0 comments on “Week in Review: Provision Physical and Virtual from a Single Platform”

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.

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0 comments on “Create your first CentOS 7 Machine on RackN Portal with Digital Rebar Provision”

Create your first CentOS 7 Machine on RackN Portal with Digital Rebar Provision

This is the third blog in a series demonstrating the steps required to complete a series of tasks in the RackN Portal using Digital Rebar Provision.

Prerequisite

You will need an account on the RackN Portal with an active Digital Rebar Provision endpoint running. In this How To, I am using Packet.net for my infrastructure as I have no local hardware available to build a local system.

For information on creating a Digital Rebar Provision endpoint and connecting it to a RackN Portal please see these two prior How To blogs:

Step 1 : Create a new Machine on Packet.net

The RackN Portal needs a physical machine for Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) to discover and track in the Machine section of the UX. I am providing steps to create that machine on my Packet.net account:

  • Login into your Packet.net account

In the image above, I show my DRP endpoint (spectordemo-drp-ewr1-00) and a machine (spectordemo-machines-ewr1-01) I created during the Deploy and Test DRP in less than 10 Minutes How To guide. Note – my machines are Type 0 which is about $0.07 an hour to run and the location is at the EWR1 Packet.net data center.

  • Select +Add New to create a new physical machine on Packet.net

Enter the following information for the entry fields on the “Deploy on Demand” page:

  • Hostname: Enter anything you want with a .com (e.g. spectortest.com)
  • Location: Choose the same location of your endpoint – see screen above (e.g. EWR1)
  • Type: Type 0 (cheapest machine ~ $.07 per hour)
  • OS: Custom iPXE ; a new window will appear below that selection area after choosing Custom iPXE
    • Enter the http address of your Endpoint along with “:default.ipxe” at then end so you get “http://#.#.#.#:8091:default.ipxe” (NOTE – the RackN portal address will have :8092, be sure to switch here to :8091)
  • Select the “User Data” button and a new pop-up screen will appear; select SAVE

Packet will then show the new machine as it is setup with the color going from yellow to green during setup. If you click “View Progress” you can monitor the machine start.

Within a few minutes, the machine will switch from yellow to green at which point you will have created a new physical machine to provision with DRP.

Step 2 : Provision a new CentOS 7 Machine from with the RackN Portal 

  • Prepare the Global Workflow

The default Workflow available needs to be removed if you are working with Packet.net machines. If your screen does not look like the final Workflow image shown below, take the following steps:

  1. Delete the Workflow by clicking “Remove” on each step until it is removed
  2. Click the Workflow Wizard to create the 3 Stages shown below

The final Workflow page should look like the image below with three separate Stages and follow-on steps for processing.

  • Confirm new Machine is Visible to RackN Portal

The newly created machine on Packet.net should now be visible in your Bulk Actions page as shown below. The Stage will be set to “sledgehammer-wait and BootEnv to “sledgehammer.”

If the Stage for the new machine is not correct, reboot the machine using the Plugin Action -> powercycle option. The machine should then set to the proper Stage and BootEnv as shown above.

  • Change the Stage and BootEnv to CentOS 7 Settings

Before this final step, be sure to check the machine in the Packet.net settings that it is set for PXE Boot to YES/ON.

In the Bulk Action page, you can change the Stage and BootEnv settings. Select the newly created machine and set the Stages to “centos-7-install” as shown below and then click the 4-arrow button.

Once complete you will see the following setup on the Bulk Action page.

  • Reboot the new Machine in Packet.net

The final step to provision this new machine from DRP is to change the Plugin Action option to “powercycle” and press the hand with figure down. Of course, make sure your machine is selected as show in the image above.

Step 3 : Monitor the Installation of CentOS 7 on the new Machine

To monitor the activity on your new machine you will need to ssh into that machine from a terminal window. To get the ssh key, I selected the new machine in the RackN Portal and grabbed the content from the >_packet/sos: line below. In this case I used 9a17d7d1-fa74-4757-8683-82b57e8e3ed2@sos.sjc1.packet.net.

