0 comments on “Migration Best Practices from Cobbler to Digital Rebar Provision”

Migration Best Practices from Cobbler to Digital Rebar Provision

In this video, Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus provide operators real-world examples of how best to migrate your provisioning platform to Digital Rebar Provision. This blog highlights one of these migration ideas.

Scenario

  • 10 Servers running in multiple subnets
  • DHCP Server
  • Cobbler Provisioning Tool

Migration Process

  • Setup Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) in the Network
    • Create a new subnet with DHCP server installed
    • Operate the DHCP in reservation mode
  • Run DRP to discover the entire network across subnets without DHCP access
    • Create a mapping of infrastructure including MAC address to IP address
  • Migrate DRP control server by server
    • Turn off old DHCP server control for a specific MAC address and turn it on for new DHCP server
    • Reboot the specific MAC address node and DRP will manage the provisioning for that specific server
    • Confirm reset server and continue to manage the changeover server by server
  • Other Options
    • Continue to manage Cobbler for existing infrastructure and use DRP for all new nodes
    • Split provisioning services based on application being deployed

Watch the full video below to hear other scenarios presented for migration options.

Video Participants:

Rob Hirschfeld, Co-Founder/ CEO, RackN   Twitter: @zehicle
Greg Althaus, Co-Founder / CTO, RackN      Twitter: @galthaus

Get started with Digital Rebar today:

0 comments on “January 26: Weekly Review Of Digital Rebar And RackN With DevOps And Edge News”

January 26: 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)

Items of the Week

Virtually everybody is interested in doing DevOps these days, but more than that, there is tremendous pressure to do DevOps right. After all, the IT landscape is littered with technologies and initiatives that seemed to promise great things but, for one reason or another, failed to deliver.

When it comes to DevOps, the concept is solid – faster, more agile, development, lower costs, a better user experience – so the only thing that can really foul it up at this point is execution. And since DevOps requires not just a new technology but a new way of managing people and processes, there are many ways in which execution can spell the difference between success and failure.

If cloud computing has been at the top of CIO’s minds for the last dozen years, Edge Computing is now taking its place. For those not yet familiar with the term, edge computing processes data at the edge of the network, as close to the point of its creation as possible. Take for example autonomous cars, they are full of embedded technologies, sensors and communication systems continuously generating data. If they have to send the data that they collect through systems like GPS, Lidar (a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating that target with a pulsed laser light) and video cameras (they keep track of the positions of other vehicles, look out for pedestrians and obstacles) to the cloud for processing and then wait for analysis and insight before action is taken…well, accidents can happen. Much of the data that is collected at the edge of the network needs to be processed in real time by edge computing so analytics can be done and knowledge can be transferred in places where split seconds matter.

The Linux Foundation this week announced the formation of the LF Networking Fund, or LFN, an initiative to combine the multiple open source networking projects currently under its supervision.

Host to many of the top open source networking projects, The Linux Foundation said it was time to streamline how it oversees its various ventures, said Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration at The Linux Foundation.

Digital Rebar

Features:

ISO-less install – the ability to use the Repos feature to create / replace bootenv ISO pieces with remote items

Logging system update to allow for log events with configurable log levels and tracing.

RackN

This Integration Gap presents significant challenges to DevOps teams looking to deploy a variety of platforms with their chosen Orchestration tool. We seamlessly integrate the Control and Provision layer with any Orchestration or Platform chosen providing a single foundational platform to manage your infrastructure.

We’ve built a SaaS-based platform that brings the efficiency and automation of the cloud into your existing infrastructure. It’s called RackN – making provisioning, control, and orchestration simple. We built it to give organizations like yours the benefits you see others getting through public clouds like AWS and Google. Things like compliance, repeatability, scalability, security, and speed. It’s a platform made to overcome the difficult operational challenges of physical infrastructure.

Obtain access to the latest RackN technology with support and training from the RackN team. Additional services for customized engagements are available. Start your 30-day trial of RackN software today.

