MULTI-REGION VIRTUAL DATA CENTER TEMPLATE
A facility for distributing a template recording a past state of a virtual computing environment is described. The facility accesses a list of physical data centers at which the template is to be available for immediate use to instantiate a new virtual computing environments. The facility causes the template to be stored at each physical data center on the list.
- 1-26. -26. (canceled)
- 27. A method in a computing system for managing the geographic distribution of instances of a template recording a past state of a virtual computing environment, the method comprising:
receiving user input specifying information uniquely identifying a template, among a plurality of templates, to be deleted; and in response to the receiving; identifying a plurality of physical data centers in which a template instance of the specified template is stored, wherein the template instance is a copy of the specified template that was previously created in that physical data center; deleting from each of the identified physical data centers the stored template instance; and updating a data structure storing an association between the specified template and the template instance by removing the association.
- 28. A hardware networking component conveying a user interface data structure, the data structure comprising:
information directing the presentation of a visual indication of a template recording a past state of a virtual computing environment; information directing the presentation of visual indications of each of a plurality of geographic locations; and information directing the presentation of one or more controls usable to select any among the presented visual indications of each of a plurality of geographic locations as geographic locations in which the indicated template is to be maintained, such that, upon receipt, the information comprising the data structure is usable to facilitate specification by a user of geographic locations at which the indicated template is to be maintained.
- 29. A method in a computing system for recording a current state of a virtual computing environment, the method comprising:
presenting a list of existing templates each stored persistently; receiving user input selecting one of the listed existing templates, the selected existing template referring to a first template instance; in response to the receiving, persistently storing a second template instance capturing the current state of the virtual computing environment; and causing the selected template to refer to the second template instance rather than the first template instance.
- View Dependent Claims (30, 31, 32)
- 33. One or more computer memories collectively containing a template instances table data structure, the data structure comprising:
at least one entry, each entry comprising; information identifying a template recording a particular past state of a virtual computing environment, the template comprising a state for each of a plurality of virtual machines specified for the virtual computing environment; and information identifying a physical data center in which an instance of data constituting the identified template has been replicated.
- View Dependent Claims (34, 35, 36)
- 37. A hardware networking component conveying a user interface data structure, the data structure comprising:
information directing the presentation of a list of existing templates each stored persistently; and information directing the presentation of one or more controls usable to select one of the listed existing templates as an existing template that is to be replaced by a new template recording a current state of a virtual computing environment, such that, upon receipt, the information comprising the data structure is usable to facilitate specification by a user of an existing template that is to be replaced by a new template recording a current state of the virtual computing environment.
- 38. One or more computer memories collectively storing contents configured to cause a computing system to perform a method for recording a current state of a virtual computing environment, the method comprising:
accessing an indication of an existing template stored persistently; and persistently storing a distinguished template capturing the current state of the virtual computing environment in place of the indicated existing template.
- 39. One or more computer memories collectively containing a reference data structure, the data structure comprising:
a reference to a persistently stored first template recording a first state of a first virtual computing environment, such that, up to a time when the first template is replaced with a second template recording a second state of a second computing environment, the reference refers to the to the first template and can be used to instantiate a new virtual computing environment based on the first template, and such that, after the time when the first template is replaced with the second template, the reference refers to the second template and can be used to instantiate a new virtual computing environment based on the second template.
- View Dependent Claims (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46)
This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/078,367 entitled “MULTI-REGION VIRTUAL DATA CENTER TEMPLATE,” filed on Nov. 11, 2014, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
Some virtual computing embodiments make use of environments. An environment is a virtual workspace, or “virtual data center,” that contains virtual infrastructure such as one or more virtual machines (VM), one or more networks, network connections, and one or more computational services. An environment also defines how VMs reach the public Internet, corporate data centers via VPN, and/or computational services external to the environment. Environments are used to contain and execute software applications. A typical example is a hotel reservation system. An environment may be running, suspended, stopped, or powered off. The exact state of an environment can be saved as a template. A template is a read-only definition of a complete virtual data center and includes the virtual infrastructure, computational services, applications state, and connections to external resources. Templates may be simple, containing only a single VM, or quite complex, containing hundreds of VMs spanning multiple networks. An environment can be instantiated from a template. Instantiating an environment from a template typically involves selecting one of a number of different physical data centers in which the template is to be instantiated as an environment. For instantiation in a remote data center selection, data constituting the template is copied from wherever it resides to the selected physical data center as part of the instantiation process.
