Release Notes

January 2017

Added Auto-discover AWS EC2 and CenturyLink Cloud VM instances

With this new capability users can now import existing brown-field instances in AWS & CenturyLink Cloud into Elasticbox and start managing them from within ElasticBox. Users can leverage the lifecycle management capability and bindings on these imported instances.

Added Organization and Workspace Federation

For customers who have multiple “organizations” in ElasticBox either to represent different business units or different geographical separate entities within their Company, workspaces can now be shared between those “organizations”. This allows you to get help and collaborate with different organizations on specific workspaces.

This results in resources sharing between organizations in a transparent manner. It is also possible to add administrators of other organization to your federated one, so they can provide support and do maintenance operations on your resources, without the need of sharing credentials, and maintaining all the traceability and control over your resources.

Added Scope Switcher

This new feature makes it easier for administrators to access all the resources of their organization using the same interface to access their personal or team resources, offering a much more simple approach in managing the organization.

This switcher allows you to change your scope from Organizations, Workspaces, or Cost Centers, to control and manage specific resources, making it easier to find and filter the items you want to monitor or administer.

Added New Roles for Workspace users

We have introduced new roles for Workspace users. They can have one of the following roles: Administrator, Author, User or Visitor. Settings page is where administrators can manage users and their roles.

Improved Cost Centers

Cost centers have been improved to provide more flexibility and customization options. They are now a required component when creating a workspace, helping cost center and organization users to view the instance and cost details across all workspaces that are part of the cost center.

We have added a new filter on Instances tab, that allow users to search Instances by Cost Center. In addition, more endpoints have been added to our API to be able to manage the new Cost Centers functionalities.

Improved Organization settings

We moved the "Admin Console" to the Settings tab in the Organization view, which we believe is more intuitive at the time of locating and using it. What is more, you can now add an LDAP group (or groups) as administrators of your organization, in order to maintain the access and permissions updated in a smoothly manner.

Improved User Experience and Interface Improvement

We have worked hard to improve user experience and increase the overall performance of ElasticBox. Navigating through and across the different scopes and options of the portal is faster and enhanced.

Improved Microsoft Azure CSP Account

Existing CenturyLink Cloud customers can now get a Microsoft Azure account under CenturyLink Reseller Agreement by just signing up from ElasticBox. When creating a new Provider, select Azure Resource Manager Provider and click on “Create a new Azure Customer Account”. In order to sign up a new Azure account, users should have a CenturyLink Cloud account and need to be an Administrator of that account.

October 2016

Improved Bring your own infrastructure Improved

Before this significant improvement, Bring your own infrastructure was only supported to set values to principal boxes variables. We have now added support for nested variables.

Improved AWS provider enriched

New placement groups can be added to AWS.

Added LCE

Now you can add, remove and reset variables also from LCE.

You can now add events and variables to an instance box, and also reset or delete the variables from LCE.

Improved LCE Text Files detection

This useful tool helps editing text file type as its format detection has been boost.

Added Enable script execution from LCE

You can now execute code for testing within LCE, making it simpler for developers to debug their own scripts.

Improved AWS provider

There is an available option to Add New cloudformation types for AWS provider.

September 2016

Improved Improved User Interface

Elasticbox UI has been optimized to reduce the number of API calls to show updated information of instances, boxes and providers.

Improved websockets reliability.

Added Box Clone Feature

It is now possible to clone boxes from one workspace to another, by simply using Box Clone feature. This can be accessed by clicking on the gear icon located at the top of the Box icon.

Added LCEv2

This new feature brings many fresh capabilities:

Added LCE Single script execution

This feature let users execute a single event script from LCE for debug, testing or patching purposes.

Improved Force Terminate Option in LCE

Force Terminate option is now available for all instances states to let users destroy instances with provisioning issues.

Added Pull Box draft from LCE

Now It is possible to obtain the draft of a box from LCE.

Added Add/delete event scripts to instances boxes within LCE

From now on, users can add/delete event scripts to instances boxes within LCE, without the need of creating a new version and pull it from LCE.

Improved CLC Provider Enriched

Significant improvements have impact on CLC provider this month:

Improved Jinja2 templating variables

From now on you can also use in your jinja templates. This is quite useful, for example, to check how the operation is being executed and change the behavior of your event scripts based on it.

What is more, we have added the claims to the instance so you can access them using syntax on your event scripts.

Improved SoftLayer Provider Enriched

It is now possible to deploy in Softlayer using templates that do not have Python installed previously.

August 2016

Improved Automatic Policy Box deletion when removing provider

From now on, when deleting a provider, it is possible to delete all policy boxes related to it. This enhancement greatly speeds up the task of removing a provider as you do not need to search and delete the boxes related to the provider beforehand. Clicking on "Delete Provider" does it automatically for you.

Improved UI Stability bolstered up

During this season we have focused our efforts on improving Websockets stability in order to enable browsers to open a bidirectional, full-duplex communication channel with services smooth as possible.

Improved CLC enhanced support

Last July we added CenturyLink Cloud as a provider. Since then we added support to CLC Bare Metal and Horizontal Scaling. Moreover we Increased API call retries and we also included better error handling and synced template capabilities for each datacenter.

Improved Enriched Lifecycle Editor (LCE)

Lifecycle Editor has experienced significant changes and additions lately.

We have added the following tools and capabilities: open scripts from operation logs, push as draft from LCE and allowance to push for authorized users, Overridden Variable Indication, tip to update box variable when a new version is available, warning message for draft boxes modified and not versioned when creating a new version in a parent box. What is more, users can now open LCE from instance page when clicking on the script.

