We are happy to announce that Mist is now available on the DigitalOcean Marketplace. You can spin up our open source Community Edition and begin managing your multicloud infrastructure in just a few minutes!
Fill in the options required. We recommend a Droplet with at least 4 vCPUs and 8GB of RAM. Provisioning will take a few minutes. In the meantime, you can check out a video demo of Mist.
Once the Droplet is running, connect to it over SSH with ssh root@your_droplet_public_ipv4.
Go to the Mist folder with cd /mist and check if all Mist containers are up. This normally happens a couple of minutes after boot. You can check the status with docker-compose ps.
Once all containers are up, run docker-compose exec api sh. This will drop you in the shell of a Mist container.
In the shell, add an admin user with ./bin/adduser --admin myEmail@example.com. This will prompt you to enter a password.
Everything is now ready. Visit http://your_droplet_public_ipv4:80 and login with the email and password you specified above.
Once you log in to Mist, click on the Add your Clouds button, select DigitalOcean from the list of supported providers. You will need to provide your DigitalOcean API token and then click Add cloud. If you do not have an API token, read here how you can create one.
You are all set!
Your DigitalOcean cloud has been added and your resources will be auto-discovered by Mist in a few seconds.
You can repeat step (8) above to add more DigitalOcean accounts to Mist. You can also add any number of other clouds you are managing by following the relevant instructions. Mist supports more than twenty public and private clouds, hypervisors, container hosts and even bare metals.
Please note that new users will not be able to create an account through Mist's sign up form. We turn this off for security reasons. If you would like to enable it, edit ./settings/settings.py and set ALLOW_SIGNUP_EMAIL = True. Then, restart Mist with docker-compose restart.
In some cases, such as user registration, forgotten passwords, user invitations etc, Mist needs to send emails. By default, Mist is configured to use a mock mailer. For more information about mail mock and how to set up Mist with your existing email server, check out our docs.
We are happy to announce the release of Mist Cloud Management Platform v4.5!
First of all, Mist v4.5 introduces support for object storage. Also, it enhances your multicloud governance thanks to new ways of controlling who provisions what. Finally, this release includes support for Ansible v2 playbooks and a pleasant surprise for Kubernetes users.
For a glimpse into the future of Mist, you can check out the docs for the upcoming version 2 of our RESTful API. You can also install and try out the Mist CLI. Both of these are under heavy development and not feature complete yet. They will be ready later this summer with the release of Mist v5. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts and comments at email@example.com.
Object storage support
Our first iteration includes a read-only view of AWS S3 and OpenStack Swift buckets. Future releases will extend support to more clouds and add more functionality. Our end goal is to help you manage all your buckets, across clouds, from a single point.
This feature is not enabled by default. To enable it, go to the relevant cloud page and toggle the Object Storage switch. In a few moments, Mist will auto-discover your buckets in that cloud.
The largest portion of this feature was contributed by active community members. A special thank you to Sergey, Vova and Denis!
Enhanced multicloud governance
Mist gives you fine-grained control over provisioning and lifecyle policies across more than 20 infrastructure platforms. This is done through Mist's RBAC and constraints.
For example, Mist admins can specify that team A will be able to create new machines only in AWS US-East, will have a quota of $1,000/month and machines will expire and auto-shutdown three days after launch.
In Mist 4.5 we add two new types of constraints:
Allowed and Disallowed machine sizes. Allowed sizes become the only available options for your team members. If you just want to exclude some, mark them as disallowed.
You can also control which fields of the machine provisioning form are visible and their default values. This helps limit available options and simplify the provisioning process for your end users.
To configure constraints, your only option until recently was JSON. Mist v4.5 keeps the JSON interface but also adds a more user-friendly web form.
Mist v4.5 includes an Ansible upgrade and a relevant architectural change. You can now upload and execute Ansible v2 playbooks from Mist's script section. Playbook execution is done from a short-lived container, created on the fly for this purpose. This adds another layer of isolation and increases the overall security of the platform.