In the same directory you ran the “pkt-demo” How To in the first blog, you will see a file like “spectordemo-machines-ssh-key” depending on the names you used in the first blog.  Run this command:

ssh -i spectordemo-machines-ssh-key 9a17d7d1-fa74-4757-8683-82b57e8e3ed2@sos.sjc1.packet.net

This will connect to the new machine so you can see activity. For the machine waiting at sledgehammer-wait you will see the following image:

Once the reboot is executed in STEP 3 / (Reboot the New Machine in Packet.net) you will see the machine shut down and disconnect you. Run the same ssh command and you will see this screen while the machine reboots:

The machine will then move into the CentOS 7 install and you will see a sequence of Linux install information such as the following:

This completes the provisioning of a new machine on Packet.net using the RackN Portal Workflow process.

0 comments on “Provision Virtual Machines with an Open Source Physical Infrastructure Solution”

Provision Virtual Machines with an Open Source Physical Infrastructure Solution

Rob Hirschfeld, CEO/Co-Founder, RackN created a new Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) video highlighting the creation of virtual machines within the standard automation process. Highlights:

  • Create a New Virtual Machine from the Physical Provisioning Tool – DRP
  • VirtualBox IMPI Plugin – Preview of Pre-Release Tool
  • RackN Portal will inventory virtual machines available on network for management
  • Packet IMPI Plugin – enable creation of VMs on Packet cloud hardware

This expansion to virtual machines allows DRP users to not only provision physical infrastructure but virtual as well both locally and in clouds.

More information on the Digital Rebar community and Digital Rebar Provision:

0 comments on “RackN Portal Management Connection to the 10 Minute Demo”

RackN Portal Management Connection to 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.

NOTE – You will need to run the demo process again to have both the DRP installation and endpoint active on Packet.net.

Current Status

There will be two machines running in Packet:

  • Digital Rebar Provision running on an Endpoint
  • A new physical node provided by DRP

In order to have run the process in the previous blog, you will have created a RackN Portal account to get the RackN code to add into the Secrets file.

Steps to Connect RackN Portal

When you first go to the RackN Portal you will see the following screen:

The first step is to enter the Endpoint Address which will come from the Packet.net Endpoint server setup in the previous blog. To get the address go to the “Configure DRP” step and you will see the following which contains the Endpoint http address:

running ACTION:  drp-setup-demo
+ set +x
+ drpcli –endpoint=https://147.##.##.63:8092 bootenvs uploadiso centos-7-install
{
 “Path”: “CentOS-7-x86_64-Minimal-1708.iso”,

“Size”: 830472192
}
+ set +x
{
 “centos-7-install”: “packet-ssh-keys:Success”,

“discover”: “packet-discover:Success”,
“packet-discover”: “centos-7-install:Reboot”,
“packet-ssh-keys”: “complete-nowait:Success”
}

Enter the following https address https://147.##.##.63:8092 into the Endpoint Address and press the blue arrow. You will then be taken to the login screen where you enter the standard login info:

Select “Defaults” to have the system fill in the Login information. If you need more information on this screen, please review the Install Guide.

RackN Portal Tour

After completing the login your RackN Portal screen will look like this:

At this point, we want to see the new node that was created in the final step of our demo process. Select “Machines” on the left-hand navigation below SYSTEM and you will see the new machine that was created. NOTE – The Red X next to Subnets is appropriate for Packet.net infrastructure.

You can confirm this machine name with the name of the machine in the last stage of the process. Both the RackN Portal and the data below indicate that I have created a new node called “spectordemo-machines-ewr1-01“.

Selecting the newly created machine you will see the following information:

In the next blog, we will use the RackN Portal to create a second node and look at the Workflow process to install an operating system on both nodes.

If you have any questions or would like to get started learning more about Digital Rebar Provision and RackN please join the Slack community.

