. A question came up regarding that report and Gary Thome deferred that question until he could have one of the technical engineers who worked on the Tolly setup discuss the questions.


Next on the agenda is Joseph George and all about HP Virtual Desktop Infrastructure(VDI) solutions and the next step for enterprise infrastructures to extend virtualization to the desktop. More about that in my next blog.


The Insight Control Software guys get to strut their stuff at the HP Blades Tech Day (#hpbladesday)

By Chuck Klein


Now it was time for the bloggers to head to the Insight Software lab to see what HP does for managing data centers for power & cooling. John Schmitz, Ute Albert, and Tom Turicchi went over the System Insight Manager software (SIM) all the way up the management stack to Insight Dynamics. This is the software stack that allows system administrators to install, configure, monitor, and plan for BladeSystem chassis in the Datacenter.




Tom then gave a demonstration of how the Data Center Power Control part of Insight Control allows for data center managers to plan, monitor, cap and control the amount of energy and cooling is used by their infrastructure. Tom set up policies and rules to manage events that may happen in a Data Center from utility brown-outs to loss of cooling units. He also went over how you can monitor energy usage for the Data Center all the way down to each blade. This would allow you to better plan for capacity and where to install new blades.


The attendees wanted to know what couldn't be managed as they thought the list would be much shorter than reviewing what the software could do. So Tom went over that it managed only HP servers presently, that scripts could be used to manage or shutdown multi-tiered applications, network devices, and storage. These devices did not have the iLO2 ASIC chip in them and that was a foundational element that needed to be there.


Tom also went over a demo of what could be done to setup the event manager to respond to utility policies and help save companies money. He used an example from PG&E in California. That's all for now.


Chuck Klein's Take on the Blades Lab Visit at HP Blades Tech Day (#hpbladesday)

By Chuck Klein


Afternoon was the time for the Summit attendees to visit the HP blades lab. Jim Singer was our tour guide and went though much of the technology around the power, cooling, blades, interconnect, and storage associated with blades. Two of the attendees were pretty familiar with HP BladeSystem. Martin MacLoeod, Blade Watch
http://www.bladewatch.com/ and Kevin Houston, Blades Made Simple http://bladesmadesimple.com/, both had worked with HP blades  and knew the details. For others this was a whole new world. Jim Singer and Gary Thome reviewed the design considerations of the power supplies, the 21 patents on our cooling fans, and how the chassis actively managed the blades infrastructure. He reviewed how, what and why it  was designed in from the start, why is was built in such a way, and what advantages that provided data center managers when utilizing blades for their infrastructure.





Leslie Gillette's favorite blade is the BL2x220c that combines 2 servers into a single half-height slot. Kevin indicated that none of the other blade vendors have such a blade density. It is used in a lot of compute intensive applications such as super computing applications and for digital rendering such as Weta for the movie, Avatar. Stephen Foskett, Pack Rat http://blog.fosketts.net/ , wanted to know what considerations are taken into account when designing a new blade for the chassis. Gary and Jim went over the consideration of the design needs for power, for memory, what applications it would address, space considerations for features such as disk drives and mezzanine cards. All these go into the product requirements and a timeframe. Then engineering, manufacturing, procurement, etc. respond with what is possible. Then the negotiations begin.


I did ask Kevin Houston if he was seeing a lot of demand for Solid State Drives. He felt they were still too expensive for general applications and that they were only being used for very specific needs.  That's all for now.


Visiting the Blades Lab at HP Blades Tech Day (#hpbladesday)

By Dan Bowers


Up in the BladeSystem SWAT lab for a mid-afternoon session.   (For some reason, there's a big jar of Bit-o-Honey candy in here;
everyone is digging in.)  Two cool things in this lab: plenty of cover-off hardware (including
a special "chopped in half" c7000 enclosure so you can see the innards); and Dell, IBM, and other
blades up and running, which is great for comparisons.



James Singer and Gary Thome from HP discussing BladeSystem hardware in detail.  
Simon Seagrave (http://www.techhead.co.uk/) got top marks for knowing that the true name of the purple-ish color
used on BladeSystem to indicate hot-pluggable components is "port wine".


Power supply efficiency, says James, is usually quoted as a single number, and refers to the efficiency
when the supply is running at around 80% of capacity.  However, it's important to look at the
efficiency at the whole range of the power supply.


