Conquer the Cloud with Subutai Blueprints: Nextcloud – easy, flexible, secure cloud storage

Felipe Fonseca

By Subutai Community Manager Felipe Fonseca

At Subutai, we promote open source solutions that demonstrate the benefits and potential of peer-to-peer cloud computing. By using the Subutai blueprint for Nextcloud, you gain full use of the features of this file share and communication platform, and are able to store data in one or more locations of your choice.

Nowadays, we generate and consume a growing amount of pictures, videos, and audio files. It is a common issue that we end up with no place to store all of these files. Our smartphones get full and we transfer the files to a computer hard drive, which also gets full in no time. Some of us may resort to performing regular backups to external hard drives. But then again, how do we ensure that our data is not lost if we lose the hard drive or if it stops working?

There are commercial solutions to these issues that make the backup process easy for us. Think of those smartphone apps that can back up our files automatically. What’s good about them is that they store our files in the cloud. And, it costs us almost nothing to use these cloud storage services. So, is this the ultimate solution to our storage and backup issues? Probably not when we consider how easy it is for cloud service providers to gain access to our private files, constantly analyzing and cross-relating our content without even notifying us about it. True enough, the same app that sends our pictures to the cloud for backup can also ensue huge threats to our privacy.

One of the biggest advantages offered by the Subutai platform is precisely the ability to choose exactly where our data will be stored and accessed from. It could be in your own computer, in a friend’s or relative’s computer, or in one maintained by a provider that you rely on. If you want, you can create a cloud using several computers that are distributed in different parts of the world. You might wonder how security can be assured with this kind of setup. The advantage of using Subutai’s P2P cloud computing is that you can choose exactly where your application will run from. If you have sensitive data, you can install the PeerOS and run applications from your own peer. Alternatively, you can use those of friends or relatives, or peers provided by commercial providers that you trust.

I’ll show you how it works from a tutorial that I’ve prepared about setting up Nextcloud in someone else’s Peer.

Nextcloud Blueprint

Here’s the Nextcloud blueprint. I chose Nextcloud because it is an open and powerful solution that can be used for many ends, one of the more important being file synchronization. Drop by the Nextcloud website to find out about other features that you can use to your advantage.

Just some prerequisites before you start:

  • Subutai Bazaar account credentials for logging in. To help you set up an account, take a quick look at our Getting Started page.
  • PGP key set up in Account settings. For this, we recommend that you use our E2E browser plugin, which will generate and manage the PGP keys for you.

Ready to start? Watch the video and soon enough, you might find yourself setting up peer-to-peer cloud environments for friends and family, or even renting your own spare resources for others to use.

Once the new environment is built, you can gain access to a fully functional Nextcloud instance through your own URL. Take a look:

Captura de tela de 2018-07-04 16-37-19

You can then use Nextcloud’s mobile and desktop clients to easily back up and synchronize your files. Enjoy it!

Deploying GitLab through Subutai: the quick & easy way


By Subutai Community Manager Felipe Fonseca and Subutai’s GitLab Blueprint creator Marco Silva

Say hello to the GitLab Blueprint

So, you are concerned about the future of your Git repositories, following the huge movements the market has seen this week. You might have heard of another open source alternative, the GitLab community edition. But you don’t want to spend more money to pay for cloud services or spend more time learning how to install and setup GitLab in your server. Here’s where the Subutai GitLab blueprint comes in handy – enabling you to deploy GitLab on your peer-to-peer cloud.

In a nutshell, blueprints are enhanced templates designed to reduce system administration overheads by simplifying the deployment of cloud environments in the Subutai platform. If you are a Subutai Bazaar member, you might have come across blueprints on the Products page. Instead of setting up an environment from scratch, and then manually downloading and configuring GitLab, blueprints do all of these for you in the backend. Want to learn more about the Subutai platform? More info here: https://subutai.io.

Here’s what you need

Subutai users, with Bazaar accounts and peers, can skip this part and go straight to the walk-through below. First time users have to create an account on Subutai Bazaar. To do so, follow the guidelines on our Getting Started page. Just so you know, we are obsessed with security and privacy, so don’t forget to install the E2E browser plugin (all lightweight and open source, of course), which we developed for managing PGP keys. Registration is free and you even get to earn GoodWill, our internal Bazaar token.

With your Bazaar account set up, you can select the peer where you want to deploy the blueprint. From the Tools menu, go to the Peers page where you can select a peer and add it to your Favorites list. You will use that later during the blueprint set up. If you want to use your own peer, here are the instructions and guidelines, https://docs.subutai.io/Products/PeerOS_toctree.html.