0 comments on “Deploy and Test Digital Rebar Provision in less than 10 Minutes : How To Guide”

Deploy and Test Digital Rebar Provision in less than 10 Minutes : How To Guide

Part 1 of 3 in Digital Rebar Provision How To Blog Series

For operators looking to better understand Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) RackN has developed an easy to follow process leveraging Packet.net for physical device creation. This process allows new users to create a physical DRP endpoint and then provision a new physical node on Packet. Information and code to run this guide is available at https://github.com/digitalrebar/provision/tree/master/examples/pkt-demo.

In this blog, I will take the reader through the process with images based on running via my Mac.

SETUP

  • You will need an account on Packet at https://www.packet.net/. I created a personal account and entered a credit card to pay for the services used. The cost on Packet to run this is minimal.
    • From your Packet.net account you will need to create a NEW Project and an API Key. The API key will look like 7DE1Be6NLjGP6KUH4mbUAbysjwOx9kHo and the Project will look like b5d29881-8561-4f3b-8efb-2d61003fe2e7. NOTE – The values shown are changed and will not work in Packet.
  • You will need an account on the RackN Portal via https://portal.rackn.io. From this account you will need your Username which looks like t98743fk-3865-4315-8d11-11127p9e41bd. NOTE – The value shown is not a valid Username.
  • Mac Users – I needed to have Homebrew installed on my machine to run this demo script. Run the 2 steps below…

PROCESS

  • Git Clone the guide (DO NOT run w/ “sudo”)
  • Edit the Secrets file with Packet and RackN Portal info from Setup
    • vi private-content/secrets

# specify your API KEY that has access to PROJECT ID below
API=”insert_api_key_here”
# specify the PROJECT ID that API KEY has access to
PROJECT=”insert_project_id_here”
# RackN Username – necessary to download registered (but free) content packs
USERNAME=”insert username here”

  • Run the demo-run.sh Script
    • ./demo-run.sh : this will launch the guide and you will see the Digital Rebar bear along with a request to run the next step

  • <RETURN> “Install Terraform”

  • <RETURN> “Install Secrets”

  • <RETURN> “Generate Public/Private RSA Keys”

  • <RETURN> “Packet SSH Key”

  • <RETURN> “2nd Packet SSH Key”

  • <RETURN> Creating the DRP Endpoint on Packet

  • <RETURN> Create a Terraform Plan

  • <RETURN> Download DRP to Endpoint

  • <RETURN> SSH Keygen

  • <RETURN> SSH Keyscan

  • <RETURN> Install DRP onto Packet Host Endpoint

Additional Installation Content Not Shown

  • <RETURN> Configure DRP

Additional Configuration Content Not Shown

NOTE – Getting a FAILED at this stage is expected and you should continue

  • <RETURN> Setup DRP Endpoint

  • <RETURN> Create new Packet Physical Node form DRP Endpoint

At this point you will have 2 machines running in Packet:

  • Digital Rebar Provision running on an Endpoint
  • A new physical node provisioned by DRP
  • To clean-up this process and shut down the 2 Packet machines run the following command ./bin/control.sh cleanup
    • It will clean up Packet as well as reset all files back to the original state when cloned from github.

In my next blog, I will introduce the process to connect your Packet Endpoint machine to the RackN Portal so you can see the newly created node and begin working with it from the RackN Portal.

If you have any questions, please leverage the RackN Slack #Community channel where Digital Rebar community members and RackN engineers are available to assist.

0 comments on “Redefining PXE Boot Provisioning for the Modern Data Center”

Redefining PXE Boot Provisioning for the Modern Data Center

Over the past 20 years, Linux admins have defined provisioning with a limited scope; PXE boot with Cobbler. This approach continues to be popular today even though it only installs an operating system limiting the operators’ ability to move beyond this outdated paradigm

Digital Rebar is the answer operators have been looking for as provisioning has taken on a new role within the data center to include workflow management, infrastructure automation, bare metal, virtual machines inside and outside the firewall as well as the coming need for edge IoT management. The active open source community is expanding the capabilities of provisioning ensuring operators a new foundational technology to rethink how data centers can be managed to meet today’s rapid delivery requirements.