In terms of other changes and updates:
Helm chart for installing Mist in a Kubernetes cluster. Mist Community Edition can be installed in Kubernetes clusters for some time now but the process was lacking and was not documented. In Mist v4.5, we adapted the Helm chart of our Enterprise Edition and you can now use it as seen in our docs on Github.
Configurable portal name in automated emails. In several occasions, Mist sends automated emails e.g. for notifications, rule triggers etc. By changing the PORTAL_NAME parameter in your settings.py all automated emails will mention the portal name you chose. This is available only in Mist Community and Enterprise editions.
Email notification when creating an API token. When you create a new Mist API token, Mist will send an automated email notification to the relevant user's address. This is meant as an additional security precaution.
Mist v4.5 brings object storage support, more fine-grained provisioning policies, support for Ansible v2 playbooks, and several minor features and enhancements. We hope you enjoy it!
For a guided tour of the Mist platform, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you'd like to try it out for yourselves, sign up for a Mist Hosted Service account and begin your 14-day free trial.
One of the advantages that Ubuntu brings to the cloud equation is improving an organization's ability to run in multiple clouds. Running containers on top of Ubuntu further increases portability. Mist is an open-source multicloud management platform that helps teams centrally manage and control their Ubuntu instances across many different cloud environments and/or bare metal. This removes some of the operational and financial barriers to running applications in multiple clouds.
One recent example of how Mist works with Ubuntu came from a customer who runs a WordPress hosting service in Europe. This company is extremely security conscious and wanted a completely open-source stack. They run in multiple public clouds as well as on bare metal, and completely isolate their customers' workloads.
This customer was already using Ubuntu and LXD, both chosen for their baked-in security and robustness, and both open-source. LXD is a container and VM management tool that allows users to create, run, and maintain containers as if they were VMs, and VMs as if they were their own cloud. LXD uses pre-made images available for a range of Linux distributions and is built around a powerful, but simple, REST API. A good tool for orchestration of 'single-cloud' virtual environments.
However, the customer still needed to have visibility and control over the entire stack, from LXD down to the cloud environment, and they needed a way to centrally manage all of their deployments in different clouds. For both general monitoring as well as to make changes around access control if someone joined the team, was reassigned, or left.
They adopted Mist to get a unified view of their entire setup and to be able to centrally control certain aspects of their deployments. Here are some of the things that Ubuntu users get by layering Mist on top:
Spin up Ubuntu instances anywhere, from one dashboard. Instead of having to toggle between environments to spin up Ubuntu instances in different public and private clouds, you can spin new instances up from a single dashboard.
Centrally control role-based access (RBAC) for your entire setup. Many organizations, like the customer noted above, choose an all open source stack for security and privacy reasons. Privacy and legal compliance can also be a reason organizations need to operate in more than one cloud environment. With Mist, it's easy to control RBAC for the entire suite of servers from one place, decreasing the likelihood of errors and the accompanying security exposure.
Automatically set up workflows from one dashboard. Instead of managing workflows separately for each cloud environment, the organization can automate workflow creation and operation in a way that is cloud agnostic. This gives developers a standard, repeatable process to follow regardless of cloud environment and reduces the likelihood of errors.
Optimize cloud costs. Operating in more than one cloud can get very expensive. Mist helps companies track, understand and control their cloud spend across multiple providers, so that multicloud doesn't become a major business liability.
The customer discussed above adopted containers and LXD specifically for portability and the ability to run in multiple cloud environments. Combining Ubuntu, LXD, and Mist to centrally manage these environments enabled this company to take advantage of the portability that containers offer, while controlling their cloud costs. Mist makes running in multiple clouds practical, so companies can run in multiple environments without running up huge bills or spending too much engineering time on cloud management.
There are many good reasons for running in multiple clouds, as well as times when multicloud environments are unavoidable due to organizational history or legal reasons. However, operating in multiple clouds adds complexity, increases operational overhead and can become expensive. Organizations should only pursue it when they have clear business reasons for doing so.
