what exactly is cloudmin?

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#1 Wed, 07/01/2009 - 16:58

what exactly is cloudmin?

I think this is the same product, VM2, that I've been reading about in the forum for quite some time now. I read that it was beta software, but I could never seem to dig up any detailed information about it. I see now the it has finally left beta as Cloudmin and ready for production use, but I still don't know exactly what it does. I see in the store that there is a physical server license, an instance license and I've also read about Virtualmin/Webmin plug-ins in forum posts. If you have VMs on several physical servers that you would like to manage, what would you need to order? Does this work in concert with Webmin/Virtualmin or in lieu of it? Can you use it with existing Webmin/Virtualmin instances on shared server hosting setups? I'm so confused.

Wed, 07/01/2009 - 17:59
Joe's picture

Hehehe...Good question. We're still refining the docs and introductory information about Cloudmin. It can be a bit confusing...new paradigms often are.

So, first up, yes, Cloudmin was known as VM2 during the private beta period.

Cloudmin is a web-based UI for managing cloud computing resources. Without the buzzwords, Cloudmin manages virtual (and physical, to some degree) machines from a reasonably friendly UI. Cloudmin helps you create virtual machine images, spin them up, shut them down, move them between physical machines, sell them from your shopping cart or billing system using simple API calls, allow your customer to reboot their systems (re-imaging and such coming in the next release), and monitor lots of system data using the same systems graphing engine as Virtualmin Professional.

The physical servers version is a bit of a red herring. It's "Cloudmin without the cloud", so to speak. It is intended for folks that have a lot of Virtualmin (GPL or Professional) systems, and wants an easier way to keep up with what domains and what accounts are on what system. It also allows things like moving a Virtualmin account from one physical system to another easily. There's also a plugin that allows a central login URL that chooses the right Virtualmin server to log the user into (so you can have one "Login to Virtualmin" link for all of your customers). If you aren't a hosting provider that has more than one Virtualmin hosting system, you do not need this version of Cloudmin; it doesn't do anything with virtual machines. Also, if you're a hosting provider that has more than three Virtualmin Professional systems, you can get Cloudmin for physical systems for free. It has no limits, so a single installation will work for an entire data center of Virtualmin servers.

If you have VMs on several physical servers that you would like to manage, what would you need to order?

You need to order a Cloudmin (10|50|100) Instance Annual License. That's it. Cloudmin for Physical Systems is not for folks managing virtual machines. And you only need one machine running Cloudmin to manage any number of host machines (those physical machines running your guest virtual machines do not need Cloudmin running directly on them...having Webmin on them helps, as it provides fast RPC and systems data, but even that is not mandatory on the host machines).

Does this work in concert with Webmin/Virtualmin or in lieu of it?

Cloudmin has a number of features that work better if you have Webmin and/or Virtualmin on the virtual machines and on the host systems, but even if you don't use Webmin or Virtualmin, Cloudmin will work for management of virtual machines. Cloudmin is a set of Webmin modules and themes, so Webmin is required on the system that runs Cloudmin.

Cloudmin is definitely not "in lieu of" Webmin or Virtualmin. The functionality of each product is distinct and rarely overlapping. Virtualmin is a virtual hosting control panel. Cloudmin is a cloud computing management platform. The two have many hooks for working together to provide a better experience for users, but you can use Virtualmin without Cloudmin and Cloudmin without Virtualmin.

Can you use it with existing Webmin/Virtualmin instances on shared server hosting setups?

Of course! Cloudmin can learn about existing Webmin/Virtualmin servers, using similar methods to the Webmin Cluster Servers module, and can then allow you to administer them more easily. The physical version of Cloudmin can manage an unlimited number of Webmin/Virtualmin servers, as described above.

The current virtual machine versions aren't smart enough to understand the difference between physical and virtual machines, and so...Cloudmin 10 can only manage 10 total systems (physical or virtual). This will change in the near future. Since there's rarely a good technical reason to have multiple Cloudmin installations for one company, it only makes sense to allow folks to do that.

That last paragraph is more complicated than we want it to be. So if you want to ignore it, that's fine. It'll be fixed soon.

Clear as mud?

In short, if you have virtual machines you want Cloudmin 10 or Cloudmin 50, or whatever. If you have a bunch of regular old Virtualmin systems running on physical hardware, you want Cloudmin for Physical Systems. You don't need both, and there's nothing else that you must buy to use Cloudmin; Webmin is always free, almost all Virtualmin plugins are free, and Virtualmin GPL is always free. Virtualmin Professional adds a few cool things to the picture, but if you don't need those things, that's fine, too.


Check out the forum guidelines!

Sun, 07/05/2009 - 09:01

That should be in a FAQ somewhere, linked from the Cloudmin page.

Thanks! Ken

Thu, 08/13/2009 - 13:46

I'm in the group of people that found the description, "CLEAR AS MUD!"

I know and understand what cloud computing is (Dynamically scalable and/or virtualized resources provided as a service over the Internet).

What I don't understand is what CLOUDmin for physical servers does for me...