Digital Rebar was architected with the global Cobbler user-base in mind to not only simplify the transition but also offer a set of common packages that are shareable across the community to simplify and automate repetitive tasks; freeing up operators to spend more time focusing on key issues instead of finding new OS packages for example.

I encourage you to take 15 minutes and visit the Digital Rebar community to learn more about this technology and how you can up-level your organization’s capability to automate infrastructure at scale,

0 comments on “Week in Review: Automation and Scale are a Must for the Edge”

Week in Review: Automation and Scale are a Must for the Edge

Welcome to our new format for the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. It contains the same great information you are accustomed to; however, I have reorganized it to place a new section at the start with my thoughts on various topics. You can still find the latest news items related to Edge, DevOps and other relevant topics below.

Automation and Scale at the Edge

Edge computing presents significant challenges to operations teams as there will be hundreds of thousands of endpoints to provision, manage and secure. Unable to physically access each of these endpoints, operations must remotely access with a powerful automation tool to ensure service uptime.

RackN solutions are architected from the ground of to enable this remote automation. Here is Rob Hirschfeld, Co-Founder/CEO of RackN with more details.

Building an Operator Community

We are building an operators community sharing best practices and code to reuse across work sites to fully automate data centers. Working together operators can solve operational challenges for not just their infrastructure, but also find common patterns to leverage across a broad set of architectures.

Community is a powerful force in the software industry and there is no reason why those concepts cannot be leveraged by operators and DevOps teams to completely change the ROI of running a data center. RackN is founded on this belief that working together we can transform data center management via automation and physical ops.

Read More


News

  • Edge Computing

    ADVA Optical Networking will host a joint demonstration with BT to showcase end-to-end, multi-layer transport network slicing and assurance.

    The demonstration, which takes place at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, will show how edge computing and network slicing techniques can help enable emerging 5G applications. It marks the beginning of a long-term research collaboration between the two companies, focused on network slicing implementations.

    AT&T on Tuesday announced a pair of steps in the carrier’s ongoing edge computing efforts.

    The company launched the first project at its previously announced edge test zone in Palo Alto, Calif., and joined a new open source project focused on edge cloud infrastructure.

  • DevOps

    TechRepublic spoke with Datadog chief product officer Amit Agarwal to explain why DevOps is so important, and where it’s headed.

    Sometimes, all it takes to get focus on an elusive subject like the DevOps process is a bit of a name change. Perhaps that will be the case here, when it comes to a new term I’ve only started hearing over the last few months: intent-based DevOps.
    I first heard it on a conference floor, and while many were talking about DevOps successes, others were wondering what it was going to take to achieve scale through the enterprise. Intent-based DevOps felt intriguing — kind of a “less is more” approach to a sweeping development and deployment strategy that still seems too large to be easily consumed.

RackN

Digital Rebar Community

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

Social Media

0 comments on “Week in Review: common customer challenges and news on DevOps and edge computing”

Week in Review: common customer challenges and news on DevOps and edge computing

 

Welcome to our new format for the RackN and Digital Rebar Weekly Review. It contains the same great information you are accustomed to; however, I have reorganized it to place a new section at the start with my thoughts on various topics. You can still find the latest news items related to Edge, DevOps and other relevant topics below.

Common Customer Challenges in Infrastructure Automation

RackN was started to solve the challenges faced in provisioning today’s heterogeneous IT environments with bare metal, containers, VMs, and in the future edge. Here are some common issues we are solving for today:

  • How can I eliminate manual, repetitive tasks that often lead to mistakes?
  • How can I merge my 15 different custom provisioning tools to 1 solution?
  • How can leave Cobbler and move to a modern solution without disrupting my servers?
  • How can I run my data center operationally like a cloud provider?
  • How can I manage a heterogeneous environment without customization for each component?
  • How can I reliably patch my software and hardware to upgrade security without significant downtown?

If these issues sound familiar to you, it’s time to learn more about RackN and how we are automating infrastructure with physical operations solutions. Contact us or visit www.rackn.com.

