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Summary of the Main Features

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Main Features of Zetacloud's Cloud OS

Zetacloud's Cloud OS (ZCOS) is an enterprise-grade operating system that has been built on the backs of giants! Being based on Solaris, it's obviously production-ready. It comes pre-loaded with many amazing enterprise-class features that have been tested in production environments for decades. This is a short list of these features, with greater details provided on other pages (links below) highlighting those unique features that deserve a section of their own.

Management UI/API
The Cloud Management Web UI API, which fully supports resource management via scriptable CLI APIs, gives users complete access to the operations of their ZCOS private cloud. The management console is powerful enough to run a complete multi-location private cloud via a UI as well as REST APIs. System administrators can access almost all of the features and functionality of ZCOS, from simple to complex, from a dingle dashboard.

Administrators can provision and manage virtual machines, resource tagging, templates, boot ISOs, backups, DNS, routing, virtual networks, nodes at their and remote locations, virtual servers, systems logs, ACLs for users, groups, roles and resources, and much mode.

This is a very large topic and comprehensive documentation is available in our DC Management section.
We've simplified licensing and IP issues as much as possible so clients do not have to be concerned about issues of licensing, intellectual property or being billed for any hidden fees or charges. Almost all of the ZCOS stack is composed of, or built on open source components or other products that are distributed by the original authors without any monetary licensing requirements. Our Management UI/API is open-source, but it is not free or freely distributable. We've kept it as open source to allow any company to do a complete audit of our software if they so wish.

Clients get a perpetual license to everything that is installed by us on their private cloud server, subject to the terms and conditions of the agreement. Clients will be required to pay a fee to Zetacloud for upgrades, tech support or for the right to alter our source code, so there is no technology lock-in.
Moving from your own IT infrastructure with self-owned hardware to a completely public cloud infrastructure (like Amazon Web Services) allows businesses to move from a CAPEX-heavy, OPEX-light cost structure to a completely OPEX-heavy cost structure. But these public cloud providers are expensive and it's difficult to justify the much higher costs over the long term.

In reality, it's unrealistic to expect clients to be able to move to a purely public cloud setup, because most have resources on the ground, including IT staff, who they cannot simply terminate.

Zetacloud's managed private cloud allows our clients to save significant costs. Our clients now move to a cost structure that is CAPEX-light and OPEX-light. This allows clients to monetise much of their unused hardware, and continue to utilise their people for provisioning value-added services on top of our private cloud infrastructure.
ZCOS uses ZFS for its filesystem. ZFS is a production-grade storage technology that's being used by many clients for the last 20 years. ZFS is a raid manager, volume manager and filesystem in one. ZFS was designed for long-term storage of data, and indefinitely scaled datastore sizes with zero data loss and high configurability. It provides native disk encryption, compression, deduplication, fined graind ACL, rights delegation, and a slew of other features. More details of the most important capabilities ZFS provides to clients are on this page.
The ZCOS networking stack is one of the most flexible, reliable and probably one of the best when it comes to the balance of speed, reliability, virtualization and administration. It's built on top of crossbow and provides all of the features of Solaris network virtualization and resource control stack. This gives our clients unprescedented control over their network, where each VM can have any number of virtual network adapters and be attached to any of the 1000's of virtual networks that can be managed across multi-location cloud set-ups.
Secure Computing
Zetacloud's ZCOS enables many different layers of security to ensure that the default set-up is a restrictive, secure computing environment for clients. This may cause some problems with regard to some of the services they run, but it ensures that there's no gaps in their systems security. See the ZCOS Security-related page for more details.
OS & Virtualization
ZCOS, being based on the same tech stack as Oracle Solaris OS, that's extremely stable, has been used in production for decades, runs some of the biggest data centres and can guarantee 99.9% uptime if configured right.
ZCOS supports three primary types of virtualization, and these use four different technologies.
  • Solaris-native zones and containers
    These VMs deliver bare-metal performance because there's no overheads for running a guest OS. For the virtual machine, they get the advantage of flexible resource allocation (RAM, CPU, etc.) while being securely virtualized.
  • LX Zones for Linux Containers
    These are mainly for running different linux distributions at close to bare-metal performance. Ubuntu, Red Hat, Fedora, etc. all run without issues.
  • KVM Hardware Virtualization Zones & Bhyve
    These types of zones create virtual machines with complete hardware virtualization and therefore impose an overhead penalty on on the performance of the VM. The two technologies are similar, Bhyve is relatively new and gives much better performance.
    Either of these technologies is fully capable of running almost any operating system, including Windows Server, Windows Desktop, any of the Linux distributions, and any of the BSD variants.
Disaster Mgmt
Disaster Management can be split into two primary sections - (a) disaster mitigation and preparation, and (b) disaster recovery. Zetacloud provides numerous options automatically for clients, but the actual mechanisms and strategy to be used will be determined by the clients' disaster recovery protocol. More details are in the Disaster Mgmt summary page.
For monitoring and alerting purposes, Zetacloud uses the Zabbix monitoring system, which has been integrated into ZCOS as a VM. Zabbix is "an open-source monitoring software tool for diverse IT components, including networks, servers, virtual machines and cloud services". Zabbix provides monitoring metrics, among others network utilization, CPU load and disk space.

The Zetacloud environment differentiates between two types of monitoring servers:
  1. The Central Monitoring Server - This manages all the actual hardware nodes, which are the only items requiring hardware monitoring.
  2. Virtual cloud monitoring - These manage the user agents and vitual servers.
Zabbix provides a very powerful suite of monitoring tools for local and remote monitoring of resources, usage metrics, etc. The data collected by Zabbix is analyzed by Zetacloud on a continuous basis to advise clients on improved resource allocation and use. Multiple messaging methods are available via the UI for notifications, alerts and other messaging.
Systems Audit
Zetacloud currently supports complete and thorough logging of all user activity and system performance. Zetacloud already has a system and resource monitoring built into our ZCOS framework, as mentioned above. We also provide a firewall, VPN and intrusion detection and prevention tool that monitors all external access to the system. Clients may also choose to have complete access logs off-loaded to a remote location of their choice so these records are immutable and can always be reviewed by their internal auditors or 3rd party reviewers.