Let us walk you through it

Once logged in to Bazaar, it’s just a matter of following these simple steps:

1. From the Tools menu, access the Products page.

Browse through the list on the Products page, where you can gain access to blueprints that can be deployed to any peer running our software, anywhere in the world.

2. On the Application Blueprints tab, click the GitLab blueprint icon or name.

If you want to review the inner structure of the blueprint, before deploying it, click View. Published blueprints come with full specifications so that they can be scrutinized by the community.

3. Click Build.
4. Set your variables.

The variables are quite straightforward, starting with names for the environment and container. Be sure to choose unique names to differentiate from other ones that you have or might want to build later. For the domain name, choose the subdomain through which you will access your GitLab instance. Free subdomains of “envs.subutai.cloud” are available for now. You can enter a new subdomain by clicking Add new. If you want to specify a container size, you may do so. Those who plan on hosting several projects may choose either the Large or Huge size.

The next screen about Ports only informs you that the system will automatically point your selected subdomain to the proper container. You can click Next to continue.

5. Select the peer where you want to run the environment.

Now is the time to decide where to deploy the blueprint. Select the peer that meets the requirements for your environment in terms of resources, geography, performance, and price (in GoodWill).

6. Click Finish.

Wait for the build to finish. You are redirected to the Environments page where you can monitor the progress, as the contents of the blueprint are downloaded automatically and deployed to the container.

It might take a few minutes, but it’s worth it!

7. Access and set up your GitLab admin account.

Want to see it live? Use the domain name that you have set up earlier in the Variables screen. You will see that as a link in the Domain Name column on the Environments page.

When you click the link, you will see the GitLab page where you must set the password for the administrator account or the root user. Once logged in, you may register other accounts.

So, there you go – a functional instance of GitLab deployed on a P2P cloud. You can start transferring your projects and look forward to creating new ones. Enjoy it!

Some important post installation notes:

We recognize that due to constraints about the way the Internet works nowadays, you cannot run your own email server in a sustainable and effective way. Your GitLab instance will work fine without an email server, but email will probably be needed for certain tasks. For instance, when one of your users forgets her password and needs a password recovery link to be sent. Or when the user wants to receive email notifications about changes in repositories they follow. What we recommend is that you create an account on a commercial SMTP server, where you can set up the credentials afterwards. GitLab provides documentation on how to do that here.

GitLab is only one among the various open source software that has been integrated into a blueprint for easy deployment on P2P cloud infrastructure. Pretty cool, right? If you want, you can contribute to our growing blueprint collection. Check out our Blueprint Hackathon. (Hint: We’re awarding GoodWill in exchange for coming up with quality blueprints.)

The Horde Is Coming: Subutai 7.0

by OptDyn CTO and Founder Alex Karasulu

 

The Horde Is Coming: Subutai 7.0

We’re proud to announce the latest 7.0 major version release of the Subutai Platform. We just finished the migration from 6.0 to update all components today, May 10th 2018, on schedule. Please note that 7.0 is not backwards compatible with 6.0. Environments (clouds) running on 6.0 peers will continue to run. Everyone should however upgrade their peers to take advantage of all the benefits of 7.0 and avoid compatibility issues.

Subutai is composed of several different software components. We first started introducing 7.0 features into 6.0 that did not impose compatibility issues. We left the last few changes breaking compatibility towards the end for the last switch over to 7.0.

Subutai 7.0 is the best ever! It’s more stable and performant than 6.0 and well suited for mission critical production environments. Lucky 7, as we call it, is the major version intended to take the community through its token distribution event. It has backend changes to facilitate all the blockchain features needed to enable the dual token scheme use by the platform involving the GoodWill and KHAN tokens.

Here’s a list of the major improvements and features in 7.0:

Subutai PeerOS

  • Abandoned the use of Snap package to use Debian Packages
  • Switch default local CoW file system to ZFS instead of BTRFS
  • Template versioning and concurrent versions support
  • Subutai Agent exposes new REST API for Resource Hosts
  • Desktop as a Service Support for Containers
  • Using hard ZFS quotas instead of soft quotas
  • P2P fast warm up and other performance improvements
  • P2P tunneling and reconnection improvements
  • New environment REST API with CLI (similar to AWS meta api)

Subutai Control Center

  • Lazy installs software components when needed
  • Manages peer lifecycle from cradle to grave
  • Usability enhancements and several bug fixes
  • Using proper LFS paths
  • Desktop as a Service (x2go) Support