THe newest power supplies are 2400W and "a lot more efficient than their predecessors in the lower
utilization zone."  James used the whiteboard to explain how the 2400W power supplies intro'd
last year for HP BladeSystem have their efficiency improved greatly in the low- to mid- utilization;
my pitiful attempt to recreate his drawing in MS Paint below:



Quiz: Why did HP choose 6 power supplies for the c7000 enclosure?   THe storage bloggers
struggled with this question :smileyhappy:  but eventually folks came down to the right answer.   Generally,
enclosures are fed with two sepearte power feeds (for redundancy); and data center power feeds
tend to be 3-phase power.   3 phases, two feeds, equals the need for six supplies.  If you have
something not divisible by 6, you get unbalanced demand on the power phases at the data
center level, which can mean bigger power bills, irate power companies, or both.



Simon Seagrave (http://www.techhead.co.uk/) gave his own quiz to the HP engineers.
"Were the BladeSystem power supplies invented by someone in the model airplane industry?  Or is this
an urban myth?"  Well, says Gary, the truth is close: engineers (including HP's Wade Vincent)
who were developing cooling systems for HP BladeSystem uses concepts they learned as model airplane
enthusiasts to develop the BladeSystem fans.

Dan Bowers' Early Afternoon Update at HP Blades Tech Day (#hpbladesday)

By Dan Bowers


Ate lunch with Martin MacLoeod (http://www.bladewatch.com/) and Kevin Houston (http://bladesmadesimple.com/).  (John Obeto was just down the table from us too.)  Martin talked about his experiences with BladeSystem p-class, and the advances that have happened since then.  (Remember the one-blade p-class Diagnostic Station...effectively a 1-blade enclosure.)


Martin also pointed out how popular the Firmware spreadsheets (e.g. http://www.bladewatch.com/2009/11/27/updated-hp-firmware-spreadsheet/) were on Blade Watch, and suggested that HP should publish a cross-platform spreadsheet listing this "firmware compatibility" information.   (THere's HTML versions of the BladeSystem firmware 'table' on hp.com, but no cross-platform or Excel version...at least not yet, since this is a good idea.)


Next, the bloggers split into two groups.  Half went to the Insight Control demo lab to talk management, the remainder headed to the top floor and the BladeSystem "SWAT" lab to go in-depth into blade hardware.



I tagged along with the first group, and we talked to HP's John Schmitz and Tom TerEick.  John covered the management portfolio of software (and mentioned that Insight Control 6.0 release is coming out in the middle of March.)


John handed off to Tom for various demos.   One theme of this conversation: How can people (through management tools) be good stewards for a data center's power budget?


Some lively discussion prompted by Simon Seagrave (http://www.techhead.co.uk/) and Chris Evans (http://www.thestoragearchitect.com/) about how  much insight & control (no pun intended) vCenter has over HP server and storage hardware.  This led to heavy discussion about managing servers & storage from single console. "The technology is actually not that hard to do," said Tom, "but one of the biggest problems is getting the 'password problem' solved -- getting everything in an enterprise datacenter to allow you to cross boundries with a single set of credentials.


Now going heavy into power capping and monitoring capabilities...

Mark Gonzalez, President of Nth Generation Computing speaks at the Blogger Summit


By Chuck Klein



Nth Generation Computing is based in Southern California. They provide technology solutions for their customers around compliance and consolidation projects. Mark Gonzalez, President, took the Blogger Summit attendees from the "Cloud" to where "the rubber meets the road." Mark felt that they provided true value to their customers by taking the guesswork out of meeting business needs. That companies today need to get things done right the first time and don't have the luxury for "do overs". Nth Generation has a unique ratio of 2 technical people  for each salesperson and that this business model has helped them even in a down economy. He believes that HP has the breadth of products from servers to software to help them win in today's tough market. And it is because of the interoperability of these offerings that allows Nth Generation to more easily provide integrated solutions to meet their customers needs.


Mark indicated that they are not an HP exclusive reseller and that they do carry competitors where another vendor has a competitive edge. But working with HP, particularly in blades, provides them with an advantage in the marketplace. Mark indicated the Nth Generation was an early adopter of BladeSystem Matrix for Converged Infrastructure and that offering has allowed his company to take the technology question out of the discussion and focused the customer on what they need to get done. He told us that most of his customers don't care what's under the covers as long as it meets their needs and by working with HP, Nth has been able to successfully provide those types of solutions.


Chuck Klein checks in from HP Blades Tech Day


By Chuck Klein


Everyone arrived for the event. Everyone plugged in, setup computers, cameras, cellphones, and all the other tools of the trade. 3 of the attendees are from outside the U.S. All were men. Surprised me a little bit.



Gary Thome, Chief Strategist for the ISB business unit, started off the presentations by sharing HP's vision and point of view regarding the new data center utilizing a Converged Infrastructure approach. HP has the foundational pillars of servers, storage, networking, management, and facility services to meet customers needs for energy efficiency, infrastructure cost savings, time management, and ulitilization today. He discussed what the attendees would see in the labs today and invited discussion around trends, in virtualization, converged fabrics, and cloud computing.