My company does web design and hosting. However we only host for a select few clients. I have a single Virtualmin Pro server for 100 licenses right now. This server has our company site along with less than 40 other sites for each client we host for.

The existing Virtualmin Pro server is behind a firewall, OF COURSE! The firewall has one external IP address. The firewall has the appropriate holes punched for the services our company or our clients use on the Virtualmin Pro server.

Eventually, I want to move the company sites to a new (dedicated) server and all the other client sites to a new (dedicated) server. This way our company's system is completely separate from our clients. However I can't do this behind the firewall we are currently using. It can only forward services to ports on a single IP address.

While having a single point of control over all my web servers would be nice, I don't see CLOUDmin as much more than a remote monitoring tool. UNLESS I'M MISSING SOMETHING!

If I put a CLOUDmin system behind the existing firewall can it forward requests made on a specific port, to the correct server?


Does a CLOUDmin system for physical servers even need the existing firewall?

Does CLOUDmin have it's own "BUILT IN" protective firewall system?

Mon, 08/17/2009 - 17:55 (Reply to #4)
Joe's picture

While having a single point of control over all my web servers would be nice, I don't see CLOUDmin as much more than a remote monitoring tool. UNLESS I'M MISSING SOMETHING!

Yep. You're definitely missing something. Cloudmin doesn't actually do much monitoring (though more is in the plans). If you bought it for monitoring today, you'd be disappointed. ;-)

If I put a CLOUDmin system behind the existing firewall can it forward requests made on a specific port, to the correct server?

No. Cloudmin is not a proxy or a router or a load balancing device. With Webmin and Squid you could do what you're after (my previous company built products for that kind of thing based on Webmin, Squid, and a few custom Webmin modules, redirectors, and a couple of kernel modules). But, wouldn't it be easier just to get more IP addresses?

Does CLOUDmin have it's own "BUILT IN" protective firewall system?

Nope. Cloudmin has nothing to do with firewalls. Webmin has a nice firewall management module, though.

The features you're wishing for are also not within the domain of a firewall. They could be done with a proxy or an L7 router, but a regular L3/L4 firewall isn't going to have the information it needs to make those kinds of routing decisions based on hostnames within the HTTP GET requests (the Linux firewall technically does provide L7 access, but it takes pretty elaborate code to make it work; I've written some code to operate at L7 in the past, but it's not something I would recommend for anyone, when a proxy would do the job just as well and without the elaborate code). But, again, the simple solution is to get another IP address for the other server.


Check out the forum guidelines!

Tue, 08/18/2009 - 12:28 (Reply to #5)

I understand what cloudmin does when dealing with the virtualization of servers/services. What I don't understand is what does cloudmin does for the people, like me, who have physical servers with Virtualmin Pro installed on them? (Is cloudmin for physical servers just basically providing a web-based UI that manages/records which Domains are available and on which Virtualmin Pro Server they are located?)

I have several Public IP Addresses, but only one Virtualmin Pro server (at this time!) Our Virtualmin Pro server is connected to the internet via one of the firewall interfaces. Each port needed by the Virtualmin Pro server is opened and forwarded from the external firewall interface to the internal server interface.

If I buy cloudmin and install it on a server, accessible via a public IP address, how is the cloudmin system protected?

In the same regard, if I set up the Virtualmin Pro servers on public IPs directly, instead of behind a firewall system, how are they protected? Are you suggesting the firewall module in Webmin can protect the physical server Virtualmin Pro is installed on, as well as each virtualized server created by the Virtualmin Pro UI?

Mon, 08/17/2009 - 00:56

your completely missing what cloudmin does. Reread the explanation. Your definition of cloud services is not the same as the one they are using. Actually about everyones definition is different. Cloudmin has nothing to do with running a single service that is spread amongst multiple servers and also has nothing to do with load balancing or auto scaling. Not at this point at least.

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 16:47 (Reply to #7)

I think maybe my questions and concerns are being misunderstood!

I have a Physical Virtualmin Server, so I'm trying to figure out what Cloudmin for PHYSICAL servers actually does!

"Cloudmin also supports physical servers..." - posted right on the description of Cloudmin!

"And, for those folks with Virtualmin servers you want to manage quickly and easily, Cloudmin for Physical Servers brings you all the cool Cloudmin management and data aggregation features, without the virtualized system management capabilities, and at a great price of only $79 for unlimited servers!" - posted right on the Cloudmin offer page!

So for $79 I'm getting what? - The ability to transfer a virtual server (hosted domain/site) from one Physical Virtualmin Server to another?

Is this it? A UI to connect via SSH and transfer files from one piece of hardware (running Virtualmin) to another piece of hardware (running Virtualmin)?

Thu, 09/03/2009 - 09:27

My impression is that Cloudmin will let me create and run up a virtual server for a customer and let that customer manage the server.

My take on "manage" is: -boot -shutdown -reset -install/reinstall a system image -connect to an serial type console if one is available -connect to a graphical console if one is available

For example. Can I put up a windoz server and let the customer manage the system using something like VNC? Not have to get the server up and running and network configured and then make RDP work.

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