Moreover, we increased prominence of file variable, and removed “latest” from version combo option in the variable editor, that is now configured to select latest version by default.

Added Azure Resource Manager (ARM) support

Azure Resource Manager instances support all the Azure features, plus exclusive ElasticBox features as bindings, automatic reconfiguration, lifecycle management, etc. You can edit an already deployed template and re-configure it to update the resources already deployed.

It provides several benefits such as security, auditing, and tagging features to help you manage your resources after deployment.

July 2016

Added Login with SAML authentication

Apart from Google and Github, users can now login and access ElasticBox platform in a more secure way, through SAML protocol. Privacy is conveniently re-inforced as well as efficiency, as company administrators can easily maintain users records up to date, managing a single database.

Added CLC Support Added

CenturyLink Cloud has been added as a provider. You can pick this option from the dropdown list on providers Menu. As a highlight, this provider skips datacenters without available network, and provides a better error handling.

Improved Improved Lifecycle Editor

LCE has been totally re-factorized with new styles and better performance. Functionalities now include improved visualization with animations, additional instance details clicking on root box in the tree, and an alert when user closes unsaved modified variables.

May 2016

Improved LDAP Support

We have certainly improved LDAP Support, that offers users a renewed UI, as well as a new functionality: Groups filter and support for posixGroups. We’ve added a capability that allows you to specify a query for filtering your groups. This allows you to quickly identify and manage only the groups you need at any given point in time.

To make it more clear, before all groups must be of the objectClass: group, groupOfNames or groupOfUniqueNames. The membership of the user in those groups was checked by the member or uniqueMember attribute. Now, we also support posixGroups and with them using the attribute memberUid.

Improved Custom Automatic Reconfiguration

You are probably already familiar with Automatic Reconfiguration, a tool that maintains your instance bindings, allowing for more dynamic and complex applications that won’t require manual intervention.

However, sometimes it might be useful to disable the automatic reconfiguration. If you are operating some instances on a cluster, you might want to pause the automatic reconfigurations until you have finished with the changes. For this type of cases, we have added the Custom Automatic Reconfiguration. It adds an option to enable and disable the automatic reconfiguration per instance based on your needs.

Added Workspaces Search

We are happy to introduce Workspaces Search feature which makes it easier for users to find specific workspaces. If you have more than 20 different workspaces, you will have the chance to execute searches by filtering by name, saving time and effort, to get there faster.

April 2016

Improved UI Performance Improvement

We added new graphical components and websockets to our UI, in order to make the interface faster, smoother and more compelling than before.

Adjustments made have improved the application performance, reduced bandwidth consuming and resulted in a higher interface agility and lightness.

March 2016

Added Machines Easy-naming

We have improved our naming processes for new instances to help with discovery of various applications and components that have been deployed. We understand that creating numerous virtual machines from the providers can cause confusion. Thus, we now provide an auto-naming capability and pre-populate the name of an instance once you start to configure your deployment process. This way it becomes easier to find the right machines when you need them.

For example if you launch a new instance of mongodb-staging-eu2, ElasticBox will automatically enter the name as mongodb-staging-eu2-eb-rqbpg-1.

For existing deployments, prior to this update, old instances will not be affected and your new instances moving forward will be easier to find in the provider.

Improved Improved Template management in vSphere

Failures and errors in vSphere VM templates can now be detected within ElasticBox. This allows users to manage the workflow and identify issues with infrastructure provisioning and the impact to applications and instances that are going to be deployed.

Added Clone Option

It is now possible to clone a single component or full application.This can be found in the instances menu on the right. By clicking the “Settings” icon (gear shaped icon) where other actions such as reinstall, reconfigure, terminate or edit, are included, “Clone” is located second from the bottom. This is very helpful for migration and scaling scenarios. This simplified capability lets you select one component or application and change the policy requirements, so that the new application is deployed to a different infrastructure or cloud.

Added Smart requirements suggestions for Application Boxes

Next time you create or clone an application box, suggested requirements will be dynamically generated based on the available or current claims based on the policies your workspace. This guarantees deployment success and maximum efficiency.

Improved Application Boxes tagging

Launching new applications is even better now! A new tag is automatically generated to assure that the new application deployed is differentiated from any other existing application in the same workspace, avoiding time loss. You are also able to modify the recommended tag and provide even more differentiation for your team.

Improved Improved performance and compatibility with LDAP and Active Directory

Synchronization of the LDAP group is enhanced. Managing permissions and authorization within workspaces now supports larger Active Directory implementations for LDAP databases.

Improved Config command for admin boxes

Admin boxes empowers IT operations to easily automate repeatable tasks like setting up dev, test, and staging environments for developers. We have now improved its functionality, by adding the support for Elasticbox config command.

Improved Smart binding tags selector

Every time you define or change an application topology, you will find smart suggestions on the bindings as tags which is based on the available boxes of that specific application and workspace. This ensures the successful completion of the deploying process.

February 2016

Added Support for Kubernetes

As ElasticBox supports Docker containers along with the provisioning and deployment of containerized applications; a few months ago, we added Amazon ECS container support.

Today, Kubernetes from GCE are now Supported as a deployment target, which means that ElasticBox enables you to build your applications and package them to be deployed on the Google Kubernetes platform. This expands the deployment options for customers who aspire for a wide range of applications that can be packaged into a container and managed on ElasticBox. Users will still leverage their existing code repositories and Docker container images but now the Google Kubernetes platform can be presented as yet another destination for your applications - enabled through ElasticBox.

