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Have you ever wondered why all those cloud computing interfaces are so darned complicated? Why is the action to launch a new instance sometimes a seven step wizard?  I mean, you just want to start up an instance, assign it an IP number and open up a few firewall ports to be able to setup and launch your WordPress site.

Is cloud computing really this hard?

Well, the answer is “Yes”… and “No, not necessarily”.  The actions required to perform all the tasks mentioned are complicated in essence but the beauty of a well thought out and easy to use UI is to make all these complicated tasks simple to execute for the end user.  So, when we started developing our front end for Qstack we decided that Cloud Computing should not be hard at all . We started by laying down a few ground rules for the UI; It should be:

  1. easy to learn,
  2. simple to use,
  3. self-explanatory,
  4. uniform and, above all,
  5. real-time.  

What we’ve come up with is, in our opinion, the best cloud computing user interface out there, bar none.  

So what makes our UI stand out?

Well, for one, we try to make all the creation forms as simple as possible and give you visual cues for required fields and connected resources.  Take our instance creation form, for example.  You can basically open it and click the “Create instance” button at the bottom of the form straight away. That will start an instance with preselected values for all required fields, keypair, firewall, image, zone and service offering. It will even reserve and attach an IP for you as well!  You can tweak the values, of course, but it’s just that simple.  On top of that you’ll get notifications and visual indication of the status of the instance creation, updated in real-time.

Cloud Computing - Creating an instance in Qstack

Creating an instance in Qstack

When we list resources we deep-link connected resources wherever possible so you can easily see how they are all interconnected. We also add searching and pagination capabilities to all lists in the UI to make it load super fast and capable of handling large amounts of data. All the while giving you the freedom to easily find that one instance you need to scale or reboot.

 

Instance dashboard

Instance Dashboard in Qstack

We’ve tried to pinpoint the most common tasks needed to perform for all those resources so they are readily available to you at the click of a button.  Need to add a data volume to your instance or snapshot the root volume?  That’s an easy single click action. What about adding a new reserved IP to it?  Again, single click action.  And that’s just to name a few, whereas the UI is loaded with these single click tasks that make your cloud life that much easier.

Overview of instances within Qstack

Overview of Instances within Qstack

How Qstack put the Experience back into UX

The same philosophy applies to the administration parts of the UI, for domain and/or infrastructure admins. Same list structure, the same simple forms, everything to make the experience of maintaining and administering your cloud setup as smooth and easy as for the day-to-day users of the system.

But even though we have, in our opinion, a superior UI we don’t want to exclude all the power users out there that want to automate everything via APIs, so everything you can do through our UI is available through API automation as well.

Qstack Infrastructure Overview

Infrastructure Overview in Qstack

And for every new feature we add into the UI, we try to make sure that the ground rules apply for every new view and action. A good example of that is our Kubernetes integration, where you can, with a few simple clicks, get a Kubernetes cluster up and running and then easily add new applications, with the world’s first Helm UI integration, and monitor, scale and/or update them, all inside the UI.

Kubernetes Integration in Qstack

Kubernetes Integration in Qstack

I will not lie, the current Qstack has taken a lot of hard work, trial and error and a lot of rewrites and redesigns. But that is the hallmark of a good UI/UX, never settle for anything but the best and always strive for perfection. You’ll never get there, of course, but you have to try anyway. It’s clear that we are extremely proud of our UI and we believe, without a doubt, that it’s the best one out there. Just test it out and request a demo, you won’t be disappointed!

 

For more on Qstack see this overview article.  Here is a Video for a more detailed view on Qstack and for our Kubernetes-based Application Orchestration please see this Demo.  For a Private Demo, click here.

 

Þórhallur Helgason is a Lead Front End Developer at Qstack– the hybrid cloud management & infrastructure platform.