It’s past time to give Cobbler the boot! Don’t PXE like it’s 1999

An interesting paradox in technology is our desire to obsess over the latest shiny (Note our L8istSh9y Podcast) object promising the moon; however, we tend to hold on to our reliable, dependable solutions that become outdated.  A great example of this reliance on outdated technology is the well-known Linux provisioning tool Cobbler.

Cobbler was built specially for Linux in the pre-cloud days with version 2.2.3-1 released in June 2012. The product continues on a schedule of 2 releases a year with the last update in September 2017. There is no commercial support, minimal development and hardly anyone keeping the lights on.  In today’s security landscape, that’s not a safe place for a critical infrastructure service.

The Digital Rebar community has taken the learnings from the Cobbler community.

We’ve built a modern PXE provisioning tool to handle today’s heterogeneous data centers and clouds as well architecting future provisioning needs for the upcoming edge computing rollouts. We believe that our new provisioning utility offers Cobbler users an easy path forward from their existing provisioning to modernize with an active, growing community focused on security, scalability, bare metal, heterogeneous infrastructure, etc.

Here are some key concepts around Digital Rebar that substantially enhance your Cobbler solution:

    • A small stand-alone Golang binary with no external dependencies – this provides operators the flexibility to place the provisioning tool anywhere including a network switch, Raspberry Pi or server as well as processor independence such as ARM or Intel.
    • API first approach based on 12-Factor App methodology – making the API a first-class citizen allows the CLI to be dynamically generated from the API ensuring 100% coverage of API implementations within the CLI
    • Composable content – Digital Rebar is architected with the concept of small, simple modules being assembled quickly to customize a unique and complex solution. This approach permeates of all the “Content” components that create the foundational building blocks for composable provisioning activities.
    • Flexible and Integrated DHCP – automating provisioning requires managing next boot instructions in a way to coordinates with install workflow.  It’s time to stop maintaining MAC tables and spreadsheets.
    • Secure and Auditable – The Digital Rebar API was built with security in mind with key features like limited use and duration tokens.  We’ve also built a comprehensive logging and event system so you can finally bring your provisioning into your operational processes.
    • Easy Migration / Complete Coverage – Built with Cobbler users in mind, the template system for Digital Rebar is intuitive with fixes where Cobbler needed them.  Check out our Cobbler vs Digital Rebar Feature Comparison Table.

We encourage Cobbler users to visit the Digital Rebar community home page and learn more about our technology. You can immediately get started with our technology or visit our YouTube page to see recent demonstrations of Digital Rebar including our Kubernetes deployment demonstration.

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