The attendees asked questions about HP's reference architecture and stack to support the Converged Infrastructure in comparison to the EMC, VMware, Cisco reference architecture and others such as Oracle and Sun. Gary responded that HP's point of view comes from an application point of view. That infrastructure is there to support application workloads, ease the deployment of applications, keep them running, and to provide the tools needed to manage them. It didn't matter if that was a "Private Cloud" or "Public Cloud". And that HP was 1 of 2 companies to submit API specifications to the Cloud Computing working group DMTF based on what HP does today.


It was also asked by the attendees what is our ultimate vision of the future data center. Is it a cloud-based vision or what. Gary responded that it depends on what your definition is of "Cloud Computing". He indicated that HP is taking the approach that the data center will be a "services" led model, i.e. software as a service, infrastructure as a service, I/O bandwidth and storage as a service, and that is where HP is headed and has solutions there today. And that services-led model is what is driving HP innovation direction today and in the foreseeable future. More to follow as Mark Gonzalez, President of Nth Generation Computing, is presenting next.


Dan Bowers' Mid-morning update from HP Blades Tech Day (#hpbladesday)

By Dan Bowers


Mike Witkowski and Mike Kendall (both of HP0 talked a bunch about FCoE.  Half the bloggers weren't so keen on this topic, but the others were writing notes intently.   Mike W. went over the current status of the IEEE standards (including recent trending toward a combination of elements of VEPA and VN-Tag.)



When everyone grabbed their paper copy of HP's "Virtual Connect for Dummies" book.  Stephen Foskett ( http://blog.fosketts.net/ ) "Are you saying our readers are dummies??"


In December, HP Virtual Connect became HP's most popular interconnect in HP BladeSystem, in terms of the number bought by customers.



What's HP doing about FCoE?   "Basically," says Mike K., "duh, yeah."  He wouldn't talk about specific futures, but he did talk in general:  Expanding Flex-10 capabilities so that some of the FlexNICs can be fibre HBA functions.


There was some discussion about the amount of bandwidth built-in to blade servers.   Basically, for the mainstream HP blade, two 10Gb ports.  Kevin Houston (http://bladesmadesimple.com/) asked the collected virtualization experts among the bloggers: "Would 2 x 10Gb of bandwidth be sufficient for all cases of a virtualization host? Most agreed that "perfectly fine with 10 1Gb NICs today" for bandwidth.  Maybe not in the future, but now, it's OK.


So, Kevin continued, "Why do you have the extra 6 bays in an c7000 enclosure?"  Today, folks agreed, the reason is that nobody's doing converged traffic yet, you've got seperate network & storage fabrics that need homes." Kevin continued the thought.  "With CNAs, couldn't you eliminate mezzanine slots entirely on a blade, and use that space for oter stuff, like more processors?  Turn the x86 market place into something that it's ever been before."


After lunch: heading to the BladeSystem lab.


...Daniel (@DanielatHP)

Dan Bowers Reports Live from HP Blades Tech Day (#hpbladesday)



By Dan Bowers


At the HP Infrastructure Software and Blades Tech Day (twitter: #hpbladesday).


Gary Thome kicked things off by rattling off five things that were on his mind. Cloud computing and fabric types seemed to be on the blogger's minds, so those were main discussion points at the start.  


One discussion centered around fabrics of the future. What exactly is needed for the fabric that connects servers and storage? "Does the type of fabric even matter?" was the key question. THe consensus was there were two necessary (and perhaps sufficient) characteristics for the connection: It must be "virtualized", meaning flexible enough to be reconfigured on-the-fly, and it must be "the lowest cost at the maximum bandwidth." As long as the fabric meets those characteristics, the type may not matter. (They promised later today to talk mroe about FCoE.)


Mark Gonzalez of Nth Generation Computing talked a bit about what technologies his firm uses with its customers. Mark also dropped the first hockey reference of the day: "HP is like Wayne Gretsky. HP is like Wayne Gretsky. never the fastest skater on the ice, but was successful because he skated to where the pick was going, not where it was."



Simon Seagrave http://www.techhead.co.uk/ asked Mark how much interest there was from his customers for Matrix. "The major challenge with Matrix," said Mark, "is that most people don't know anything about it."


Stephen Foskett http://blog.fosketts.net/ (Microsoft MVP, excellent!) mentioned the "sea of BladeSystem" he saw at Microsoft recently, and said he'd be willing (with a little prodding!) to talk more about that later today.


Some struggles early on with the wireless cradles set up for the bloggers...sounds like it's getting fixed pretty quick.