In this article, I'm going to cover some common situations when organizations can get value out of multicloud as well as strategies for success. Because multicloud is hard, the first question organizations should ask themselves is, "Do we really need multicloud?" So, the first order of business is to outline when technology leaders are better off avoiding multicloud altogether.
When Multicloud is a Bad Idea
A single application and its data should never span multiple clouds, if it can be avoided. Here are some common reasons organizations adopt a multicloud approach when they would be better off avoiding it.
Short-term bursting (in hybrid cases). "I'll just tap into a public cloud if my private cloud suddenly needs extra capacity."
Disaster recovery. "Let's run this application on AWS and Google in case one of them disappears overnight."
Staying cloud-agnostic. "By running on multiple clouds, we are no longer locked in."
In all the cases above, network latency and egress cost will hurt your application and your business. In the best-case scenario, you will spend a lot of time and effort prematurely optimizing for unlikely scenarios.
Unless you're perfectly prepared, please, don't go there.
When Multicloud is a Necessary Evil
There are also plenty of times when multicloud is a drag on the engineering organization and a drag on the business - but can't be avoided. Here are totally legitimate reasons to have a multicloud setup that will still require more effort to maintain than operating in a single cloud.
Mergers and acquisitions. Some organizations can end up operating in public clouds and private clouds as they acquire other companies. The effort required to migrate everything to one cloud provider often isn't worth it, so everyone continues using the same cloud they used pre-acquisition.
Legal. Depending on the type of data you gather and the jurisdictions you operate in, you may have to worry about where your cloud provider has regions available. There will be times when you need a data center in multiple jurisdictions; none of the cloud providers are in all of them. In those cases, you don't have much choice, you need to be multicloud.
If you need to use multiple cloud providers, either for legal reasons or because of mergers, it's best to focus on making multicloud management as painless as possible - while still accepting that it will not be as smooth an experience as running all workloads in a single cloud.
When Multicloud is a Solid Strategic Move
There are also some very good reasons to adopt a multicloud approach on purpose. For example:
Facilitating engineering speed. Engineering speed is paramount. Companies who focus on using multicloud to become cloud-agnostic and avoid lock-in often sacrifice development velocity, but if the organization instead uses multicloud to allow everyone on the team to use the tools and environment they are most comfortable with, it can increase velocity.
Best-of-breed tooling. The cloud providers' offerings are not totally identical. Multicloud can let organizations use the best tools from each cloud provider; for example, machine learning technology from Google, compute from AWS and business intelligence from Azure.
Better customer experience. Especially if latency is a big concern, a multicloud approach can help organizations get physically closer to users, providing a better customer experience.
There is a common thread here: When evaluating whether or not you have a legitimate need for multicloud, the key question is whether you will be fulfilling a psychological need, a theoretical need (in other words, something that you do not actually need at this moment but might at some future date) or a concrete legal or technical need that you can easily describe. If there are no concrete legal, technical or business reasons for pursuing multicloud, don't. There are costs to pursuing multicloud, so organizations that won't actually reap benefits from it shouldn't attempt it.
How to Succeed
Multicloud is hard. Here's how to increase your chances of success so you can get the business benefits of better tooling or better customer experiences from your multicloud deployments.
Use a cloud management platform. Getting a single pane of glass for all your deployments is critical to managing multiple clouds without pulling your hair out. This abstraction, however, comes at the cost of supporting very deep and cloud provider-specific use cases, for example, using obscure service X.
Standardize workflows with Terraform and Ansible. You need to have processes that are as repeatable and predictable as possible. Even with standardized workflows, you still have to adjust for each environment, but the more standardization the better.
Use Kubernetes. Kubernetes lets you abstract the infrastructure layer and move workloads around more easily, even across clouds. The caveat here is that you have to adopt microservices and deal with the increased complexity of managing Kubernetes and its underlying infrastructure.