Added Public Application Boxes

With the release of the Public Boxes back in October-2015, we are now enabling users to leverage our curated Application Boxes that combine all the components and microservices such as: Frontend modules, databases, middle-tier application services, load balancers, and more. Like any other box, they can be modeled and deployed with a modern interactive live application viewer as well.

Now that we have made them public via the Explore page, you can present your own infrastructure configuration and deploy them based on your corporate IT policies. To start off, we are providing 2 distinct application boxes - a SharePoint farm and a JBOSS application. Over time, we will continue to build out our pre-defined catalog.

January 2016

Improved Extended support for Openstack

Through continuing to expand our support capabilities for more cloud providers, OpenStack received the following enhancements: it now supports Keystone v3 without domains on OpenStack and it also supports Cinder v2. We also improved detection on providers without Cinder support.

Improved Enhanced support for Google Compute Engine (GCE)

This release includes Google Compute Engine (GCE) support, such as: new autoscaling support, Windows instances support and a new functionality that allow users to select boot disk size, based on their needs.

Improved Native containers support: no command lines required to deploy

This release now enables containers to be provisioned natively in the ElasticBox UI. This allows users to deploy any box without executing a command line tool, a container-less box deployment in ECS.

Improved Full variables settings and name suggestions for Application Boxes

Application boxes have been improved. Up to this point, you could only add boxes but no custom variables could be set. In this release, you can add boxes and define any variables needed.

Another important improvement related to application boxes is name suggestion. ElasticBox automatically names application deployments in order to prevent duplicates while allowing you to modify any of the naming patterns based on your requirements.

Lastly, when deploying an instance you can select the application that it belongs to.

Improved AWS: new CloudFormation and additional support region

As we continue to expand our Amazon Web Services support, we now support the Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region.

Moreover, for all AWS users, we have added new functionality that allows you to add new CloudFormation types.

Added Discover Live Viewer: dynamic real-time instances visualization

The latest new feature shows how application instances are organized and binded together. This is called the Live Viewer.

It improves how components are listed in the instances view by grouping instances together and making it easier for users to discover their dependencies. Now, you can execute or terminate all the instances grouped together at the same time, with a single-click.

Moreover, it provides a dynamic real-time graphical view, to quickly see the bindings between instances and their current status. This is dynamic, because it automatically updates the state of the instances, showing all stages of their lifecycles.

December 2015

Added Design with style, discover Icon Picker

It was never that easy to create colorful, shiny and appealing icons! Go beyond when customizing your boxes icons! We now hand in the necessary tools for you to do it.

Go to boxes menu and give it a go!

You can customize border and background colours, amongst others. This means that you can continue choosing and uploading your own icon, and make the necessary tweaks to make it look stylish and suitable.

Improved Automatic volume management in Openstack

ElasticBox now provides support for domains on Openstack and improved compatibility with Zerostack.

In addition, we have added a new functionality: automatic deletion of block volumes on terminate. You no longer have to take care of it! Focus on what is important and let us improve your user experience.

Improved Google Compute Engine (GCE) extended support

ElasticBox now added support for SSD disks and enhanced support for disk images.

Improved Team Workspaces deployment enabled

Deployments can now be done in team workspaces, instead of only individual workspaces. Experience more comfort while deploying applications, as we always say, deploy anytime anywhere!!

Improved Public Boxes templates updated

Syntax was updated from Velocity to Jinja2.

Not long ago, we used Velocity when configuring an application deployment in a box, defining its deployment parameters as variables.

Those days are over. We now use Jinja2 to execute variables during a deployment. They need to be referenced in the configuration event scripts following the Jinja2 syntax. This is the new templating language in Python we follow for the variable syntax conventions.

November 2015

Added Application box topology graph

You are probably already familiar with application boxes, smart boxes that prevent errors and save time when deploying applications. They allow you to define topology, add boxes and bindings, and choose the variables for each one: name, version, tags, policy, etc in only a few minutes.

But what is really breathtaking is the new application box visualisation feature. With a single click, you can get to know the topology of the boxes and the relationship between the nodes through their bindings. It is specially useful for those complex applications where several boxes and nodes are included. Give more transparency to your deploying processes, scale and move in an infinite canvas.

Added Cloudformation Policies

ElasticBox works with the AWS CloudFormation API to provision the stack in your AWS account. The CloudFormation box consists mainly of a template where you describe all the AWS resources you need to run your application.

New Cloudformation policies allows you to assign permissions to the instances deployed with it and let you define the actions, resources and effects. It consists of one or more statements, each of which describes one set of permissions.

Multiple permissions can be granted at the same time, and you can put them in separate policies, or you can put them all in one policy.

Added Support for cloudformation boxes within application boxes

From today, you can add CloudFormation boxes into your Application Boxes, and deploy in a simple and quick manner.

CloudFormation Policies make Application Boxes even more powerful as they can contain CloudFormation boxes, enabling scenarios such as deploying Amazon infrastructure at the same time you deploy your application components.

Added IAM Roles for deployment policies

You can now securely access your AWS resources by creating an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role. Roles can be used to enable applications running on an Amazon EC2 instance.

How does it work? First you need to connect your AWS account in ElasticBox. After that, you create a custom AWS policy and copy - paste permissions. The formula is more than simple: Create IAM role + Register the Role in ElasticBox. Note: If you use ElasticBox as an appliance, connect to your AWS account using the secret and key credentials.

Improved UI and usability improvements

User Interface has experienced some changes this season.

Let’s start with the App Box Interface where the alignment has changed from center position to start for “description” and “owner” field. This last one, has been adjusted and text display is slightly different, but much more appealing.

Another change that deserves to be mentioned is the Application box design. The new version includes object-meta-spacing between the description and the owner, maximizing the clickable area in canvas and adjusting vertical alignment between the description and owner fields.

