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Data Center’s Last Mile: Zero Touch Metal Automation

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The slide-deck is an excellent RackN and Digital Rebar overview created by Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus, co-founders of RackN on the critical issue facing data center operations teams. Their open-source based offering completes the integration challenge existing between platforms/orchestration tools and control/provision technology.

By integrating with the platform and orchestration solutions, RackN is able to replace the control and provisioning tools without adding complexity or replacing established technology.

Rob Hirschfeld (CEO) & Greg Althaus (CTO)
November, 2017

This slide deck goes along with the YouTube video at https://youtu.be/qez1lpob8UM.

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Data Center’s Last Mile: Zero Touch Metal Automation

  1. 1. Bringing Cloud Native Architecture to Physical Infrastructure Rob Hirschfeld (CEO) & Greg Althaus (CTO) November, 2017
  2. 2. 2 An eight year history building physical automation Learned many DevOps lessons in the field then created first OpenStack installer: “Crowbar” 1) 2) Rob Hirschfeld Greg Althaus
  3. 3. 3 Lack of hardware integratation reduces flexibility, increases costs Provision displacing Control displacing Orchestrate co-exist Platforms collaborative INTEGRATION GAP
  4. 4. 4 Don’t replace good orchestration tools and platforms! But, let’s make those tools work for physical and cloud Provision displacing Control displacing Orchestrate co-exist Platforms collaborative
  5. 5. 5 RackN provides unified management and automation packages Digital Rebar is open source, on-premises provisioning endpoint
  6. 6. 6 Configuration packages are composable so that sites can combine shared, commercial and custom automation. Architectured to have sharable components that can centrally validated then field upgraded.
  7. 7. 7 Rack PXE DR Provision handles boot requests using native O/S installers. DR Agent ● runs post-provision scripts without SSH. ● can stream images to disk. ● hands off to other agents like Chef, Puppet or Ansible if needed. Server Server Server Server Server O/S Kick Provision Service AgentPost Register / Run
  8. 8. 8 Provides all core provisioning protocols from a single executable. Small enough to run embedded in a switch, and can scale to 1000s of machines. Configured via REST API with a 12-factor design pattern. Self-contained. No external dependencies. Digital Rebar Provision Service Core Services: *DHCP or Provision services are optional depending on configuration requirements. API / UI Service API (/api/v3) UI Redirect (/ui)8092/tcp DHCP*: Address Management Next Boot Services67/udp PROVISION*: PXE Boot Images Dynamic Templates Static Files Config Data File System69/udp 8091/tcp TFTP HTTPS DHCP HTTP No External Database Required
  9. 9. 9 Centered on Open Source Provisioning Building management tools and integration ecosystem Down Stack Hardware Integrations Up Stack Platform Integrations RackN Support Multi-Site Syncronizer RackN Self-Service Portal Open Digital Rebar Community Content Packages Advanced Content Packages
  10. 10. The hardware automation problem is NOT the lack of provisioning…
  11. 11. 12 Provisioning System Requested State Returned State
  12. 12. 13 Provision requests are for a system state with optional parameters. The intermediate changes to achieve the state are not exposed to the requester. Operators of the provisioning system require high transparency, staged operation and control. Provisioning System Reset Join Install Config Test Requested State Returned State
  13. 13. 14 Physical Server reboot reboot New Server RAM BOOT Discovery & Inventory DISK BOOT Production O/S RAM BOOT Clean & Recover Install O/S Kickstart Template Control Tasks & Plugins Provision DHCP, PXE & Register Control Tasks & Plugins Provision DHCP, PXE & Register Provision DHCP, PXE & Register O/S Install ImageDiscovery Image Recovery Image
  14. 14. 15 Digital Rebar Scaffold Distributed On-Premises Discover Customer Burn-In Install Chain Next RAID & BIOS Chain Next Post- Provision Hand OffChain Next Chain Next
  15. 15. 16 Digital Rebar Scaffold Distributed On-Premises Discover Customer Burn-In Install Register Inventory Log Notify Verify Alert Ops Ticket Reset Chain Next Install Network Grant SSH Notify RAID & BIOS Inventory BIOS RAID IPMI Chain Next Post- Provision Grant SSH Secure CMDB Notify Hand OffChain Next Chain Next
  16. 16. 17 Digital Rebar Scaffold Distributed On-Premises Discover Customer Burn-In Install Register Inventory Log Notify Verify Alert Ops Ticket Reset Chain Next Install Network Grant SSH Notify RAID & BIOS Inventory BIOS RAID IPMI Chain Next Post- Provision Grant SSH Secure CMDB Notify Hand OffChain Next Chain Next Specialized Actions Disabled Features Proprietary Content Partner Integrations Customized Functionality
  17. 17. 18 New Servers Digital Rebar Discover & Inventory Digital Rebar Reconfigure Servers Terraform Create Request Servers Terraform Destroy Release Servers Digital Rebar Reconfigure Servers Server Pool Server Pool Server Pool 1 3 2 4 5 7 6 9 8 A
  18. 18. 19 New Servers Digital Rebar Discover & Inventory Digital Rebar Reconfigure Servers Terraform Create Request Servers Terraform Destroy Release Servers Digital Rebar Reconfigure Servers Server Pool Server Pool Server Pool 1 3 2 4 5 7 6 9 8 A
  19. 19. using Terraform Provision https://youtu.be/6MLyUVgnVo4
  20. 20. 21 Rack PXE DR Provision handles boot requests using native O/S installers. DR Agent ● runs post-provision scripts without SSH. ● can stream images to disk. ● hands off to other agents like Chef, Puppet or Ansible if needed. Server Server Server Server Server O/S Kick Provision Service AgentPost Register / Run
  21. 21. 22 Provision then Configure/Upgrade Base O/S Configuration Tooling App0 App1 AppN ... Provision then Destroy then Provision Hardware Config O/S0 Init0 App0 H/W0 O/S1 Init1 App1 H/W1 O/SN InitN AppN H/WN ...
  22. 22. 23 Provision then Destroy then Provision Faster and more predictable (CI/CD) Matches cloud and container patterns Is more portable between environments O/S0 Init0 App0 H/W0 O/S1 Init1 App1 H/W1 O/SN InitN AppN H/WN ...

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