Each of the above approaches has its merits and flaws. They are not mutually exclusive, and you should not treat them like they are. Be prepared to mix and match depending on your needs.
Weigh the Costs and Benefits
Sometimes companies are not realistic about their technical capacity or what their needs are. They want the ability to do the latest thing they read about without thinking about whether or not that technology or approach will provide business benefits.
Multicloud adds a huge amount of complexity to your deployment. If multicloud truly is essential, however, use tools and platforms that hide that complexity from users and can simplify the management process.
Our recent Mist v4.4 release includes a brand new integration with CloudSigma. The goal is to help CloudSigma users manage their multicloud and hybrid setups from a single pane of glass. Even if you use only CloudSigma, you can still get value. You can connect multiple accounts across regions to Mist and manage them centrally.
Specifically for CloudSigma, with Mist you can:
Get a list of your VMs. Listings include all metadata information, e.g. public & private IPs, runtime information, attached drives etc.
Start, stop, reboot and delete VMs.
Create new VMs.
List, create and destroy volumes.
Attach volumes to VMs and detach them.
You can also leverage features that are common to all our supported clouds, e.g. tags, ownership metadata, expiration dates, cost quotas, role-based access controls, shell, scripts, orchestration, monitoring, rules, audit logs etc.
How to connect CloudSigma to Mist
You can connect CloudSigma to Mist in five simple steps:
What exactly does open mean when it's applied to the cloud? In the modern software engineering world, there's a tendency to value "openness" over all else, and sometimes we act as if the "open" in open source can be just as easily applied to other parts of the engineering stack.
But open source and open clouds are totally different concepts, even if they both contain the word "open." Even if a cloud provider claims to have an open cloud, it should be obvious to everyone that the cloud infrastructure is not maintained by a global community of volunteers who do not monetize their efforts.
Cloud "openness" is often misunderstood, sometimes because companies intentionally mislead us about what is and is not open, sometimes because as an industry we try to oversimplify very complex offerings and technology. Word choice hurts us, too. The linguistic similarities with "open source", and the fact that "open" and "closed" are usually presented as binary options rather than a spectrum, make it easier to misconstrue the realities of an "open" cloud.
Oversimplifying and/or misunderstanding what openness really means in the context of a cloud environment can lead organizations to make poor decisions about technology choices, leading to wasted time and wasted money. Here's what organizations should consider when they think about how to evaluate how open a cloud is - and whether or not that even matters.
"Open" is a spectrum
The openness of any platform, cloud or service is a measure of how locked in customers are, which itself is little more than a calculation of how much it would cost, in terms of time, money and headache, to migrate off of the platform or cloud.
Cloud providers might talk about being "open", but there are no completely open clouds. After all, while talking about how open their clouds are, all the cloud providers charge for egress traffic.
This can't be just about their own cost of maintaining the underlying technology: ingress traffic is free. If the dedication to a truly open cloud were real, moving out would be just as free as moving in.
One of the problems with the term "open cloud" is that it encourages people to think of "openness" as a binary: either a cloud is open or it is closed. But openness is a spectrum, not a binary. The extremes of completely open or completely closed don't exist: Migration costs are never zero. It is also never impossible to migrate off a cloud or platform, though it can be extremely expensive.
What factors make a cloud more or less open
So how do we evaluate where on the openness spectrum a particular cloud is? The most open of open clouds will always have the following characteristics:
Built on open source
Facilitate data openness, including having tools that make it easier to access, process and move data
Use open APIs, use standard interfaces and adopt open standards.
However, even a cloud that meets all of those requirements is not fully "open", in other words, the cost of migrating off that cloud would not be zero. Here are the factors that organizations should evaluate to see where a particular cloud or other platform falls on the openness spectrum:
How much glue is holding the open source components together? Just because a cloud is based on open source does not mean that creating the same experience or functionality elsewhere is easy. There are always custom, proprietary scripts holding everything together and making the open source software easier to use and more reliable. The more proprietary glue the less open the cloud.
