Chapter 1. Introduction to Red Hat CloudForms

Red Hat CloudForms delivers the insight, control, and automation that enterprises need to address the challenges of managing virtual environments. This technology enables enterprises with existing virtual infrastructures to improve visibility and control, and those starting virtualization deployments to build and operate a well-managed virtual infrastructure.

Red Hat CloudForms provides the following feature sets:

  • Insight: Discovery, Monitoring, Utilization, Performance, Reporting, Analytic, Chargeback, and Trending.
  • Control: Security, Compliance, Alerting, and Policy-Based Resource, and Configuration Enforcement.
  • Automate: IT Process, Task and Event, Provisioning, and Workload Management and Orchestration.
  • Integrate: Systems Management, Tools and Processes, Event Consoles, Configuration Management Database (CMDB), Role-based Administration (RBA), and Web Services.

1.1. Architecture

The diagram below describes the capabilities of Red Hat CloudForms. Its features are designed to work together to provide robust management and maintenance of your virtual infrastructure. 1845

The architecture comprises the following components:

  • The Red Hat CloudForms appliance (appliance) which is supplied as a secure, high-performance, preconfigured virtual machine. It provides support for HTTPS communications.
  • The Red Hat CloudForms Server (Server) resides on the appliance. It is the software layer that communicates between the SmartProxy and the Virtual Management Database. It includes support for HTTPS communications.
  • The Virtual Management Database (VMDB) resides either on the appliance or another computer accessible to the appliance. It is the definitive source of intelligence collected about your Virtual Infrastructure. It also holds status information regarding appliance tasks.
  • The Red Hat CloudForms Console (Console) is the Web interface used to view and control the Server and appliance. It is consumed through Web 2.0 mash-ups and web services (WS Management) interfaces.
  • The SmartProxy can reside on the appliance or on an ESX Server. If not embedded in the Server, the SmartProxy can be deployed from the appliance. A SmartProxy agent must configured in each storage location, and must be visible to the appliance. The SmartProxy acts on behalf of the appliance communicating with it over HTTPS on standard port 443.

1.2. Requirements

To use Red Hat CloudForms, certain virtual hardware, database, and browser requirements must be met in your environment.

1.2.1. Virtual Hardware Requirements

The Red Hat CloudForms appliance requires the following virtual hardware at minimum:

  • 4 VCPUs
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 44 GB HDD + optional database disk

1.2.2. Database Requirements

Red Hat recommends allocating the virtual machine disk fully at the time of creation. Three main factors affect the size of your database over time:

  • Virtual Machine Count: the most important factor in the calculation of virtual machine database (VMDB) size over time.
  • Host Count: the number of hosts associated with the provider.
  • Storage Count: the number of individual storage elements as seen from the perspective of the provider or host. It is not the total number of virtual disks for all virtual machines.

Use the following table as a guideline to calculate minimum requirements for your database:


1.2.3. Browser Requirements

To use Red Hat CloudForms, the following browser requirements must be met:

  • One of the following web browsers:

    • Mozilla Firefox for versions supported under Mozilla’s Extended Support Release (ESR)
    • Internet Explorer 10 or higher
    • Google Chrome for Business
  • A monitor with minimum resolution of 1280x1024.
  • Adobe Flash Player 9 or above. At the time of publication, you can access it at

Due to browser limitations, Red Hat supports logging in to only one tab for each multi-tabbed browser. Console settings are saved for the active tab only. For the same reason, Red Hat CloudForms does not guarantee that the browser’s Back button will produce the desired results. Red Hat recommends using the breadcrumbs provided in the Console.

1.2.4. Additional Requirements

Additionally, the following must be configured to use Red Hat CloudForms:

  • The Red Hat CloudForms appliance must already be installed and activated in your enterprise environment.
  • The SmartProxy must have visibility to the virtual machines and cloud instances that you want to control.
  • The resources that you want to control must have a SmartProxy associated with them.

1.3. Terminology

The following terms are used throughout this document. Review them before proceeding.

