Week in Review: Move Away from Virtualization Overheard with Bare Metal

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

Had Enough Virtualization Overheard? Time to Think Bare Metal

Software Defined Infrastructure (SDx) allows operators to manage data centers in a more consistent and controlled way. It allows teams to define their environment as code and use automation to execute that definition in practice. To deliver this capability for physical (aka bare metal) servers, RackN has created a Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) plugin for users of HashiCorp’s Terraform.

More on RackN Terraform Opportunity

Observability into Bare Metal Provisioning with RackN

(Posted 5/15 on Honeycomb.io Blog)

At RackN, a core design principle is that operations should be easy to track and troubleshoot. We work hard to automate provisioning with observable processes because insight into complex interactions within a modern data center is critical for success. So, it’s not helpful if we require complex technologies to understand where issues arise from disconnected processes. RackN and the open source Digital Rebar community require a simple, best in class solution to provide a better way to observe provisioning operations within our system without adding complexity and overhead.

Full Post on Honeycomb.io


News

RackN

Digital Rebar Community

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

Social Media

Week in Review: Provision Physical and Virtual from a Single Platform

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

RackN NOW Provisions Virtual Machines Not Just Physical Machines 

This expansion to virtual machines allows Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) users to not only provision physical infrastructure but virtual as well both locally and in clouds. In this simple demo video we show how to connect a virtual platform to DRP and provision virtual machines alongside your bare metal infrastructure.

Learn More


News

RackN

Digital Rebar Community

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

Social Media

Podcast: Nic Jackson on HashiCorp Product Philosophy in Open Source and Feature Minimization

 

 

 

In this week’s podcast, we speak with Nic Jackson, Developer Advocate, HashiCorp (@sheriffjackson). Nic provides insight into the product and development philosophy of HashiCorp and how it impacts their products and open source components. The last section of the podcast on product feature limitations and how companies go too far is very interesting.

  • HashiCorp Overview and Design Philosophy of their Solutions
  • Company vs Community Open Source Comparison in Terraform
  • Abstractions and Portability Failings
  • Product Features and Doing Too Much

Topic                                                                     Time (Minutes.Seconds)

Introduction                                                         0.0 – 0.53
HashiCorp Overview                                          0.53 – 3.20 (Started with Vagrant)
Design Philosophy of HashiCorp Tools           3.20 – 5.28 (Isolated Tooling)
Neutral Ground w/ Tools                                  5.28 – 7.46 (Open, Integrated Environments)
Engagement Model                                           7.46 – 10.28
Open Source Community Model                     10.28 – 12.56 (Tightly Controlled)
Software for Operators                                      12.56 – 16.30
Terraform De-Coupling                                     16.30 – 25.25 (Company Open Source)
Terraform – Awesome & Horrible                    25.25 – 29.15 (Edges around Terraform)
Portability & Abstraction                                    29.15 – 33.29 (Partial Abstractions Fail)
Industry Moving Fast & Tools are too Young  33.29 – 37.17
Build Set of Tools for Single Purpose               37.17 – 39.55 (Not All Tools Solve Every Problem)
Adopt Tool Knowing It’s Role                             39.55 – 41.45
Constant Workflow Across Platforms               41.45 – 43.25
Wrap-Up                                                                43.25 – END

Podcast Guest
Nic Jackson, Developer Advocate, HashiCorp

Nic Jackson is a developer advocate and polyglot programmer working for HashiCorp, and the author of “Building Microservices in Go” a book which examines the best patterns and practices for building microservices with the Go programming language. In his spare time, Nic coaches and mentors at Coder Dojo, teaches at Women Who Go and GoBridge, speaks and evangelizes good coding practice, process, and technique.

Follow Nic here: Nic’s Blog

December 15 – Weekly Recap of Digital Rebar, RackN and Latest Industry News

Welcome to the weekly post of the RackN blog recap of all things Digital Rebar, RackN, Edge Computing, and DevOps. If you have any ideas for this recap or would like to include content please contact us at info@rackn.com or tweet RackN (@rackngo)

Items of the Week

Industry News

Anyone who predicted that 2017 would be the “Year of DevOps” has proved to hit the nail on the head. More enterprises than ever before are ditching their old methodologies, leadership philosophies, and legacy processes in favor of DevOps to achieve speed and agility in today’s constantly evolving technology landscape. In fact, a survey of 700 IT professionals conducted earlier this year found that 50 percent of companies polled were integrating DevOps, or had already done so this year. We are well beyond critical mass.

