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Getting Started with eApps Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Posted by on 13 October 2015 03:51 PM

Applicable Plans - eApps Platform as a Service (PaaS), powered by Jelastic

Getting Started with eApps Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Overview

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a type of cloud computing that provides an easy to use environment for developing, deploying, running, and managing your applications without the complexity normally associated with doing so. The eApps PaaS is powered by Jelastic, a leader in this category.

Jelastic allows you to easily deploy and configure your application. It also has excellent auto-scaling with a “pay for what you use” billing model. This approach ensures that you do not have to pay for a buffer of computing resources that you do not always need. Jelastic supports the most commonly used programming environments and has a full set of tools to manage the platform. An application library with an extensive list of popular applications is provided. Docker, a popular portable container technology, is also supported.

Jelastic allows you to create a traditional Virtual Private Server with a choice of operating systems, but the power and simplicity of the platform is unleashed with the use of application “environments.” These environments are designed to run a single application (WordPress, Drupal, Tomcat, WildFly, etc.). This approach makes it easy to deploy, configure, run, and administer your application.

eApps offers a 14 day trial in a production grade environment. Click on the icon below to start your PaaS Hosting trial. Trial accounts are also eligible for our FREE deployment assistance!

Free Trial

Topology of Jelastic

Deploying an application in Jelastic is very easy once you understand the terminology and how everything fits together (topology). Most of your work is done using the Jelastic Dashboard, which contains a wizard and help tips. There is no Control Panel. You can use the command line but there usually is no need to. Here is how things are organized in Jelastic.

  • Environment - your application will be deployed in an environment, which is subdivided into nodes. The eApps PaaS supports Java, PHP, Ruby, Node.js, Python and Docker environments. There is one environment per application. Creating an environment is your first step to deploying your application.

  • Nodes - your environment is subdivided into nodes. For example, for a basic application you would have one node for your application server and one node for your database server. More complex configurations use additional nodes.

  • Cloudlets - each node is composed of cloudlets which are predefined allocations of CPU (400 MHz) and RAM (128 MB). There are two types of cloudlets - reserved and dynamic. Reserved cloudlets are guaranteed and are billed regardless of usage. Dynamic cloudlets are used for auto-scaling. You can activate auto-scaling and set a limit of maximum dynamic cloudlets. Your usage of cloudlets will scale as needed and you will only be billed for the actual usage of dynamic cloudlets.

Jelastic Terminology

  • Marketplace - list of application services such as Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Liferay, etc.

  • Docker - open environment for portable application containers, by Docker Project

Getting Help with Jelastic

Jelastic has extensive documentation that covers all aspects of creating, deploying, and managing Jelastic containers. All of the Jelastic documentation can be found here - Jelastic Developers Center.

There are also a large number of tutorials available on how to use Jelastic - Jelastic Tutorials, along with videos that cover some advanced scenarios - Jelastic Videos.

If you need assistance with your Jelastic environment or have questions regarding advanced configurations, please contact eApps Support.

Creating and Managing Environments in Jelastic
    Using the New environment wizard
    Using the Marketplace
    Using Docker

Managing Your Jelastic Environments and Applications
    Managing your Jelastic environment
    Managing your applications
    Sending E-mail From Your Jelastic Environment

Backing Up Your Jelastic Environment


Creating and Managing Environments in Jelastic

There are three main approaches to creating and managing environments in Jelastic:

  1. If you want total control over the environment, including applications and resources, use the New environment wizard
  2. If you want to quickly deploy a pre-built application, use the Marketplace
  3. If you want to use a Docker container, including containers from the Docker Hub or a private Docker repo, you can use either the New environment wizard or the Marketplace

Using the New environment wizard

The New environment wizard allows you to create a Jelastic container with total control over the environment - the amount of cloudlets (one cloudlet equals 128 MB of RAM and 400 MHz of CPU), custom or shared SSL, load balancing, application servers, cache, databases, VPSs, and build environments. All of these settings are configurable based on your specific needs.

This approach is usually for customers who are uploading a custom application, such as a WAR or EAR file, or for customers who need to finely tune the resources available for their application.

To create a Jelastic container using the New environment wizard, log in to the Jelastic Dashboard. In the upper left corner of the Dashboard, click on New environment.

This opens the Environment topology wizard. From this wizard you can configure your container to your specifications.

Environment topology wizard

The choices you have in your stack: Balancing, App. Servers, etc, will depend on which programming language you have chosen at the top: Java, PHP, Ruby, Node.js, or Python (Docker is covered here - Using Docker ). For example, if you choose Java, you can then choose from Nginx, Apache, HAProxy, or Varnish for Balancing.

More information about using the Environment topology wizard can be found here: How to Create your Jelastic Environment. There is a very high level of customization available in the Environment topology wizard, so please make sure to read and review that document so that you can make the best use of your Jelastic deployment.

If you need instructions on specific deployment approaches, see the documentation for How to Deploy Projects to Jelastic Cloud. This covers how to deploy Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, and Node.js projects, as well as deploying from a Git or SVN repo.

Using the Marketplace

The Marketplace allows you to select a pre-built and pre-configured application and quickly deploy it with a base set of resources (you can adjust all your resources after the application is created).

This approach is usually for customers who want to take advantage of a pre-built application such as WordPress, Liferay, or Alfresco.