Account Role
The level of access a user has to different parts and functions of the Red Hat CloudForms console. There are a variety of Account Roles, which can be assigned to users to restrict or allow access to parts of the console and virtual infrastructure.
An execution that is performed after a condition is evaluated.
Red Hat CloudForms alerts notify administrators and monitoring systems of critical configuration changes and threshold limits in the virtual environment. The notification can take the form of either an email or an SNMP trap.
Analysis Profile
A customized scan of hosts, virtual machines, or instances. You can collect information from categories, files, event logs, and registry entries.
A pool of on-demand and highly available computing resources. The usage of these resources are scaled depending on the user requirements and metered for cost.
Red Hat CloudForms Appliance
A virtual machine where the virtual management database (VMDB) and Red Hat CloudForms reside.
Red Hat CloudForms Console
A web-based interface into the Red Hat CloudForms appliance.
Red Hat CloudForms Role
A designation assigned to a Red Hat CloudForms server that defines what a Red Hat CloudForms server can do.
Red Hat CloudForms Server
The application that runs on the Red Hat CloudForms appliance and communicates with the SmartProxy and the VMDB.
Hosts that are grouped together to provide high availability and load balancing.
A control policy test triggered by an event, which determines a subsequent action.
Process run by the Red Hat CloudForms server which finds virtual machine and cloud providers.
The comparison of a virtual machine, instance, host, cluster to itself at different points in time.
A trigger to check a condition.
Event Monitor
Software on the Red Hat CloudForms appliance which monitors external providers for events and sends them to the Red Hat CloudForms server.
A computer running a hypervisor, capable of hosting and monitoring virtual machines. Supported hypervisors include RHEV-H, VMware ESX hosts, Windows Hyper-V hosts.
Instance/Cloud Instance
A on-demand virtual machine based upon a predefined image and uses a scalable set of hardware resources such as CPU, memory, networking interfaces.
Managed/Registered VM
A virtual machine that is connected to a host and exists in the VMDB. Also, a template that is connected to a provider and exists in the VMDB. Note that templates cannot be connected to a host.
Managed/Unregistered VM
A virtual machine or template that resides on a repository or is no longer connected to a provider or host and exists in the VMDB. A virtual machine that was previously considered registered may become unregistered if the virtual machine was removed from provider inventory.
A computer on which software is loaded which manages multiple virtual machines that reside on multiple hosts.
A combination of an event, a condition, and an action used to manage a virtual machine.
Policy Profile
A set of policies.
A process run by the Red Hat CloudForms server which checks for relationships of the provider or host to other resources, such as storage locations, repositories, virtual machines, or instances. It also checks the power states of those resources.
Regions are used to create a central database for reporting and charting. Regions are used primarily to consolidate multiple VMDBs into one master VMDB for reporting.
A host, provider, instance, virtual machine, repository, or datastore.
Resource Pool
A group of virtual machines across which CPU and memory resources are allocated.
A place on a datastore resource which contains virtual machines.
The SmartProxy is a software agent that acts on behalf of the Red Hat CloudForms appliance to perform actions on hosts, providers, storage and virtual machines.
The SmartProxy can be configured to reside on the Red Hat CloudForms appliance or on an ESX server version. The SmartProxy can be deployed from the Red Hat CloudForms appliance, and provides visibility to the VMFS storage. Each storage location must have a SmartProxy with visibility to it. The SmartProxy acts on behalf of the Red Hat CloudForms appliance. If the SmartProxy is not embedded in the Red Hat CloudForms server, it communicates with the Red Hat CloudForms appliance over HTTPS on standard port 443.
SmartState Analysis
Process run by the SmartProxy which collects the details of a virtual machine or instance. Such details include accounts, drivers, network information, hardware, and security patches. This process is also run by the Red Hat CloudForms server on hosts and clusters. The data is stored in the VMDB.
Descriptors that allow you to create a customized, searchable index for the resources in your clouds and infrastructure.
Storage Location
A device, such as a VMware datastore, where digital information resides that is connected to a resource.
Descriptive terms defined by a Red Hat CloudForms user or the system used to categorize a resource.
A template is a copy of a preconfigured virtual machine, designed to capture installed software and software configurations, as well as the hardware configuration, of the original virtual machine.
Unmanaged Virtual Machine
Files discovered on a datastore that do not have a virtual machine associated with them in the VMDB. These files may be registered to a provider that the Red Hat CloudForms server does not have configuration information on. Possible causes may be that the provider has not been discovered or that the provider has been discovered, but no security credentials have been provided.
Virtual Machine
A software implementation of a system that functions similar to a physical machine. Virtual machines utilize the hardware infrastructure of a physical host, or a set of physical hosts, to provide a scalable and on-demand method of system provisioning.
Virtual Management Database (VMDB)
Database used by the Red Hat CloudForms appliance to store information about your resources, users, and anything else required to manage your virtual enterprise.
Virtual Thumbnail
An image in the web interface representing a resource, such as a provider or a virtual machine, showing the resource’s properties at a glance. Each virtual thumbnail is divided into quadrants, which provide information about the resource, such as its software and power state.
Red Hat CloudForms Infrastructure can be organized into zones to configure failover and to isolate traffic. Zones can be created based on your environment. Zones can be based on geographic location, network location, or function. When first started, new servers are put into the default zone.

1.4. Getting Support

If you experience difficulty with a procedure described in this documentation, visit the Red Hat Customer Portal at Through the Customer Portal, you can:

  • search or browse through a knowledgebase of technical support articles about Red Hat products
  • submit a support case to Red Hat Global Support Services (GSS)
  • access other product documentation

Red Hat also hosts a large number of electronic mailing lists for discussion of Red Hat software and technology. You can find a list of publicly available mailing lists at Click on the name of any mailing list to subscribe to that list or to access the list archives.