Success means putting People and Process above Tech

“I don’t care about the tech – what I really want to hear is how this product fits in our processes and helps our people get more done.”

That was the message my co-founder and I heard from an executive at a major bank last week.  For us, it was both a deja vu and a major relief because we’d just presented at the Cablelabs Summer Showcase about the importance of aligning people, process and technology together. The executive was pleased about how RackN had achieved that balance.

It wasn’t always that way: focusing on usability and simplicity first over features is scary.  

One of the most humbling startup lessons is that making great technology is not about the technology. Showing a 10x (or 100x!) improvement in provisioning speed misses the real problem for IT operators. Happily, we had some great early users who got excited about the vision for simple tooling that we built around Digital Rebar Provision v3.  Equally important was a deeply experienced team who insisted in building great tests, docs and support tooling from day 0.

We are thrilled to watch as new users are able to learn, adopt and grow their use of our open technology with minimal help from RackN.  Even without the 10x performance components RackN has added, they have been able to achieve significant time and automation improvements in their existing operational processes.  That means simpler processes, less IT complexity and more time for solving important problems.

The bank executive wanted the people and process benefits: our job with technology was to enable that first and then get out of the way.  It’s a much harder job than “make it faster” but, ultimately, much more rewarding.

If you’re interested in seeing how we’ve found that balance for bare metal automation, please check out our self-service trial at https://portal.RackN.io or contact us directly at info@rackn.com.

Catch up with the RackN and Digital Rebar Team at OpenStack Summit

We are heading out to Vancouver next week for the OpenStack Summit from May 21 – 24. Rob Hirschfeld, our Co-Founder/CEO will be available to meet onsite as well as help drive the OpenStack community forward. If you are interested in meeting, please contact me.

Rob has 2 sessions scheduled and we encourage you to attend.

Sessions

Security Considerations for Cloud Edge Computing
Date & Time: May 23 from 11:50 – 12:30pm

Location: Vancouver Convention Centre West – Level 2 – Room 205-207

Panel: (Moderator) Beth Cohen, Verizon : Rob Hirschfeld, RackN : Glen McGowan, Dell EMC : Shuquan Huang, 99cloud

Cloud Edge computing use cases range from IoT to VR/AR and any widely distributed application in between.  However, taking OpenStack out of the data center requires an entirely new approach to security when there is far less ability to restrict access and often the applications require a shared tenant model.

Avoiding Infrastructure at Rest – The Power of Immutable Infrastructure

Date & Time: May 23 from 3:30 – 4:10pm
Location: Vancouver Convention Center West – Level Three – Room 301

Keeping up with patches has never been more critical.  For hardware, that’s… hard.  What if servers were deployed 100% ready to run without any need for remote configuration or access?  What if we were able to roll a complete rebuild of an entire application stack from the BIOS up in minutes.  Those are key concepts behind a cloud deployment pattern called “immutable infrastructure”  because the servers are deployed from images produced by CI/CD process and destroyed after use instead of being reconfigured.

We’ll cover the specific process and it’s advantages.  Then we’ll dive deeply into open tools and processes that make it possible to drive immutable images into your own infrastructure.  The talk will include live demos and go discuss process and field challenges that attendees will likely face when they start implementation at home.  We’ll also cover the significant security, time and cost benefits of this approach to make pitching the idea effective.

Week in Review : The CTO Advisor talks RackN at InteropITX

Welcome to the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. You will find the latest news related to Edge, DevOps, SRE and other relevant topics.

Rob Hirschfeld and The CTO Advisor from Interop ITX

During Interop ITX 2018, Keith Townsend had a chance to catch up with RackN CEO Rob Hirschfield to discuss the company. Learn how RackN orchestrates bare metal workloads to provide cloud capability to the data center.


News

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Digital Rebar Community 

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

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Meet with RackN Next Week at GlueCon

Look for the RackN team next week in Colorado at GlueCon 2018. As a Bronze sponsor, we have a small booth for attendees to meet with our team and talk DevOps, Bare Metal, Immutability, Edge Computing and other topics. In addition, be sure to attend Rob Hirschfeld’s session on Wednesday.

If you are interested in meeting with us during the event please contact me to setup a meeting time.

Session

Making Bare Metal Go Cloud Native: The Power of Immutable Deploys
Speaker: Rob Hirschfeld, Co-Founder/CEO RackN
Wednesday May 16 from 2:50 – 3:30pm
Breakout 2 Track: DevOps

The benefits of automated cloud deployments for speed, reliability and security are undeniable.  The cornerstone of this approach, immutable deployment, promotes the idea of continuously rolling safe, stable images instead of trying to keep up with managing a fixed pool of machines,  If this pattern is so great, shouldn’t we bring it into the physical layer too?

In this talk, we’ll explore the immutable infrastructure pattern and how to use continuous deployment and continuous integration (CI/CD) process to build and manage server images for any platform.  Then we’ll show how automate deploying these images quickly and reliability with open DevOps tools like Terraform and Digital Rebar.  Not only is this approach fast, it’s also more secure and robust for operators.

If you are running physical infrastructure, this talk will change how you think about your job in profound ways.

Get Ready, RackN is heading to Interop ITX

Next week our co-founders are headed to Las Vegas for Interop ITX. Both are speaking and are available to meet to discuss our technology, DevOps, etc. If you are interested in meeting please contact me to setup a time.  I would also like to acknowledge Rob Hirschfeld’s role as a Review Board member for the DevOps track.

Rob Hirschfeld is participating in a discussion panel and individual talk and Greg Althaus is running a 90 minute hands-on lab on immutable deployments.

TALKS

DevOps vs SRE vs Cloud Native

Speaker:                       Rob Hirschfeld
Date and Time:           Wednesday, May 2 from 1:00 – 1:50 pm
Location:                      Grand Ballroom G
Track:                            DevOps

DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE).

Our speaker has been creating leading edge infrastructure and cloud automation platforms for over 15 years. His recent work in Kubernetes operations has lead to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and controlling infrastructure. The rise of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is part of that redefinition of operations vs development roles in organizations.

In this talk, we’ll explore this trend and discuss concrete ways to cope with the coming changes. We’ll look at the reasons while SRE is attractive and get specific about ways that teams can bootstrap their efforts and keep their DevOps Fu strong.

Immutable Deployments: Taking Physical Infrastructure from Automation to Autonomy

Speakers:                                Greg Althaus
Date and Time:                      Wednesday, May 2 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Location:                                 Montego C
Track:                                       Infrastructure
Format:                                    Hands-On-Session

Physical Infrastructure is the critical underpinning of every data center; however, it’s been very difficult to automate and manage. In this hands-on session, we’ll review the latest in physical layer automation that uses Cloud Native DevOps processes and tooling to make server (re)provisioning fully automatic.

Attendees will be guided through a full automation provisioning cycle using a mix of technologies including Terraform and Digital Rebar. We’ll use cloud based physical servers from Packet.net for the test cycle so that attendees get to work with real infrastructure even from the session.

By the end of the session, you’ll be able to setup your own data center provisioning infrastructure, create a pool of deployed servers, allocate those servers using Infrastructure as Code processes. Advanced students may be able to create and deploy complete images using locally captured images.

This session has a limited amount of seating, so an RSVP is required. Please RSVP here.

From What to How: Getting Started and Making Progress with DevOps

Speakers:                                Damon Edwards, Jayne Groll, Rob Hirschfeld, Mandy Hubbard
Date and Time:                      Thursday, May 3 from 1:00 – 1:50 pm
Location:                                 Grand Ballroom G
Track:                                       DevOps

Organizations are recognizing the benefits of DevOps but making strides toward implementation and meting goals may be more difficult than it seems. This panel discussion with multiple DevOps experts and practitioners will explores practices and principles attendees can apply to their own DevOps implementations, as well as metrics to put into place to track success. Track Chair Jayne Groll will moderate the discussion.

 

Week in Review: RackN talks Immutability and DevOps at SRECon Americas

Welcome to the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. You will find the latest news related to Edge, DevOps, SRE and other relevant topics.

Immutable Deployments talk at SRECon Americas

Rob Hirschfeld presented at SRECon Americas this week, “Don’t Ever Change! Are Immutable Deployments Really Simpler, Faster and Safer?”

Configuration is fragile because we’re talking about mutating a system. Infrastructure as code, means building everything in place. Every one of our systems have to be configured and managed and that creates a dependency graph. We can lock things down, but we inevitably have to patch our systems.

Immutable infrastructure is another way of saying “pre-configured systems”. Traditional deployment models do configuration after deployment, but it’s better if we can do it beforehand. Immutability is a DevOps pattern. Shift configuration to the left of our pipeline; move it from the production to build stage.

Finish Reading Review from Tanya Reilly (@whereistanya)


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Week in Review: Data Center 2020 Blog Series from IBM Think 2018

Welcome to the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. You will find the latest news related to Edge, DevOps, SRE and other relevant topics.

Data Center of 2020 Blog Series from IBM Think 2018
(Series by Rob Hirschfeld, CEO/Co-Founder, RackN)

When discussing the data center of the future, it’s critical that we start by breaking the concept of the data center as a physical site with guarded walls, raised floors, neat rows of servers and crash cart pushing operators. The Data Center of 2020 (DC2020) is a distributed infrastructure comprised of many data centers, cloud services and connected devices.

The primary design concept of DC2020 is integrated automation not actual infrastructures.

RackN Portal Management Connection for the 10 Minute Demo

In my previous blog, I provided step by step directions to install Digital Rebar Provision on a new endpoint and create a new node using Packet.net for users without a local hardware setup. (Demo Tool on GitHub) In this blog, I will introduce the RackN Portal and connect it to the active setup running on Packet.net at the end of the demo process.

Read More


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