RackN Monthly Newsletter

We distribute a monthly email newsletter on the 2nd Monday every month focused on a common customer issue. This month’s topic is Cobbler replacement. See it here.


News

RackN

Digital Rebar Community

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

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0 comments on “RackN talks Cloud Native Landscape on Rishidot.TV”

RackN talks Cloud Native Landscape on Rishidot.TV

Rob Hirschfeld speaks on Rishidot.TV  as part of the Cloud Native Landscape video interview series. Questions asked:

  • Background on RackN
  • Cloud Native Ecosystem Fit – embracing DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering
    • Running “Cloud” in their existing data centers
  •  Differentiation – Build on open source Digital Rebar replacing Cobbler, Maas, and other provisioning tools
    • API driven, Infrastructure as Code feel
  • Use Cases –  Immutable Infrastructure & API driven design
    • Image-based Deployments direct to Metal
    • CI/CD infrastructure, zero-touch automation

 

0 comments on “February 9 – Weekly Review Of Digital Rebar And RackN With DevOps And Edge News”

February 9 – Weekly Review Of Digital Rebar And RackN With DevOps And Edge 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)

News Items of the Week

As we develop increasingly sophisticated technologies like self-driving cars and industrial internet of things sensors, it’s going to require that we move computing to the edge. Essentially this means that instead of sending data to the cloud for processing, it needs to be done right on the device itself because even a little bit of latency is too much.

Intel announced a new chip today, called the Intel Xeon D-2100 processor, to help customers who want to move computing to the edge. It’s part of an effort by the chip giant to stay ahead of emerging technology trends like edge computing and the Internet of Things.

Someone’s been kicking up the “NoOps” ant pile again. There it was, sitting there finally rebuilt after the annual upturning, and The Lord of Cartography, Simon Wardley says: “I think you’ll find that the new legacy is going to be DevOps.” That said, it is winter, so the ants are moving a bit slower than usual.

The increased demand for cost-efficient hosted services to achieve increased performance, streamlined data operations, and data security would result in a higher adoption of bare metal cloud in various verticals within the near future. Currently, the world bare metal cloud market is driven by telecom & IT due to the growing big data and increasing demand for effective storage. However, advertising is the most money making end use segment and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period.

Bare metal cloud offers many advantages such as increased security, easy maintenance of records, monitoring activities in commercial & residential areas, and empowering nations against terrorism & external threats at different locations. The adoption of hosted services is significantly high in the telecom & IT end use industry, owing to the enhanced demand for virtual storage facility.

Digital Rebar

Digital Rebar is a community-based solution for an open PXE provisioning solution for infrastructure including bare metal, cloud, and edge.

RackN

How secure is your infrastructure? Not just your internal data centers, but what about your networks connecting to public clouds or hosting providers? How about your corporate data which could be anywhere in the world as you certainly have Shadow IT somewhere?

RackN believes that IT security begins with a secure foundation for provisioning not only within your data center but into your cloud environments as well. Having a single tool architected with security as a key feature allows SecOps to spend more time worrying about protecting attacks at the application and data storage layer instead of allowing attacks at the metal.

A common side-effect of rapid growth for any organization is the introduction of complexity and one-off solutions to keep things moving regardless of the long-term impact. Over time, these decisions add up to create a chaotic environment for IT teams who find themselves unable to find an appropriate time to stop and reset.

IT operations teams also struggle in this environment as management knowledge for all these technologies are not often shared appropriately and it is common to have only 1 operator capable of supporting specific technologies. Obviously, enterprises are at great risk when knowledge is not shared and there is no standard process across a team.

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

In this week’s podcast, we speak with Paul Teich, Principal Analyst, Tirias Research. Paul offered his insight into several key industry trends as well as the recent Spectre and Meltdown discoveries.

* Spectre and Meltdown – Will this drive additional security focus?
* Augmented Reality and AI is the holy grail of Edge and Cloud
* Capabilities of 5G and its impact over next 10 years
* Why is Hyper Converged Infrastructure popular?

UPCOMING EVENTS

Follow the latest info on RackN and Digital Rebar events at www.rackn.com/events

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