A tooltip has been added to each node of the application box topology, a message will appear when a cursor is positioned over a node of the Application box graph showing its version and its tag.

Improved New CLI command line tool

Discover a new command available on the event scripts: “Elasticbox Notify”.

As you may know, Elasticbox already reconfigures instances when the topology or the endpoint information changes.

By executing the notify command, you can make sure that all instances that point to that instance will reconfigure with the latest value of that variable. The notification triggers an automatic reconfiguration if needed.

This new available command is specially useful after an Elasticbox Set.

Improved Explore new Boxes Interface

Give a go to the new Boxes Interface, where you will find an “Explore” button, on the left menu that takes you to Elasticbox Public Boxes, once you click on it.

It is now pretty easy to access the box you are looking for and keep your own boxes separated from public boxes.

Improved AWS autoscaling support

Auto Scaling is useful to maintain application availability and also to scale your Amazon EC2 capacity (automatically) up or down according to the conditions you define. It is also a perfect tool to check whether you are running your desired number of Amazon EC2 instances.

What’s new? Now you can select the CloudWatch alarms that will be used to scale up and down and automatically make changes to the number of deployed machines you are monitoring based on rules that you define.

Why is it convenient to use it? First thing that comes to mind is to detect impaired Amazon EC2 instances and unhealthy applications, and replace the instances without your intervention. This ensures that your application is getting the compute capacity that you expect.

Optimal utilization is also assured: It enables you to follow the demand curve for your applications closely, reducing the need to manually provision Amazon EC2 capacity in advance.

October 2015

Improved Box's readme files now supported by EBcli

READMEs explain the structure, purpose, and the way an application works and what it requires for a successful deployment. They give developers, QA, and DevOps just the context they need to kickstart deployments.

For that reason we decided to give them a greater voice and have them supported by EBcli. We want them to be right at the scene of action.

We are fully convinced that every deployment can succeed when it follows structured processes and best practices.

Added One click deployments with application box

Application boxes are born as a way to cut back and simplify several instances deployment.

Looking for a timewise manner to deploy your applications?

These smart boxes can make it real. In just a few minutes, you can get to define your topology, add as many boxes as needed and choose the main characteristics for each one: name, version, tags, policy, etc.

At this stage is when it gets better and better: only one click is what brings magic alive, all your applications are deployed at the same time.

Added Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS)

Due to their reliability, and the sense of freedom they provide, containers are becoming more and more popular. They operate as an isolated process in userspace on the host operating system, wrapping up a piece of software in a complete filesystem that contains everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries – anything you can install on a server.

Thanks to their proven usefulness, we have worked on container deployments enhancing them in more ways than one. We are now ready to announce that we provide support to Amazon EC2 Container Service and we are also now all set to deploy. To start, create an Amazon EC2 Container Service Deployment Policy box. To continue, build the image, push it to the Docker registry and attach it to the box. To finish, just deploy, et Voilá!

What are the advantages to deploying containers through ElasticBox?

First of all, flexibility comes to mind. Deploy to AWS ECS or EC2 from a Dockerfile or a box, and run applications in either VMs or containers. When you configure once, a box can run anywhere. Another advantage is without any doubt, visibility. Forget the black box. You can improve, update, and debug easily because interconnected container services are available in the box and instance lifecycle editor to review and correct their configuration. Last but not least, communication is clearly enhanced. Bindings simplify container service connections because they automatically detect dependent services through matching tags. And not just between containers alone but also across containers and VMs.

Added Discover automatic reconfiguration for Bindings

We have heard about Bindings a long time ago. What we know about them is that they can enable components of large-scale, multi-tier applications to interconnect in a virtual cloud deployment that can span hybrid clouds.

What we are announcing right now is a superpower they have just acquired: automatic reconfiguration.

Bindings are calculated after any install event and before the reconfiguration At that point all the matching instances are saved and will be available in the different events. In order to keep the bindings up to date it is necessary to reconfigure the instances to update the bindings and all configuration scripts and files.

From now on, ElasticBox automatically reconfigures any instances that require it after changes occur in the workspace, and also takes care of the update of the target instance list in each binding as well as their IP information.

Added Creation of Docker images with EBcli

Now, EBcli can create docker images for testing or to work with the AWS ECS service. With EBcli you can use any box to create a docker image locally. The docker image will run the box once deployed and can be parametrized as usual via configure and start scripts. This allows running boxes locally via containers, perfect for development and testing.

This is the perfect companion to the Amazon ECS support, which allows to attach a container image to a box version and deploy it in Amazon. More flexibility for you and your boxes!

Improved Better default policies for Rackspace

We have just improved usability creating better default deployment policies for Rackspace providers. In order to make it more agile, we take into account the private and public available networks to create default deployment policies with a proper parameters combination.

We automatically generate deployment policies for a registered Rackspace account in ElasticBox.

These policies let IT Ops allocate and share virtual infrastructure resources with developers without compromising the security of the cloud account.

Added Support for storage volumes to Rackspace provider

We have news regarding Rackspace! You can now add storage volumes to your instances.

This means that when you create a new deployment policy in ElasticBox, you just need to add the new volumes with the size that you desire and attach them to your instances at deployment time.

What will happen next time you want to launch it, is that a new ElasticBox instance will create and attach those defined volumes.

Added Multiple network support for Openstack and RackSpace providers

If you deploy workloads to Rackspace Cloud, you can automatically provision or de-provision and run a sequence of commands and workflows to manage modules and applications remotely from ElasticBox.