Data portability. Data has gravity. Moving data can be both time-consuming and costly. How easy it is to move data out of a cloud environment is one of the most important factors when determining how open the cloud is.
Additional services. All of the cloud providers offer all kinds of add-on services, from secrets management to monitoring and logging. Each service you use increases your lock-in, making it harder for you to migrate elsewhere. The more proprietary services you use, the less open the cloud is. Some services will be more open than others, and it's useful to evaluate openness not just of the entire cloud provider but also of each individual service the organization uses.
What skills are required? Lastly, there is a skills component to cloud openness. Not all organizations have highly skilled engineering teams. The more sophisticated your team, the easier it would be to move away from any particular cloud and the less reliant the organization is on managed services.
Making better choices
When organizations buy into the idea of a binary open/closed cloud, they are skipping over all the details about what makes a cloud more or less open, and ultimately failing to thoroughly evaluate what is and is not important for their organization. Good decision making always requires a complete understanding of both the available options as well as the organization's strengths, weaknesses and priorities.
It would be a mistake to assume that the more open a cloud is the better. For many - probably most - organizations, worrying about cloud lock-in is a distraction that can prevent the engineering team from taking advantage of the cloud's agility, speed and cost savings. Sure, a few companies might derive a competitive advantage from infrastructure management, but they are rare. In most cases, organizations who insist on making their cloud environment as open as possible find themselves spending valuable engineering time managing open source software and rolling their own services that could be purchased off-the-shelf from the cloud provider.
Instead of thinking about whether or not a cloud is open, an engineering leader should evaluate your organization's priorities: Where is openness important? Where is it not? How well do the services you consume from your cloud provider fit with your organization's priorities? That will give you a better place to start when evaluating which cloud provider has the right balance of open source, proprietary programs, out-of-the-box services and barriers to migrating away and ultimately lead to better cloud-related business decisions.
The Landscape visualizes the cloud native space. Although it is hard to accurately map such a complicated ecosystem, this curated list can help newcomers and veterans alike. Veterans can use it to discover tools that they did not know yet. Newcomers can quickly drill down to their area of interest and begin their exploration from there.
Today we are announcing the release of the Mist Cloud Management Platform v4.4.
Mist v4.4 brings a lot of updates to supported clouds and a brand new implementation of the web shell. It includes several UI/UX enhancements coupled by an upgrade to Polymer v3 and Web Components v1. Finally, it introduces role-based access controls on images and constraints on machine sizes.
This will be the last release in the 4.X line. We are already working on Mist v5 which will introduce a redesigned RESTful API and brand new CLI and a number of big new features. To save you from waiting, we are shipping previews of both today. Stay tuned for a dedicated post with more information.
CloudSigma. This is totally new and allows you to manage machines and volumes on CloudSigma.
Linode v4 API. All new Linode clouds in Mist will require a v4 Linode API token. Check out Linode's documentation on how to get an API token. Existing clouds connected to Mist with API v3 tokens will continue to work.
Linode volumes. You can now list, create, delete, attach and detach block storage volumes.
DigitalOcean power cycle. In some cases, your Droplets may end up in an error state that is impossible to recover from. Power cycle will perform a hard shutdown and will then power on your Droplet again.
vSphere rename and clone machine.
New web shell
The web shell is one of our favourite Mist features. It allows us to quickly troubleshoot things from within Mist without having to share actual private keys with our team members. In fact, we use it so often that we brought the old implementation to its knees :)
For v4.4, we rewrote the backend component in Go. This improves performance and stability. In the UI front, you can open the web shell in a new window. This way you can work in any number of shells simultaneously.
The web UI in Mist v4.4 leverages Polymer v3 and Web Components v1. This improves browser compatibility and developer experience. You will also notice some performance improvements. More importantly, this upgrade lays the groundwork for new features coming up in v5.
