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.

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