Subutai Vagrant Plugin

  • New disk growth command
  • Multiple Vagrant provider boxes for VM peers on several hypervisors
    • Libvirt
    • Virtualbox
    • Parallels
    • VMWare Fusion
    • VMWare Desktop
    • Hyper-V
  • Peer registration commands with Bazaars
  • Resource host registration commands to peers
  • Provisioning support for Subutai Blueprints

Subutai Bazaar

  • Applications management tab for environments
  • Blueprint enhancements to specify cloud distribution topology
  • Usability improvements for several workflows including BP wizard
  • Service Level Agreements as Ethereum Smart Contracts

Subutai E2E Security Plugin

  • Enabled operation with new Firefox API
  • New Microsoft Edge Plugin

Subutai Website

  • New website design
  • Integrated with new readthedocs site

Besides these new features and improvements above (in existing projects) some entirely new projects were emerged:

  • Subutai Ansible Module
  • Subutai Read The Docs
  • Subutai Container Utils
  • Various Debian package projects

The Subutai Ansible Module has been completed and submitted to the Ansible community for inclusion in the distribution: see https://github.com/ansible/ansible/pull/37659. The module can invoke peer CLI commands remotely, provision new peers and provision blueprints. It’s functionality mirrors the commands and functionality present in the Vagrant Subutai Plugin but is geared towards system administrators managing hosted, or cloud peers.

The new documentation project based on read the docs amalgamates documentation stored in github repository wikis as well as product documents kept in Google Docs for the project. It builds an entire table of contents for all the information associated with Subutai, its sub products and its 20+ projects.

The container CLI utilities project manages client tools used to query environment (cloud), peer, and container information. The CLI tool therein handles communicating with a REST API inside each network segment of the virtual private cloud to get information about the hosting peer, and the environment configuration.

As we switched from using a snap to regular vanilla Debian packages, we needed to decompose the snap into them. This produced a few projects just to hold the configuration for each of these new packages

Overall 7.0 opens Subutai to several future enhancements on our roadmap geared towards the Subutai token distribution event. It’s the lucky 7 release that will amass the hordes needed to conquer the cloud. Get started today!

Subutai Engineering Team members Timur Zhamakeev, Sydyk Akhmataliev, Adilet Zholdoshbekov, Aizhan Taalay kyzy, Emil Sulaimanov, Zubaidullo Niimatullo uulu, Eldar Tursunbaev, Azret Kenzhaliev, Bakhtiar Kukanov, Alina Penkina, Ibraghim Muhamedzhar, along with interns Amirkhan Ahetov and Bakhtiar Ayubov, enjoy a moment in the sun after releasing “Lucky 7”. Not pictured: Dilshat Aliev, Mikhail Savochkin, Abdysamat Mamutov, Erkin Matkaziev, Almanbet Sherov, Lars B. Thomsen, Aaron Xu, Fernando Silva, Marco Silva, and Burak Metin.

Introducing a new way to manage your Subutai™ Peers


by Erkin Matkaziev and Mike Savochkin

Easily manage your Subutai Cloud from your desktop with the Control Center!

The Control Center is an operating system tray application that integrates Subutai natively onto your desktop. It provides a single menu to access all of Subutai’s major features.

 

From within the Control Center, you can start a virtual desktop session that works with Subutai’s Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) feature or SSH into one of your environments’ containers.

Control Center works with your Bazaar account to integrate Subutai onto your desktop. You can manage your peers, and environments natively with Control Center while tracking who’s paying you for your resources and how much GoodWill you’ve earned.

We are pleased to introduce a new feature with the latest update: Peer control management from within the app. With this cool new feature you can create your own Subutai Peer and manage its lifecycle to keep earning Subutai™ GoodWill.

How it works

Control Center uses Vagrant which is a tool for building and managing virtual machines. Subutai supports many hypervisors thanks to Vagrant. Presently only VirtualBox has been integrated into Control Center but it works across all popular operating systems. In the coming weeks we will be adding support for the following hypervisors:

  • VMWare Fusion (only Mac)
  • VMWare Desktop and Workstation (Linux, and Windows)
  • Parallels (only Mac)
  • Hyper V (only Windows 10)

 

Guide on how to use peer manager

 

1) Open Subutai Control Center application

2) Install dependency software (virtualbox, vagrant)

3) Click “create peer” in “my peers menu”

4) Configure your peer

5) Wait until installation is finished

6) Open peer dialog box

7) Register your peer to the Subutai Bazaar

Congratulations! Now you have your own Subutai Peer installed by Control Center with help of Vagrant. Now you can set the price for your peer, change configuration, or destroy it (and install a new one or several new peers).