To create a Jelastic container using the Marketplace, log in to the Jelastic Dashboard. In the upper left corner of the Dashboard, click on Marketplace.

This opens the Marketplace. From here you can deploy any of the applications available, usually with a one-click installation.

Marketplace

To find an application by name, enter all or part of the name in the Type application name search box. Or, you can click the Apps drop down, which will show a list of application categories that you can look through. More information about the apps available in the Marketplace can be found here - Marketplace Applications. The Add-ons are applications used for a specific purpose, such as monitoring Java applications. (The Containers are Docker containers, covered here - Using Docker).

After finding the application you wish to install, hover over the application name to bring up the information screen, and then click Install. This will open a confirmation screen - here is where you can set the optional name for the Environment (this is not required, you can use the default value). For example, if you are installing WordPress, you might use the name of your blog. This is done so that you can easily distinguish between Environments in the Dashboard.

If you need more information on installing applications from the Marketplace, see the Marketplace documentation.

If you need instructions on specific deployment approaches, see the documentation for How to Deploy Projects to Jelastic Cloud. This covers how to deploy Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, and Node.js projects, as well as deploying from a Git or SVN repo.

Using Docker

There are two ways to deploy Docker containers in Jelastic: from the New environment wizard, and from the Marketplace. The difference is that from New environment you can select Docker containers and resources for each layer of the stack (Balancing, App. Server, etc), while with the Marketplace the environment is created with a default set of resources.

This approach is for customers who want to use Docker containers to create their Jelastic environments.

The Jelastic Docker container documentation is here - Docker Containers.

Creating Docker containers with New environment

To create a Docker container using the New environment wizard, log in to the Jelastic Dashboard. In the upper left corner of the Dashboard, click on New environment.

In the Environment topology wizard that opens, click on the Docker tab at the top. Select the layer of the stack where you want to start (Balancing, App. Server, etc) and click on the Select Container button.

Docker - New environment

This takes you to a screen where you can search for a Docker container by name, or use a Custom repo. Select the Docker container you wish to install. Then, select the next layer of the stack, search for the Docker container you wish to install, and continue as needed. Once you have added all the Docker containers you need, click Next. This takes you back to the Environment topology wizard, and you can adjust the resources for each level of the stack as required.

There is a very high level of customization available in the Environment topology wizard. Make sure to read How to Create your Jelastic Environment for more information if needed.

Creating Docker containers using the Marketplace

To create a Docker container using the Marketplace, log in to the Jelastic Dashboard. In the upper left corner of the Dashboard, click on Marketplace, and then on Containers.

Docker - Marketplace

This takes you to a screen where you can search for a Docker container by name, or use a Custom repo. Once you have found the container you want, click on Install. This takes you to a confirmation screen, where you can click Install. This will install the Docker container.

If you need instructions on specific deployment approaches, see the documentation for How to Deploy Projects to Jelastic Cloud. This covers how to deploy Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, and Node.js projects, as well as deploying from a Git or SVN repo.


Managing Your Jelastic Environments and Applications

After your Jelastic environment is created and your application is deployed, you can manage them from the Jelastic Dashboard.

Managing Your Jelastic Environment

After your environment is created, you can manage it from the Jelastic Dashboard. The Jelastic Dashboard - Creating and Managing Environments documentation has more information, including links that explain the functions to manage each environment and container.

Managing Your Applications

After your applications are deployed, you can manage them from the Jelastic Dashboard and in some cases through SSH. The Application Configuration documentation has more information, including links to application configurations for Java, PHP, Ruby, etc, at the bottom of the page and on the sidebar.

Sending E-mail From Your Jelastic Environment

If you need to send e-mail from your Jelastic environment, you will need to add a public IP address to the node you need to send e-mail from. More information about adding a public IP can be found here - Adding a Public IP.

NOTE - you only need a public IP on the actual node you are sending e-mail from. You do not need a public IP address on every node in the environment in order to send e-mail. For example, if you have a load balancer node, a database node, and application server node, you would only need a public IP on the application server node in order to send out e-mails from that application.

Once you add the public IP to the node, you will be able to use the sendmail mail server running on the node, or connect to an external mail server in order to send e-mails.

Be aware that the ability to send e-mails is limited to paid accounts. If you have a trial account, you will not be able to send e-mails, even if you add a public IP to your node.


Backing Up Your Jelastic Environment

By default, eApps makes routine backups of your PaaS environment, which are stored for seven (7) days. This backup is a snapshot of the entire environment at the filesystem level. The backup process does not perform database flushing or locking - in order to have a consistent backup of your database you will need to dump (export) your database and store the dump file on the environment. When the eApps backup process runs, the dump file will be included. This dump process can be done with a cron job - please see Scheduling Database Backups for more information, and contact eApps Support if you need assistance.

If you need to restore from one of the eApps routine backups, please contact eApps Support. There is no file level or database restore, the entire environment will be overwritten with the last available backup. When the restore is performed you will lose any data created from the time the backup took place.

Please note that you are ultimately responsible for creating and managing the backups for your Jelastic environments. If you have mission-critical data, we strongly recommend that you have a backup solution in place that meets your needs in terms of frequency, retention, and integrity. If you need assistance in planning or setting up a backup solution, please contact eApps Sales

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