5 Things We Have Learned Using IBM Cloud Products

Cloud hosting, IBM, Ecommerce, Kubernetes, Opencart

Starting a new business is never easy, especially when you would like to launch in the online store business. Even if you have a good idea and a well-thought-out marketing campaign, you can still fail on choosing the more costly solution for hosting your webshop. We know that setting up an online store can be scary at first, especially when you are not a techy, but even if you are, there are some pitfalls that you should avoid, when deciding how to build up your infrastructure.

Photo by pixabay.com

First of all, how you host your website, whether you buy in-house servers or resort to cloud hosting, it is not something that you can decide easily, if you’re new to the business. It is like choosing to rent a few floors for your office or buy the entire building. Each of them has their own benefits and disadvantages. The hosting needs of small and large companies can vary considerably. Also do not forget that

what your project needs today, may not be true in the future.

If you don’t do a full revision on your hosting needs from time to time, you can easily end up having high costs for hosting your website.

Icon by Iconscout

For own server hosting there are some aspects that smaller companies can’t ignore. At the beginning it requires a large investment and without the certainty of a successful business and an IT expert on staff, who can manage your infrastructure, this could mean an even bigger loss of money. Also these servers take up large spaces, need lot of electricity, cooling and a secure location to be able to operate effectively, not to mention the importance of data security which can become a liability without the aforesaid IT expert.

Of course, there is no 100 % guarantee for a business to become profitable, but imagine the founders of Facebook instead of renting a server (for $85/month) would have bought their own for hosting purposes. If it wouldn’t have become so popular they wouldn’t be able to afford it in the long run and

today’s one of the most well-known social media platforms would have died before it went over with a bang.

If you need a simple service like hosting an ecommerce site we would recommend you to go with the second option. Next step is to choose a cloud host provider.

About a month ago there was an IBM Cloud contest about creating a UI design and building a proof of concept of a web app that allows users to graphically visualize their IBM Cloud resources. We set up an IBM Cloud account to explore these resources. Considering the easy usability of the platform we’ve decided to go with their services for hosting an online store.

Next we will walk you through step by step how to set up these IBM Cloud products, which we used for our webshop.

Step 1 provision Kubernetes Cluster

  • Click the Catalog button on the top
  • Select Service from the catalog
  • Search for Kubernetes Service and click on it
  • You are now at the Kubernetes deployment page, you need to specify some details about the cluster
  • Choose a plan standard or free, the free plan only has one worker node and no subnet, to provision a standard cluster, you will need to upgrade you account to Pay-As-You-Go
  • To upgrade to a Pay-As-You-Go account, complete the following steps:
  • In the console, go to Manage > Account.
  • Select Account settings, and click Add credit card.
  • Enter your payment information, click Next, and submit your information
  • Choose classic or VPC, read the docs and choose the most suitable type for yourself
  • Now choose your location settings, for more information please visit Locations
  • Choose Geography (continent)
  • Choose Single or Multizone, in single zone your data is only kept in on datacenter, on the other hand with Multizone it is distributed to multiple zones, thus safer in an unforeseen zone failure
  • Choose a Worker Zone if using Single zones or Metro if Multizone
  • If you wish to use Multizone please set up your account with VRF or enable Vlan spanning
  • If at your current location selection, there is no available Virtual LAN, a new Vlan will be created for you
  • Choose a Worker node setup or use the preselected one, set Worker node amount per zone
  • Choose Master Service Endpoint, In VRF-enabled accounts, you can choose private-only to make your master accessible on the private network or via VPN tunnel. Choose public-only to make your master publicly accessible. When you have a VRF-enabled account, your cluster is set up by default to use both private and public endpoints. For more information visit endpoints.
  • Give cluster a name
  • Give desired tags to your cluster, for more information visit tags
  • Click create
  • Wait for you cluster to be provisioned
  • Your cluster is ready for usage

Step 2 deploy IBM Cloud Block Storage plug-in

The Block Storage plug-in is a persistent, high-performance iSCSI storage that you can add to your apps by using Kubernetes Persistent Volumes (PVs).

  • Click the Catalog button on the top
  • Select Software from the catalog
  • Search for IBM Cloud Block Storage plug-in and click on it
  • On the application page Click in the dot next to the cluster, you wish to use
  • Click on Enter or Select Namespace and choose the default Namespace or use a custom one (if you get error please wait 30 minutes for the cluster to finalize)
  • Give a name to this workspace
  • Click install and wait for the deployment

Step 3 deploy Opencart

We will deploy Opencart on our cluster

  • Click the Catalog button on the top
  • Select Software from the catalog
  • Search for Opencart and click on it
  • Please select IBM Kubernetes Service
  • On the application page Click in the dot next to the cluster, you wish to use
  • Click on Enter or Select Namespace and choose the default Namespace or use a custom one
  • Give a unique name to workspace, which you can easily recognize
  • Select which resource group you want to use, it’s for access controll and billing purposes. For more information please visit [resource groups]
  • Give tags to your opencart workspace, for more information visit tags
  • Click on Parameters with default values, You can set deployment values or use the default ones
  • In the deployment values set some must have values
  • First set your opencart hostame, this is the domain you will use
  • Next set the opencart username
  • Set the opencart admin password
  • After finishing everything, tick the box next to the agreements and click install
  • The opencart workspace will start installing, wait a couple of minutes
  • Your opencart workspace has been successfully deployed

Verify Opencart installation

  • Go to Resources in your browser
  • Click on Clusters
  • Click on your Cluster
  • Now you are at you clusters overview, here Click on Actions and Web terminal from the dropdown menu
  • Click install — wait couple of minutes
  • Click on Actions
  • Click Web terminal → a terminal will open up
  • Type in the terminal, please change NAMESPACE to the namespace you choose at the deployment setup:
$ kubectl get ns
$ kubectl get pod -n NAMESPACE -o wide
$ kubectl get service -n NAMESPACE
  • Running Opencart service will be visible
  • Copy the External ip, you can access the website on this IP
  • Paste it into your browser
  • Opencart main page will be visible

So after setting up Opencart on kubernetes, here are the five things we have learned about using IBM Cloud solutions, that we would like to share.

1. It is quick, we mean really QUICK

If you follow the steps we described before, you will see how fast it is to start your own webshop. It takes only a few hours to set up all these resources.

2. Easy to use

Cloud service providers supply a wide range of products and services. We know how tiring it can be to find the ones, that you need. So stop looking because IBM Cloud makes it easy.

3. Flexible

Even if at first you do not properly assess your hosting needs or there is an increased demand around the holidays you can easily add more storage to your server without long-term commitment. It’s only a few clicks away.

4. Predictable

With the help of the cost estimator you can calculate your expenses in advance. Select services from the IBM Cloud catalog that you need and you will get a more precise estimate of your hosting costs.

https://cloud.ibm.com/catalog#services

5. Lower expenses

We’ve already established that in-house servers need a larger investment at the beginning, after that you also have to finance the running operational costs like power, cooling and the wage of a system administrator. With cloud hosting the initial costs are lower and with the pay-as-you-go account you only need to pay for the billable services that you use.

https://cloud.ibm.com/docs/account?topic=account-accounts#paygo

https://cloud.ibm.com/estimator/review

Our Webshop

We made a functioning online shoe store in just a couple of minutes , the experience speaks for itself! Feel free to visit and look around!

Keep It Simple, Short (& Stupid)

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