Have fun!

Two Perspectives; One Solution = Subutai. OptDyn CTO/Founder Alex Karasulu on the CLOUD Act.

OptDyn CTO/Founder Alex Karasulu

What is the problem with the CLOUD Act, and how Subutai is the answer …

Before the CLOUD Act

Before the CLOUD Act the US government could ONLY get its hands on the data US companies kept on servers inside US borders. If a US company hosted data outside, say in the EU, the US government was unable to access this information using a warrant or subpoena. Accessing data from servers in other countries required treaties and understandings with these governments.

After the CLOUD Act

The CLOUD Act allows ALL the data hosted on servers inside and outside of the US by American corporations to be accessible to US authorities via warrant or subpoena. Additionally this information, associated with US and non-US citizens can be shared with other governments without congressional approval which bypasses national privacy laws in the US and of other nations.

What does this mean for Cloud Computing?

It’s ironic that they used a title for the act whose acronym (almost) spells out CLOUD: the CLarifying Overseas Use of Data Act. Whether or not the data being hosted by US companies outside of the US is stored technically in a cloud does not matter. The data could just be sitting on a disk drive of a server in a foreign state. However the reason for trying to force the CLOUD acronym is clear, the act impacts the cloud industry more than any other since their cloud resources are used predominantly to host applications and data overseas.

This is really bad news for cloud providers with centralized control and administration of their cloud. This should scare companies using their services in the US and outside even more than ever. Let’s take each case separately with the largest fake cloud provider “AcmeZoo, Inc.” which has regions all over the world. Up until now AcmeZoo was able to get business abroad because of laws preventing the US government from accessing data in regions outside of the US. The government of Brazil might have even considered hosting applications in AcmeZoo’s São Paulo region. They might have even seen it as OK, to pass privacy laws that have Brazilian companies hosting the information of Brazilian citizens in AcmeZoo data centers as long as they were in Brazil. With the CLOUD Act all this changes. It no longer matters where that data is stored, AcmeZoo being a US based company is required to hand the data of Brazilian citizens over to US authorities which can basically share it with any other nation now.

What does this mean for P2P Cloud Computing and Subutai?

This is great news for Subutai and couldn’t have happened at a better time. Subutai is the solution that everyone now certainly needs after the CLOUD Act has passed.

Subutai is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Cloud platform. It lets anyone buy or sell resources from anyone else to create private cloud environments across edge computers or data center servers. It is completely in the control of the cloud owner. The owner provides governance rules to specify who and from where they are willing to purchase resources and at what cost. There are several parameters that can be used to control your private cloud as it perpetually looks for resources to maintain your desired state for it.

Can’t US authorities get cloud data from OptDyn, a US based company?

Short answer NO.

OptDyn is a US-based company and is the creator of Subutai. OptDyn runs the Subutai Bazaar which is a marketplace with a reputation system and tracker for peer resources. It provides services to help clouds find resources satisfying governance rules around reputation and parameters such as uptime etc.

If the US government required this information it could get it without a subpoena. The best they can do with a warrant is get the names of people and the environments they run. They cannot access data in your P2P cloud environments. First of all OptDyn does not own those servers, others do in the ecosystem. Furthermore you keep your keys to your cloud. It cannot be accessed through OptDyn without doing those operations with your keys when interacting with the Bazaar. These keys are kept and managed in your browser using the Subutai E2E Security plugins.

When using Subutai, you can protect yourself from the CLOUD Act by running on peers owned and operated on servers owned by non-US companies. Subutai has all the governance rules to allow you to restrict exactly where you cloud will run. This is why it was created in the first place as a first class Infrastructure as a Service Cloud and IoT platform.

If you’re a Brazilian Government Agency you should stop using AcmeZoo, Inc. for cloud services from their São Paulo region. Your data is no longer safe there and can be traded to other governments thanks to the CLOUD Act. You can use Subutai with local Brazilian hosting providers under Brazilian law and jurisdiction instead to get an even more resilient government cloud or also leverage your own data centers in combination. This will guarantee that your data will never get into the hands of others you don’t want it in.

We invite you to get started today with Subutai and Conquer the Cloud.

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Read OptDyn CEO Jon “maddog” Hall’s post, “CLOUD – obscuring your privacy”