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

In this week’s podcast, we speak with Tim Crawford from AVOA who is ranked as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Chief Technology Officers (#4) and Top 100 Cloud Expert and Influencer. He focuses on several interesting topics:

* CIO selection of new technology for enterprise
* Challenges for Enterprise to patch and upgrade software/hardware
* Edge Computing – what it is, CIO thinking
* Vendor Landscape
* Open Source for CIOs – when to use and why

Subscribe to L8istSh9y:
SoundCloud : www.l8istSh9y.com
iTunes : itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/l8ist…d1276764266?mt=2
Stitcher : www.stitcher.com/s?fid=165143&refid=stpr
Podcast.com : www.podcasts.com/l8ist-sh9y-podcast-80

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

0 comments on “Full Stack Physical Provisioning Automation: Metal to Platform Delivery”

Full Stack Physical Provisioning Automation: Metal to Platform Delivery

RackN and the Digital Rebar community are focused on solving key issues learned from enterprise DevOps teams:

  1. Operations are inconsistent, manual and heterogeneous
  2. Foundational automation makes many problems go away
  3. “Apply, Rinse, Repeat” (aka Immutable Infrastructure)

The learnings from these experiences led the RackN founders to analyze the current state of the provisioning to platform marketplace which is currently a jumble of disconnected tools that have been architected and released over the past 20 to 30 years. As you can see in the diagram below, there exists an Integration Gap between the limited number of Provision/Control tools and a large selection of Orchestration/Platforms.

This Integration Gap presents significant challenges to DevOps teams looking to deploy a variety of platforms with their chosen Orchestration tool. We seamlessly integrate the Control and Provision layer with any Orchestration or Platform chosen providing a single foundational platform to manage your infrastructure.

With a solid foundation built on Digital Rebar and RackN, operators can proactively choose how far up the stack they wish to deploy without being locked in from old tools. For example, Digital Rebar can simply provision a Windows or Linux OS, an Ansible or Chef environment, or continue up the stack to a complete Kubernetes Cluster.

This flexibility from a single Provision and Control platform meets the needs of operators faced with complexity in heterogeneous infrastructure, clouds, and edge computing. This foundation enables IT to take advantage of new deployment concepts such as Immutable Infrastructure.  

Get started today with our 30-day trial to see how Digital Rebar and RackN can automate your provisioning and control technology to meet the rapidly accelerating demands on internal IT teams.

0 comments on “Don’t Fear the Reboot – Safe Patterns for Automating Metal”

Don’t Fear the Reboot – Safe Patterns for Automating Metal

Author: Greg Althaus, CTO/Co-Founder RackN

Over the past few years we spent time with a wide variety of IT organizations to better understand the challenges they face deploying and enabling solutions. Two key themes emerged from these conversations:

  1. Zero-Touch (or as close as possible) Infrastructure
  2. Manual Inventory and Processes Don’t Scale and are Error Prone

With these two fundamental concepts in mind, we developed a highly targeted solution built on technology from the Digital Rebar open source community:

  • Digital Rebar Provision(DRP) provides a light-weight and easy to deploy API driven system to drive machines though a complete life-cycle.
  • DRP is designed around the concept of composition; the ability to build units of function that can be added to workflows so that infrastructure can be built and rebuilt consistently with fast error paths to discover problems.
  • RackN and the community offer content packages built for DRP to meet the needs of operators.

DRP operation follows a workflow pattern for machines from discovery to provisioned to decommission. This workflow approach allows operators to stage infrastructure provisioning with checks at critical stages of the process. There are 5 common workflows built into the tool; however additional workflows can be created and customized:

  •      Workflow 1 : DISCOVERY
  •      Workflow 2 : INSTALL
  •      Workflow 3 : DECOMMISSION
  •      Workflow 4 : MAINTENANCE
  •      Workflow 5 : RESTART

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting detailed blogs about each workflow stage providing insight into why this architecture was chosen and the benefits to operators. If you are interested in learning more about the Digital Rebar community or getting started with our RackN technology built on Digital Rebar I encourage you to click below:

0 comments on “It’s past time to give Cobbler the boot! Don’t PXE like it’s 1999”

It’s past time to give Cobbler the boot! Don’t PXE like it’s 1999

An interesting paradox in technology is our desire to obsess over the latest shiny (Note our L8istSh9y Podcast) object promising the moon; however, we tend to hold on to our reliable, dependable solutions that become outdated.  A great example of this reliance on outdated technology is the well-known Linux provisioning tool Cobbler.

Cobbler was built specially for Linux in the pre-cloud days with version 2.2.3-1 released in June 2012. The product continues on a schedule of 2 releases a year with the last update in September 2017. There is no commercial support, minimal development and hardly anyone keeping the lights on.  In today’s security landscape, that’s not a safe place for a critical infrastructure service.

The Digital Rebar community has taken the learnings from the Cobbler community.

We’ve built a modern PXE provisioning tool to handle today’s heterogeneous data centers and clouds as well architecting future provisioning needs for the upcoming edge computing rollouts. We believe that our new provisioning utility offers Cobbler users an easy path forward from their existing provisioning to modernize with an active, growing community focused on security, scalability, bare metal, heterogeneous infrastructure, etc.