The inventors have recognized that conventional processes for instantiating an environment from a template suffer from unwelcome latency that results from the time required to copy the data constituting the template across significant geographic distances to the physical data center where the environment is instantiated. As the number of templates and desired locations increase, these problems become more acute.
Accordingly, the inventors have conceived and reduced to practice a software and/or hardware facility (“the facility”) that maintains the data making up a template simultaneously at multiple selected physical data centers. This allows an environment to be quickly instantiated from a single template at any of these physical data centers, without having to incur the time cost of copying the template data at the time of environment instantiation.
In some embodiments, the facility provides a user interface that a user may use to specify for the template, from among a list of available physical data centers, those in which instances of the template should be immediately available to quickly instantiate the environment represented by the template. These copies at each of multiple data centers are referred to herein as “instances” of the template.
In some embodiments, the template remains monolithic, in that a single template reference refers to the template and all of its distributed instances. In such embodiments, the template and all of its distributed instances can be deleted or updated with a single operation performed with respect to the template.
In some embodiments, the facility enables a user to replace an existing template with a new template based upon the state of an environment. After doing so, references that formerly pointed to the original template point to the new template. In some embodiments, the facility provides a user interface that the user may use in order to identify the existing template that is to be saved over, and the environment from whose state the new template is to be generated (i.e., whose state is to be reflected by the replacement template).
In some embodiments, in the facility'"'"'s replication of a template instance between data centers, the facility identifies in the template instance being replicated one or more region-specific resources; these are resources that are usable in the context of one or more geographic regions, but not usable in others. For example, in some embodiments, an environment, and correspondingly a template created from that environment and its instances, can make a particular virtual machine of the environment accessible via the Internet at a particular IP address. Because Internet-valid IP addresses are assigned in distinct blocks by regional authorities, an external IP address assigned to a virtual machine that is part of an environment instantiated at a first center is often not usable to connect to the corresponding virtual machine at a different data center. Some additional types of resources are region-specific based on their reliance on an external IP address, including resources such as VPN tunnels to connect a virtual machine, via its external IP address, securely to an external network node; and instances Inter-Environment Network Routing to connect a virtual machine, via its external IP address, to a virtual machine of a different environment. When the facility identifies one or more such regional-specific resources in a template instance being replicated to a different data center, in the new template instance, the facility substitutes for each region-specific resource a corresponding region-specific resource that can be used in the target data center for the for the new template instance. In various embodiments, in performing this substitution, the facility selects from a pool of external IP addresses or region-specific resources of other types available at the target data center. In some embodiments, this is done automatically by the facility; in some embodiments, this is done by the facility based on user input to select the IP addresses.
By performing in some or all of the manners described above, the facility makes the use of templates in a virtual computing environment-such as a distributed virtual computing environment-more useful.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the steps shown in
For example, the user may operate control 1011 in order to cause an environment to be instantiated from the selected template in the Beijing data center.
In step 1206, where the user has specified to store the environment to be saved in place of an existing template, the facility displays a list of the existing templates.
In the figures discussed above, data centers in which templates may be stored and environments instantiated are identified based upon textual names for the cities in which they are located or near which they are located. In various embodiments, the facility identifies data centers in a variety of other ways, such as counties, states, countries, continents, or other types of geographic regions in which they are located. In various embodiments, the data centers are identified by showing their locations on a map, or by showing on a map regions containing the data centers.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the above-described facility may be straightforwardly adapted or extended in various ways. While the foregoing description makes reference to particular embodiments, the scope of the invention is defined solely by the claims that follow and the elements recited therein.