On the contrary, If OpenStack is implemented at your end, you can use ElasticBox to automatically launch configured application instances from boxes onto the cloud.

What you can do for both of them now is adding multiple networks.

This is how it works: When creating a new deployment policy in ElasticBox select from the checkbox the network or multiple networks that you want to to connect with. Next time you launch a new instance, it will be connected to those multiple networks.

Improved Deploy to AWS

We have improved usability creating better default deployment policies for AWS taking into account the supported platform in order to select the proper flavours.

We automatically generate deployment policies for a registered AWS account in ElasticBox.

These policies let IT Ops allocate and share virtual infrastructure resources with developers without compromising the security of the cloud account.

Added Public Boxes: Explore and share as never before

This time we bring you freely available public boxes.

By making these boxes publically referenceable for the DevOps community, they can now search and find references to popular application stacks, discover boxes, share and follow updates.

Public boxes are reference boxes that represent some of the most popular applications and tools for orchestrating deployments at scale. This community was created with the purpose of finding best practices for deploying the most popular applications.

Advantages? We could name many, but amongst other things it makes successful deploys predictable through reuse, speeds up deployments, staging and production environments, integrates deployment-as-a-service with the user’s suite of automation tools.

August 2015

Improved Tagged bindings for large scale deployments

You may already know that Elasticbox provides bindings as a way to associate components or services of multi-tier applications, load balancing pools, and clusters. Bindings automate communication between instances over the network.

Distributed applications commonly lack a clear application boundary, which makes it painful to manage their lifecycle uniformly. Loosely coupled lifecycles, as well as multiple interdependencies between components means managing their lifecycles is even more of a challenge.

Now with tagged bindings, you can dynamically connect services across one or many that match binding tags. Tagged bindings simplify large scale deployments.

July 2015

Added Placement groups and IAM roles for richer EC2 instance automation

Both the IAM role and placement group options are now available through ElasticBox for AWS EC2 deployments. IAM roles allow instances to handle API requests based on permissions defined by the role. Placement groups cluster instances for high-bandwidth network performance. To take advantage of either option, first update the policy permissions for the ElasticBox IAM user role in AWS. Next, sync the AWS provider in ElasticBox, and finally add the settings to your AWS deployment policy.

Improved Instance endpoints render accurately

A newly provisioned instance may or may not have public and private IP address endpoints. In the event that one or both are unavailable, the Instance Endpoint tab in ElasticBox will show empty. Similarly, the system variables for addresses such as address.public and address.private will return None as the value when there are no available IP endpoints. As a result of this change, note that you may need to manage address variable references appropriately in event scripts.

June 2015

Added Deployment policies make infrastructure metadata reusable

Now policies are boxes too. They let you share virtual infrastructure resources from a provider like AWS without directly sharing your AWS account. Since they’re boxes, you can share a policy with specific team workspaces or users and limit their infrastructure resource consumption. Policies are reusable across multiple box deployments. They have claims that let you tag virtual machine properties by platform, instance type, OS family, and so on. To deploy a box, simply attach a policy.

Improved Script boxes automate builds for repeatability

In general, automation goes into script boxes. And as before, variables and event scripts store automation. We switched up the events a bit. The install replaces post and a "pre" event replaces the old install. A "pre" event is one that runs before child box events within a lifecycle category. Script boxes have requirements, which are tags to identify the platform, runtime, and infrastructure dependencies of the box. At deploy time, box requirements must match policy claims to consume the right infrastructure resources.

Added Semantic versioning allows auto updates

Box versioning itself is not new. It lets you maintain different variants of automation within the same box. Well now, we enhanced boxes with semantic versioning and automatic updates. Major, minor, and patch semantics denote a box version.

To automatically push changes to instances, at deploy time or later, choose whether to apply all updates, minor and patch, or only patch updates. Can you update instances after deploying? Sure, just cherry-pick the updates you want from the Instances page.

Improved UI is more useful and responsive

A rich user interface is visible soon as you login. In the Instances, Boxes, Providers page you can quickly look up an item by a name search. Moreover, tags let you sort and find items quickly. Locate registered providers easily by cloud, for example, or discover instances by their state.

Added Box READMEs power true collaboration

Every box has an overview that contains a README. The README allows you to describe your box and explain how it works to others. It follows the Standard Markdown syntax, which is easy to write. Collaboration is much more effective with a README. Give it a try!

Added vCloud Air and vCloud Director expand VMware deployment options

If vCloud Air or vCloud Director host workloads in your environments, connect them in ElasticBox for complete workload automation to VMware as well as other clouds. To get started, connect a vCloud Air or a vCloud Director organization in ElasticBox as a provider. Then create a deployment policy to capture the metadata for Linux and Windows deployments. At deploy time through the vCloud Air or vCloud Director provider, ElasticBox auto provisions vApps, one template per VM, and orchestrates automation from boxes using the ElasticBox agent.

Improved Cost center reporting gets powerful

We expanded reporting to many more clouds. Besides AWS, Google Compute, and Azure, you can now track resource consumption for IBM SoftLayer, VMware vCloud Director, and your private cloud in vSphere vCenter.

Cost centers help you put budget controls in place. When you create a cost center to monitor team spending, you can set their monthly quota by a dollar amount. Once users in the team workspace hit that limit, new deployments automatically come to a halt. Cost center management gives you greater control to apply resource budgets by teams.

Improved CloudFormation boxes offer AWS RDS services

A CloudFormation box type is not just for AWS CloudFormation templates. It can also define managed AWS services like RDS database services, DynamoDB, Memcached, and S3 bucket. Note that CloudFormation boxes are special. They don't require deployment policies as they directly consume infrastructure as code.

