MeteorQloud: Building the dashboard from scratch

Þórhallur HelgasonUncategorized

On our official ‘coming-out-of-beta’ launch in October at Demo last year, we also launched a new version of our management console.  Our old beta console was a patched version of the management console that comes bundled with CloudStack but it didn’t really fit our needs. It was hard to maintain, hard to update and was impeding development on new features.

Old Console (Dashboard)

Since we were launching our services publicly for the first time, we decided to also build a new console completely from scratch.  This brought a few new challenges, namely, how to go about this in a way that would present a dynamic yet equally simple-to-use interface for our customers?  We wanted a console that was fast, useful, and most importantly, easy to maintain.  We looked through a number of frameworks but in the end we decided to use a new and promising one called Meteor.

Meteor is a framework on top of Node.js, built with Javascript from the base up.  For the connections to our backend systems (ComputeQloud and StorageQloud) we stumbled upon a Node module called AwsSum— its creator was nice enough to integrate our services into the module.  Lastly we got an excellent designer to help us design the layout and after that we were good to go!

Now the only thing left was actually building the console itself.  Of course there were a lot of obstacles on the way, both in learning about this new technology and also solving various other problems with integration to our setup.  The experience tought us a lot about our own systems and in the process we managed to fix a lot of problems on our backend as well.  Then, after three months of hard work, blood, sweat and tears, we had the first running version ready.  It wasn’t perfect but it was a great start and a huge milestone for us.  Our Co-founder and Chief Global Strategist, Eirikur Hrafnsson, had the honour of showing the results to the general public for the first time, live from the Demo stage, and since then, it’s been full steam ahead.


New Console (Dashboard)

Compute Qloud

Storage Qloud (Audio Player)

We have added lots of new and exciting features after the launch in October.  One of the first was the ability to create load balancers and port forwarding.  For StorageQloud we added the ability to share buckets, folders and/or files by email, to Facebook or Twitter which has been a huge success.  For SXSW and CeBit we added multimedia capabilites to StorageQloud with an image viewer, video player and the easy to use audio player that lets you stream your music directly through your browser.  A couple of weeks ago we implemented a new upload server to enable the console to handle multiple file uploads directly in the browser– a feature we are extremely proud of and our customers most often requested. We’ve also created an app called QloudSync (beta) which enables customers to sync their files and access them from any internet-enabled device.

With our new console we feel that we have succeeded with our initial plan and we couldn’t be happier with it.  It’s easy to use, it’s very pretty and loaded with features.  In about three months we were able to create a fully functional application, completely from scratch, that not only matched our previous console’s functionality but has surpassed it in terms of speed, ease of use and features.  We are, of course, continuing to work on improving the console and adding new features to it . We welcome any and all comments and suggestions our customers might have, since customer input helped to drive the design of our new console in the first place (We’re listening!!).  Any questions about our dashboard? Feel free to send a message to support[at]greenqloud[dot]com with any additional comments or questions!

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