...Daniel Bowers


www.hp.com/go/bladeblog




twitter: @DanielAtHp



Integrating BladeSystem Matrix into a Chargeback or Billing system

I got a call last week enquiring how the IaaS APIs of BladeSystem Matrix (Matrix) could be used to integrate with a chargeback or billing system at a customer site. its a snowy day in Boulder and being a fair weather skier I thought I would spend a few moments and put together some examples of how you could do this.


How Matrix calculates a service cost


Matrix service templates are listed in the template catalog, which shows their name, a description of the service template, and an associated service cost. This cost is calculated by adding the individual costs of each of the service elements in the template together. For example, in a service template the service designer specifies costs for each class of server, for each GB of a class of storage, and for each IP address consumed on a class of subnet. The cost of the service is calculated by combining these unit costs with the amount of each type of resource consumed to create a total. The template catalog shows the cost to deploy the template. However, once the service is deployed, the user can choose to add additional storage, or perhaps choose to temporarily release (suspend) a server. When the user adds additional storage, their service cost will increase based on the template unit cost per GB of storage. Similarly when the user chooses to temporarily suspend a server, their service costs reduces, reflecting that they have reduced their resource consumption. I'm showing an example of the cost breakout chart in the Matrix template designer tool.



Linking to a charge back or billing system


The ListServices web service call can be used by an administrative user to return summary information about the services deployed in Matrix. The Web service return includes information on the current resource consumption cost of that service. Let's assume the IaaS provider wants to chargeback to their customers based on a 15 minute usage increment. They could use a single CRON job on their billing system to fetch usage information every 15 minutes, as shown in figure 2 below.



The content of the CRON job is shown in figure 3. Matrix 6.0 includes a handy CLI wrapper which I am going use in this example. The wrapper is written in Java, so I can run it on any machine and use the underlying web services to connect the Matrix environment. In my example I copied the ioexec.jar file from the Program Files/HP/Insight Orchestration/cli directory to my linux machine. You could also use your favorite wsdl2{java,perl,python,c,.net} tool or the wsdl import feature in Operations Orchestration to create something similar.


Here is my outline of the bash script:


 # sample charge back cron job
# Cron runs script every 15 minutes
#
###################################################################
# charge_owner: used to apply incremental charge to owner's account
# Inputs: service_name owner cost cost_units
# Returns: !=0 if owner has no more credit
function charge_owner
{
echo service $1 owner "$2" cost $3 $4
# insert commands to charge customer here!
return 0
}
###################################################################
# credit_denied: called when owner has no more credit on service
# Inputs: service_name owner
function credit_denied
{
echo suspend service $1 of owner $2
# Insert commands to handle over drawn customers here
# ioexec deactive service -s "$1" -c chargeback.conf
return 0
}


####################################################################
# process_chargeback
# Inputs: processes listServices output invoking charge_owner &
#         credit_denied to perform chargeback processing
function process_chargeback
{
while read -r LINE
do
    FIELD=${LINE#*services*.}
    FIELD=${FIELD%%=*}
    ARG="${LINE#*=}"
  
    case "$FIELD"
    in
         name)  service="$ARG";;
         cost.value)    cost="$ARG";;
         cost.units)    units="$ARG";;
         ownerName)     owner="$ARG";
                        charge_owner "$service" "$owner" "$cost" "$units"
                        if
                        then
                            credit_denied "$service" "$owner"  
                        fi;;
    esac
    :
done


}


ioexec list services -o raw -c chargeback.conf | process_chargeback


The script uses the ioexec wrapper to invoke the list Services web service call. I then pipe the results to process_chargeback  to parse the results extracting the service name, current charge rate and charge units, and service owner. The information is passed to the chargeback system via two functions charge_owner and credit_denied. The sample code has a stubbed version of charge_owner, which takes the service name, charge rate, charge units and owner arguments and simply echos them. This routine could be extended to insert the usage information into a database or pass it directly to a charge back system. If the routine returns a non-zero result (indicating an error), then the credit_denied routine is called. This is another stub which, for now, just echos the name of owner and the associated service. This could be extended, as shown, to do other operations - such as invoke the deactivateService web service call to shut down the service when the user has no more credit.


More Complex Scenarios


The example I've given is very simple, but hopefully is enough to get people started on their own integrations. Matrix has additional integration points that can trigger workflows to perform additional actions. An example of one of these triggers is the "Approval" workflow that is used to gate requests for new resource allocation in Matrix. This trigger point could be used to do a credit check on a customer prior to proceeding with a resource deployment operation.


I'd love feedback about the charge back or billing tools people use today, and what kind of out-of-the-box integrations would be most useful.

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