Improved Containers enable integrated Dockerfile deployments

The container is a new box type. It lets you define microservices as Dockerfiles in containers. You can link together containers through bindings to launch fully connected applications.

Improved ElasticBox Jenkins plugin is fully enhanced

All these latest ElasticBox enhancements are also available through our Jenkins plugin, which integrates with your version control system for end-to-end lifecycle automation. Reach out to us if you'd like to try the plugin today.

May 2015

Improved Don't worry about the schema

Most ElasticBox API requests require a schema, which is now a static URI like this example: "schema":"". Say you provide older schema such as this instead: Your API calls won't break because ElasticBox now points your data to the new static schema URI.

April 2015

Improved Exercise greater control over vCenter Server deployments

Make vCenter deployments more precise. Next time you deploy, check out the vSphere deployment profile that stores the infrastructure metadata. It shows the hosts, clusters, vApp, resource pools, and datastores for each datacenter. It lets you choose exactly where in the vCenter Server you wish to place the VM and from where to consume resources like CPU, memory, and storage.

Improved Give LDAP groups automatic access to deployment assets

You already have single sign-on with OpenLDAP or Windows Active Directory. Now you can sync LDAP groups to give ready access to deployment assets.

First connect your LDAP service in ElasticBox then sync with the groups. After that, any member of your ElasticBox organization can search and add the groups to team workspaces. Instead of looking them up one by one, they can share deployment assets with groups of users. That means developers, QA, IT operations teams can collaborate on automation together, see each others' changes, and contribute at their level of expertise.

February 2015

Added Deploy faster with the new ElasticBox agent

In recent months, your resounding feedback led us to improve the ElasticBox Agent, which is the software that runs on every instance you launch from ElasticBox. It's the piece that manages the boxes you deploy on virtual machines.

As before, but only better, the agent works with any OS platform. It's built to consume the least amount of machine resources to allow faster deployments and faster lifecycle operations. Plus it communicates more reliably with ElasticBox.

Here's the best part. The agent uses WebSocket protocol to communicate. This helps navigate messages smoothly through a matrix of firewalls. Overall, the agent runs much more efficiently because its state is not coupled closely to the instance. It also cuts down the amount of UserData we pass to the CloudFormation template, which means you can launch a greater number of instances at once in AWS.

We upgrade the instances to the latest agent automatically and take care not to affect active instances. However, it's possible for an instance to get stuck when you trigger an operation. If it does, you can manually upgrade the agent. See the help for details.

Added Run ElasticBox on-premise on OpenStack

Do your IT infrastructure and services run on OpenStack? Did you know you can automate workloads deployments through ElasticBox on-premise? ElasticBox can run as a virtual appliance on your OpenStack private cloud. Walk through the install in this short video.

Added Track scheduled instances over email

Instance notifications help you track scheduled instances that save on compute costs. When instances are scheduled to expire in a days' time, we send you an email letting you know of those instances. You can follow the instance links in the email and change the schedule if you like.

Added Launch to any AWS region including Frankfurt

AWS recently expanded infrastructure services to the European Frankfurt region or eu-central-1. We reflect support for AWS services in that region as well.

Added Deploy to EC2 with any volume type and EBS-optimize them

Deploying workloads to AWS just got smoother. When setting up AWS EC2 deployments, you can add extra volumes and EBS-optimize them for dedicated I/O between the instances and the volumes. In addition to the Provisioned IOPS type, you can add volumes that are General Purpose (SSD) or Magnetic (standard). Once you add the volumes and save the deployment profile, we create and attach them to the instance in AWS.

January 2015

Added Deploy to AWS GovCloud through ElasticBox

AWS GovCloud is an isolated region where you can deploy workloads containing sensitive data. ElasticBox automates application workloads, so they can provision and deploy in a quick and replicable fashion. Let ElasticBox provision VMs, handle their lifecycle, and remotely execute workload deployments from boxes on to GovCloud instances.

To get started, sign up for a GovCloud account with AWS. Create an ElasticBox IAM role and give it 3rd party access. Then, register the IAM role ARN in ElasticBox to begin deploying to GovCloud.

Added Fully automate CI/CD with GitHub and the ElasticBox Jenkins Plugin

We have good news if GitHub is your source control management. You can fully automate CI/CD with the ElasticBox Jenkins and Git plugins. The ElasticBox plugin manages the lifecycle of Git pull requests without relying on the GitHub pull request builder, which needs a Git expert to configure.

When you check the ElasticBox GitHub Pull Request Lifecycle Management option in a job, the plugin triggers it to build every time you submit a new pull request, update it, or enter a trigger phrase. It saves the amount of infrastructure resources the pull request consumes if they launch through ElasticBox. As an example, if you close or merge the pull request, the plugin triggers the job to terminate any associated instances.

Added Add volumes to VMs in OpenStack and HP Cloud

In OpenStack and HP Cloud, you can add storage volumes provided you've enabled Object Storage services for the cloud account. Choose an image boot disk and extra storage either ephemeral or persistent via the deployment profile in ElasticBox when you launch a new instance.

Added Launch applications in Azure VM images

If deploying to Azure, you can now select VM images that are generalized or specialized for Linux or Windows deployments. As long as these images have clount-init, and you sync the Azure account in ElasticBox, you can select them in the Azure deployment profile when deploying.

Added Install Docker configurations in more Linux distributions

Launch applications or workloads in Docker containers with even more options because you can choose from more Linux distributions. Supported distributions include Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 13.10, Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu 12.10, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 or later, and Fedora.