Automation is on the rise in IT shops, especially in the infrastructure and operations realm. Some automation discussions make it sound like a boogeyman – automation’s coming to get you – but that misses the point. It’s important to understand – and be able to articulate – the why of automation.

One of the fundamental concepts underpinning cloud computing is that the location of the servers and other physical infrastructure running the software and storing the data is entirely irrelevant.

That’s why it borrowed the metaphor of the cloud from old telecoms network diagrams, in which the telephone network (and later the internet) was represented by a cloud, to show that the technologies and locations of this part didn’t matter.

Digital Rebar

The Digital Rebar community solutions are available for download and testing from the community GitHub page. We recommend following our Quick Start instructions and checking out some example videos for using Digital Rebar Provision with Ansible, Terraform and Kubernetes.

RackN

  • Webinar: Immutable Kuberentes with RackN Provisioning

Learn more about the RackN Kubernetes installation integration using community tools like Kubeadm demonstrated at last week’s KubeCon event (Slides) in Austin, TX. Co-Founders Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus of RackN will discuss this fast and simple approach to operating Kubernetes. Of course, we’ll also demonstrate the technology installing Kubernetes following the immutable infrastructure model highlighting the automated provisioning technology built on the open source Digital Rebar project.

We are actively looking for feedback from customers and technologists before general availability of both RackN and the Terraform plug-in. It takes just a few minutes to get started and we offer direct engineering engagement on our community slack channel. Get started now by providing your email on our registration page so we can provide you all the necessary links.

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

Chris Steffen, Technical Security Director at Cryptzone joins Rob Hirschfeld and myself to cover the latest topics in cloud, edge and data security. Chris is a well-respected cloud security expert with practical experience securing large infrastructures as well as an excellent speaker and influencer on all things security,

Key Highlights:

  • Current State of Cloud Security
  • Where & What is On-Premises?
  • Hardware Security and Lack of Industry Use
  • Coming of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation from European Union) and Impact on US and Global Industry

UPCOMING EVENTS – None until 2018

November 17 – Weekly Recap Of All Things Digital Rebar And RackN

Welcome to the weekly post of the RackN blog recap of all things Digital Rebar, RackN, SRE, and DevOps. If you have any ideas for this recap or would like to include content please contact us at info@rackn.com or tweet Rob (@zehicle) or RackN (@rackngo)

Items of the Week

Digital Rebar

 

 

 

 

Terraform Bare Metal – A Leap Forward for SDx

Software Defined Infrastructure (SDx) allows operators to manage data centers in a more consistent and controlled way. It allows teams to define their environment as code and use automation to execute that definition in practice. To deliver this capability for physical (aka bare metal) servers, RackN has created a Digital Rebar provider for Terraform. The provider is a simple addition that take just seconds to enable. Read More

Digital Rebar Online Community Meetup

Our 5th Meetup is Tuesday Nov 21…

Welcome to the fifth (v005) Digital Rebar online meetup!  In today’s meetup we’ll discuss the status of Digital Rebar Provision v3.3.0 features and planning activities along with Understanding the Runner and Jobs system in Stage transitions.  We’ll conclude with opening up the floor for community feedback.

Join the Meetup Group

RackN

 

 

 

 

 

The RackN Beta now contains Digital Rebar Provision v3.2 as well as the Terraform Bare Metal Plug-in currently in final testing for official release from HashiCorp. To join the beta, simply provide your email on our registration page so we can provide the software as well as ensure our engineers are able to engage directly in support during setup and operation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining this week’s L8ist Sh9y Podcast is Yves Boudreau, VP or Partnerships and Ecosystem Strategy at Ericsson. Rob Hirschfeld and Yves discuss the Ericsson Unified Delivery Network platform and the concept of a global content provider service built on heterogeneous infrastructure. Yves also provides insight into what webscale customers are looking for in the Edge as they give thought around balancing their applications from public cloud services to future edge clouds.  Finally, Rob and Yves talk about the coming fundamental change in how software is created and run “independent” of hardware.”  (Blog with Time/Questions)

UPCOMING EVENTS

Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus are preparing for a series of upcoming events where they are speaking or just attending. If you are interested in meeting with them at these events please email info@rackn.com

If you are attending any of these events please reach out to Rob Hirschfeld to setup time to learn more about our solutions or discuss the latest industry trends.