Also, we introduce the Monaco Editor wherever XML and JSON are involved. Monaco also handles inline scripts and templates. With Monaco and several other minor fixes our goal is to make the UX more uniform and friendly.
New in commercial editions
In Mist Hosted Service (HS) and Enterprise Edition (EE), you can now:
Set RBAC rules to images. For example, you can give your dev team access only to Debian 10 images.
Add constraints to machine size. This gives you finer and pro-active control over your inventory. For example, a team can provision only machines with 2 CPU cores, 4GB of RAM and 50GB of disk.
Specifically in Mist EE, v4.4 adds authentication with Microsoft 365.
Mist v4.4 brings CloudSigma support, several enhancements to other clouds, a new web shell and a ton of other fixes. It introduces finer controls over images and machine sizes, and brings authentication with Microsoft 365 to Mist EE users. More importantly it sets the groundwork for our next major release v5.0 with an upgrade to our front-end framework and a preview of Mist's API v2 and CLI.
For a guided tour of the Mist platform, please reach out to email@example.com.
If you'd like to try out for yourselves, sign up for a Mist Hosted Service account and begin your 14-day free trial.
Fill in the options required. Make sure you provide a Mist admin user email and password. We recommend you use the 8GB Linode size. Provisioning will take 5-15 minutes. In the meantime, you can check out a video demo of Mist.
Navigate to the public IP address of the Linode you used to deploy the Mist One-Click App in your browser. You can find the IP address for your Linode on the Linode detail page in the Cloud Manager.
Click SIGN IN at the top right.
Fill in the Mist admin email and password you chose when you deployed your Linode. You will be redirected to Mist's main dashboard.
Next, click on Add your Clouds button, select Linode from the list of supported providers, enter your API key and click Add cloud. You are all set! Your Linode cloud has been added and your Linodes will be auto-discovered by Mist.
For anything other than testing we recommend setting up a DNS name and TLS. You can find more info in Mist's README. If you would like to add more users to Mist, you need to configure your mail settings as explained here.
To learn more about how to set up Mist in Linode check out the detailed instructions in Linode's docs.
While working on a multitude of open source projects we faced an interesting Git puzzle. How can you move a file between Git repos?
The easy solution is to just forget about Git history. If you like to preserve it, the situation is not very straightforward. Below we will explain the problem, your options and how to apply them.
Let's assume you work on forkX, which is a fork of repo projectX. In forkX you are collaborating with your colleagues. At the same time, projectX is also moving forward. ForkX includes files with a long history of commits that are not in projectX. You would like to push some of those files to projectX.
Your current situation looks like this:
What do you do?
Option A: Delete history
The easiest option is to push the files without preserving history.
Based on the example in the graph above, add relevant remotes and fetch their current state:
The command above will stop the merge with all the files staged and ready to be committed. For every file, besides the new ones, you do:
git reset filePath
Be careful NOT to reset everything and then stage the new files again. When the new files are the only ones staged then you commit with:
git commit -m "Add new feature"
Finally, delete the unstaged files with:
git stash && git stash drop
git clean -f
You are now ready to open a pull request. If you have the proper rights, you can just push with:
git push -u projectX
At Mist.io we rely on Apache Libcloud to interface with the APIs of many cloud providers. We maintain a fork of Libcloud to better control Mist's dependencies and to develop new features before we push them upstream.
Until recently, we were maintaining a driver for vSphere only in our fork. The driver was big, complicated and introduced new dependencies so we refrained from pushing it upstream. When we felt confident with the code we decided to open a pull request.
The bulk of the new code was in a few files that didn't exist upstream. However, the work on these files was done, over a long period of time, from several people in our team. For this reason, we wanted to preserve the history and we ended up using option B above.
In this post we went over how you can move files between Git repos. We showed two options; a simple one that deletes history and a complicated one that preserves it. We illustrated the two options with an example from Mist's Libcloud fork and the upstream Libcloud repo.
We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!