Improved Enable JavaScript to access ElasticBox on your browser

Did you know you have to enable JavaScript on your browser to use ElasticBox? If not, some elements of the user interface won't work or render properly. We support ElasticBox on all the latest Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and IE browsers.

Improved Administer ElasticBox much faster

Over the last weeks, we improved the speed and responsiveness of the Admin Console thanks to your feedback. The Admin Console lets you administer all the ElasticBox users and deployment assets for your organization in one place. You will find that the console is way more responsive and fast letting you manage users, assets, and monitor usage quickly.

December 2014

Added Deploy to Rackspace and HP Cloud

Rackspace and HP Cloud join the list of the many public clouds you can deploy to though ElasticBox. As with other clouds, provision, de-provision and manage the lifecycle of the VMs and applications that run on them through ElasticBox.

We orchestrate deployments on Linux servers in HP Cloud and Rackspace through the open source OpenStack Nova Python client.

Added Deploy to SoftLayer through ElasticBox

Thinking of hosting on SoftLayer public cloud? You're in luck because you can do so through ElasticBox. Deploy application workloads automatically in virtual servers on SoftLayer. We've simplified SoftLayer deployment options to help you get up and running quickly in a couple of clicks. Once deployed, you can easily manage instance lifecycle and upgrade your application workloads through box scripts.

Have a SoftLayer account? Register your SoftLayer username and API key in ElasticBox to get started.

November 2014

Added Automate Jenkins jobs with even more build step options

In Jenkins build jobs, schedule instances, set custom wait time, and force terminate instances through ElasticBox build steps. In the deploy build step, you can plan to expire an instance at a future hour or custom time and date to save money and resources in the process.

In the manage build step to terminate an instance, you can force it to terminate by selecting Force terminate.

In either of the ElasticBox build steps, by default, the ElasticBox Jenkins plugin waits 60 minutes before timing out an operation. But you can specify a custom timeout for an operation in minutes if it fails to run in that specified time.

Added Launch VMs in Azure virtual networks without affinity groups

This year, Azure made it easier to use virtual private networks. No longer are they tied to an affinity group. Although, you can still create an affinity group to closely connect your instances to other resources in a region, it's not required. In ElasticBox, we support Azure's recent changes to networking. If your subscription has a virtual network, we automatically detect it in the deployment profile when you sync your provider account. When you deploy to Azure virtual machine, web, or worker roles, you can place those instances in virtual networks without an affinity group.

Added Automatically scale your web or worker role applications in Azure

When applications run on web or worker roles in Azure, you want to meet unexpected bursts in traffic proactively, but at the same time you want to save on operational costs. That's why you enable autoscaling for your role instances. ElasticBox supports scaling instances up or down by monitoring CPU levels. If the usage gets to 80%, a new instance in that role is added. If the usage reaches 60% or lower, instances are scaled back.

Added Lower hosting costs, and better manage resources with the Instance Scheduler

Need to turn off instances when not in the office? Want to reduce hosting costs? Use the instance scheduler. Across any cloud, you can automatically schedule an instance to terminate or shut down at a predetermined date and time.

Added Save money with Cloud Reporting in ElasticBox Enterprise Edition

Cloud Reporting gives you powerful provider reports, price lists, and cost center budgeting in ElasticBox. Provider reports help track compute resource costs and usage trends plus other insights. The pricing list is where you adjust prices of instance types. These prices in turn affect report costs. Here you can set custom or negotiated prices for Linux and Windows compute instance types. Cost Centers is exciting because it lets you budget ahead of time compute resources that teams or projects can collectively consume per month as a cost center. Since reports give a fair estimate of the monthly costs, you can set aside quota for cost centers by giving individual or team workspaces a specific amount to spend per month from select provider accounts.

Added Launch VMs with flexible disk size in vCenter

When you launch a vCenter VM through ElasticBox, you can adjust the template disk size or add up to seven more disks. Each can be about 62 TB, but the size depends on the selected datastore capacity. These additional disks communicate through the same controller as the one in the template.

Improved Deploy and manage better with tags and instance variables in Jenkins CI/CD

Use tags in Jenkins build steps to bind to instances or run lifecycle operations. Tag an instance in the deploy build step with one or more keywords. They can include Jenkins parameters or environment variables in the ${variable_name} format. To identify a particular instance, make sure its tags are unique.

In the deploy build step, you get environment variables for an instance when you enter a name. Based on the name, you generate environment variables for instance ID, URL, service ID, machine name, public and private IP addresses, and tags. This info you can pass on as variables to other build steps or jobs.

October 2014

Improved Automate end-to-end deployment workflows with ElasticBox Jenkins plugin

The ElasticBox Jenkins plugin automates deployments end-to-end by working with Jenkins and your source control management system (SCM). Trigger SCM builds on changesets and have Jenkins work with ElasticBox to launch in development, test, or verify and integrate changes into staging and production. Launch in a specific runtime stack or handle concurrent build jobs using ElasticBox slaves. Deploy multi-tier applications and manage their lifecycle in a single Jenkins build job. Minimize downtime for large-scale instances by adding autoscaling and load balancing features. Try the Jenkins tutorial to see a deployment workflow in action.

September 2014

Improved Be more productive in the new user interface

We've redesigned the ElasticBox user interface to help you accomplish things faster. Now it's easier than ever to access boxes, instances, providers, and perform configuration and deployment tasks related to them. For example, at a glance, you can navigate to what's yours or what others shared with you. At one shot, you can delete multiple instances or sync several providers. So what are you waiting for? Log in and enjoy a unified and efficient experience.