OTHER NEWSLETTERS

 

 

 

Terraform Bare Metal – A Leap forward for SDx

Software Defined Infrastructure (SDx) allows operators to manage data centers in a more consistent and controlled way. It allows teams to define their environment as code and use automation to execute that definition in practice. To deliver this capability for physical (aka bare metal) servers, RackN has created a Digital Rebar provider for Terraform. The provider is a simple addition that take just seconds to enable. (Video Demonstrations at End of Blog)

The Terraform Bare Metal provider allows plans to provision and recover servers using a node resource.

The operation of this provider is simple and relies on standard workflow stages in Digital Rebar. Adding the Terraform Content Package installs a new stage that adds Terraform parameters. Including this stage in the global workflow will automatically register machines as available for Terraform. The integration uses two parameters to manage the server pool: Terraform Managed and Terraform Assigned.

When the Terraform provider asks for a node resource, it queries the Digital Rebar API for machines that are managed (true) and not assigned (false) plus whatever additional filters were required in the plan. The provider then uses the API to set assigned true and the requested Stage (e.g. centos-install) and polls until the node enters the Complete stage. The destroy action reverses the action to release the node. Digital Rebar uses the stage changes as a trigger to restart the machine workflow.

Using a Terraform plan with Digital Rebar, operators can manage complex data centers layouts from a single command line.

For users, all of the above steps are completely hidden. Operators can monitor the request using the Digital Rebar UX to ensure the plan is executing. In addition, plan metadata can set user or identification values to the machines when they are reserved to help track allocations. In this way, administrators can easily track and account for machines reserved via Terraform.

For full out-of-band control, users should add the RackN IPMI plugin. This adds the ability to force power states during plan execution. The provider does not require out-of-band management to function. RackN also maintains Packet.net and VirtualBox plugins with the same API as the IPMI plugin. This allows developers to easily test plans against virtual or cloud resources.

RackN customers are making big plans to use this simple and powerful integration to manage their own SDx roadmap. We’re excited to hear about new ways to improve data center operations, especially new edge ideas. Let us know what you are thinking!

Demonstration of Terraform Bare Metal Provisioning with Digital Rebar Provision V3.2

Setting up the Environment to run Digital Rebar Provision V3.2 for Terraform

Breaking the Silicon Floor – Digital Rebar v3.2 unlocks full life-cycle control for hardware provisioning

The difficulty in fully automating physical infrastructure environments, especially for distributed edge, adds significant cost, complexity and delay when building IT infrastructure. We’ve called this “underlay” or “ready state” in the past but “last mile” may be just as apt. The simple fact is that underlay is the foundation for everything you build above it so mistakes there are amplified.

Historically, simple systems still required manual or custom steps while complex systems where fragile and hard to learn. This dichotomy drives operators to add a cloud abstraction layer as a compromise because the cloud adds simple provisioning APIs at the prices of hidden operational complexity.

What if we had those simple APIs directly against the metal? Without the operational complexity?

That’s exactly what we’ve achieved in the latest Digital Rebar release. In this release, the RackN team refined the Digital Rebar control flows introduced in v3.1 based on customer and field experience. These flow are simple to understand, composable to build and amazingly fast in execution.

For example, you can build workflows that handle discovering machines with burn-in and inventory stages that install ssh keys that automatically register themselves for Terraform consumption. Our Terraform provider can then take those machines and make new workflow requests like “install CentOS” and tell me when it’s ready. When you’re finished, another workflow will teardown the system and scrub the data. That’s very cloud like behavior but directly on metal.

These workflows are designed to drive automatic behavior (like joining a Kubernetes cluster), simplify API requests (like target state for Terraform), or prepare environments for orchestration (like dynamic inventory for Ansible). They reflect our design goal to ensure that Digital Rebar integrates upstack easily.

Our point with Digital Rebar is to drive full automation down into the physical layer. By fixing the underlay, our approach accelerates and simplifies orchestration and platform layers above. We’re excited about the progress and invite you take 5 minutes to try our quick start.

Follow the Digital Rebar Community: