Cloud technology enabled a create-destroy infrastructure process that is now seen as common: launching and destroying virtual machines and containers. This process is referred to as immutable infrastructure. Until now, this tech has not been available to operators within a data center. RackN technology supports customers who want to enable immutability within a data center on physical infrastructure.

In this post, I will highlight the problems faced by operators in deploying services at scale, and will introduce the immutability solution available from RackN. In addition, I have added two background videos to provide background as well as a demonstration of Linux and Windows image deployments on RackN using this methodology.

Why is Immutable Infrastructure Hard for Traditional Data Centers?

Traditional data center operations provision and deploy services to a node before configuring the application. This post-deployment configuration introduces mutability into the infrastructure. This is due to dependency issues such as operating system updates, library changes, and patches. Even worse, these changes make it incredibly difficult to rollback a change to a previous version should the update cause an issue.

Looking at patch management highlights key problems faced by operators. Applying patches across multiple nodes may lead to inconsistent services with various dependency changes impacting  software as well as hardware. Additionally, the ability to apply these patches require root access to the nodes opening a security vulnerability.

Solving for On-Premises

These problems can be avoided by moving the configuration of a service before deployment. Doing so delivers a complete runnable image for execution. However, there is some initialization that is hardware dependent and should only be run once (Cloud-Init) allowing a variety of hardware to be used.

This new approach moves the patching stage earlier in the process. This enables operators to solve many on-premises problems:

  • Ensures a consistent deployment image without the possibility of drift.
  • Prevents security issues as no root access is required.
  • Simplifies the ability to instantly and quickly revert to a previously running image.

Immutable Infrastructure Overview

Want more details? Rob Hirschfeld makes the case of immutable infrastructure on bare metal using RackN technology in this video. Check it out for the complete story highlighted in this blog post.

Demo Time!

In this demonstration, Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus do a complete immutable image deployment of a Linux server and a Windows server using the RackN Portal in less than 20 minutes.

Learn More

Interested in learning more? Get started with RackN today to learn more about how you can change your model to this immutability approach.

  • Join the Digital Rebar Community to learn the basics of the Digital Rebar Provision (DRP).
  • Create an account on the RackN Portal to simplify DRP installation and management.
  • Join the RackN Trial program to obtain access to advanced RackN features.

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