Added Autoscale, load balance virtual machines plus deploy to web and worker roles in Azure

Azure deployments were never more simple or complete. Without requiring that you spend hours to set up each role or install Visual Studio, Azure SDK tools, and more, ElasticBox lets you to deploy in a straightforward way to web and worker roles in addition to the virtual machine role. On top of that, in a couple of clicks you can autoscale and load balance virtual machine deployments while we take care of setting it up for you in Azure. Besides deploying to different roles, also take advantage of spinning up databases using the Azure SQL Database service. Together with support for different roles and the SQL Database service, you can host complex multi-tier applications in Azure. If you have an Azure subscription, add it to your ElasticBox account to begin deploying today.

Added Hide or make variables visible at deploy time

Variables help define an application's deployment in a box. You can now mark them as Internal or Public. Make variables internal when you want to keep certain configuration details private to the box and prevent changes. Internal variables are hidden at deploy time. Bindings can't access them, but parent box scripts can.

Added Reference variables to store and pass strings

There's an easier way to refer to variables and bindings. Bindings help connect to databases, connect CloudFormation boxes, Docker boxes, or pass deployment values between boxes. Rather than pass them through event scripts, you can now directly store them as text expression variables. In these expressions, you can refer to variables or bindings in parent or nested boxes and combine them with strings. Then you can pass text expressions as inputs to other box deployments. Another benefit of text variables is that you can refer to internal variables whose values you don't want to expose to other boxes.

Added Simplify AWS CloudFormation deployments with bindings

Simplify large AWS CloudFormation deployments by breaking them into smaller, manageable CloudFormation boxes that you can connect with bindings. Bindings stitch together complex deployments at deploy time. To pass binding information between CloudFormation boxes, you can store binding references in text expression variables.

Added Connect to the API and CLI securely using tokens

Connect to the ElasticBox API and CLI securely using tokens that never expire. Regardless of the method you use to authenticate to ElasticBox whether that's username, password, Google, GitHub, or LDAP, you can now make API calls and command line requests using tokens. Tokens protect your ElasticBox credentials. You can get up to 50 tokens from your account drop-down under Authentication Tokens by logging in to your ElasticBox website. To invalidate an API call, all you have to do is delete its related token.

August 2014

Added Deploy to Google Cloud

We added Google Cloud to the growing list of popular providers we support. With Google Cloud, you get to deploy high-performance apps to any Linux environment supported by Google Compute.

Improved Apply multiple security groups when you deploy

When you launch an instance now to Google Cloud, AWS, OpenStack, or CloudStack, in the deployment profile, you can select multiple security groups or firewall rules if set up with the provider. When provisioning, we work with the provider APIs to apply all those security groups and firewall rules on the instance.

Added Deploy to latest image sizes

You’ll notice latest image sizes (also known as AMI, machine size, flavor) showing up for providers in the deployment profile. As an example, for AWS, you can deploy to latest instance types like T2, M3, C3, R3, G2, I2, and HS1. Similarly, you’ll see latest machine sizes for Azure (basic and standard) and Google Cloud (f1, g1, and n1 types including standard, high memory and high CPU).

Improved Launch instances with a spiffier instance dialog

We made it easy to add and manage deployment profiles in the instance dialog. You can easily spot which boxes have variables. We also improved the flow to make sure you can deploy successfully. You'll notice that required variables are exposed right upfront, so users know to provide values before they deploy.

Added Deploy to any infrastructure

Run boxes on Linux virtual machines located anywhere using the MyServer Edition. Boxes can run on your laptop, in your private datacenter, in a cloud like AWS, Google Cloud, vSphere, and so on, or run on physical machines onsite.

Improved Bind multi-tier apps with variables

Bindings connect app components spread across boxes on different infrastructure. Now bindings behave like any other variable. For one, you can easily change binding references on live instances. Say for example, you want to switch the current database that your app binds to. That’s easy to do. Just spin up another database instance and point the binding to it.

Improved Deploy successfully with required variables

As a box creator, you can mark variables as required if you want to prompt end users to enter their values before deploying the box. For example, you can make sure users enter values for username and password before deploying a database.

Added Deploy CloudFormation

Use the CloudFormation Service box type to compose, edit, and launch apps written in AWS CloudFormation templates.

Added Deploy Docker

Deploy apps written in Docker files using the Docker service box. Select a box of type Docker Container to compose, edit, and launch apps.

Added Share at a granular level

Control how you share providers, boxes, and instances with others by giving them view, edit, or owner permissions.

Added Control who owns providers, boxes, instances

When people leave a team, the company, or change roles, you can transfer assets they own such as providers, boxes, or instances to another user or team workspace.

Added Get control and insight over users and resources in the Admin Console

As an ElasticBox admin, you can use the admin console to track usage of assets such as providers, boxes, and instances. You can manage settings for everyone else plus manage several assets at one shot using bulk actions.

Added Use Admin Boxes for org-wide deployments

Control deployments at the provider level with admin boxes. Use them to do things like install monitoring agents, ensure that an underlying system is configured in a given way, register virtual machines in a database, or set up common public keys on all machines before making them available to end users.

Added Integrate tests and builds continuously with Jenkins

If you already use Jenkins to test, monitor, and integrate code that devs check in with software source control management systems like GitHub, then ElasticBox is right for you. We recently released a Jenkins CI/CD plugin that takes care of a whole set of steps to automate this process end-to-end.

Added Run the latest appliance in your private datacenter

It’s easier now to install and upgrade the appliance. You can always maintain ElasticBox uptime even during upgrades without rebooting. Plus you can boost storage capacity for your appliance or repair the disk that stores appliance and ElasticBox data by pointing to a new or existing vCenter disk storage.