Here are some key concepts around Digital Rebar that substantially enhance your Cobbler solution:

    • A small stand-alone Golang binary with no external dependencies – this provides operators the flexibility to place the provisioning tool anywhere including a network switch, Raspberry Pi or server as well as processor independence such as ARM or Intel.
    • API first approach based on 12-Factor App methodology – making the API a first-class citizen allows the CLI to be dynamically generated from the API ensuring 100% coverage of API implementations within the CLI
    • Composable content – Digital Rebar is architected with the concept of small, simple modules being assembled quickly to customize a unique and complex solution. This approach permeates of all the “Content” components that create the foundational building blocks for composable provisioning activities.
    • Flexible and Integrated DHCP – automating provisioning requires managing next boot instructions in a way to coordinates with install workflow.  It’s time to stop maintaining MAC tables and spreadsheets.
    • Secure and Auditable – The Digital Rebar API was built with security in mind with key features like limited use and duration tokens.  We’ve also built a comprehensive logging and event system so you can finally bring your provisioning into your operational processes.
    • Easy Migration / Complete Coverage – Built with Cobbler users in mind, the template system for Digital Rebar is intuitive with fixes where Cobbler needed them.  Check out our Cobbler vs Digital Rebar Feature Comparison Table.

We encourage Cobbler users to visit the Digital Rebar community home page and learn more about our technology. You can immediately get started with our technology or visit our YouTube page to see recent demonstrations of Digital Rebar including our Kubernetes deployment demonstration.

More Community Links:

0 comments on “January 12: Weekly Recap of Digital Rebar, RackN and Latest Industry News”

January 12: 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

According to a recent report from Forrester, executives and DevOps practitioners are on very different pages when it comes to strategy, customer experience, and progress. Consider this: more than 60 percent of executives believe their organization’s DevOps plans have been implemented and will even expand in the new year. However, more than 50 percent of DevOps pros who are in the weeds and working through their pipelines every day disagree.

What’s leading to this disconnect?

Open source has officially been a thing for 20 years now. Did anyone notice?

No, really. For something as revolutionary as open source, you’d think it would have changed the way all software is developed, sold, and distributed. Unfortunately for those party planners looking to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of open source, it hasn’t—changed software, that is. For most developers, most of the time, software remains stubbornly proprietary.

A lot of tomorrow’s analytics will be done locally at the “edge,” or in a public or private cloud. Here’s what will drive where your analysis will happen.

Some say everything — all data and applications — will go to the cloud. Others, such as market research firm IDC, say that around 40 percent of data will be stored, managed, analyzed and kept right where it was produced, at the edge. So where’s the truth? Everywhere, actually. Analytics will be done locally at the edge of the data center, or in a public, private, or hybrid cloud.

Digital Rebar

RackN

Re-defining physical automation to make it highly repeatable and widely consumable while also meeting the necessarily complex and evolving heterogeneous data center environment is the challenge the RackN team is solving. To meet this challenge, we have developed a unique philosophy in how we build our technology; both open source Digital Rebar and the additional RackN packages.

  • Stand-alone Provisioning
  • Building Software from the API
  • Single Golang Executable
  • Modular Components – Composable Content
  • Operator Defined Workflows
  • Immutable Infrastructure
  • Distributed or Consolidated Architectures

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

In this week’s podcast, we speak with Stephen O’Donnell, Senior Analyst for Global Hive and author of What Every CIO Wants. He focuses on several interesting topics:

  • Building Massively Scalable Datacenters
  • What is the Edge? Complete 25 Use Case Definition
  • Enterprise Datacenters Move to Edge
  • Layering Solutions on Edge Services

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

 

0 comments on “RackN and Digital Rebar Philosophy of Provisioning”

RackN and Digital Rebar Philosophy of Provisioning

Re-defining physical automation to make it highly repeatable and widely consumable while also meeting the necessarily complex and evolving heterogeneous data center environment is the challenge the RackN team is solving. To meet this challenge, we have developed a unique philosophy in how we build our technology; both open source Digital Rebar and the additional RackN packages.

  • Stand-alone Provisioning
  • Building Software from the API
  • Single Golang Executable
  • Modular Components – Composable Content
  • Operator Defined Workflows
  • Immutable Infrastructure
  • Distributed or Consolidated Architectures

Stand-alone Provisioning

It is critical that Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) provides operators the maximum flexibility in terms of where to run the service (Server, Top-of-Rack Switch, ARM, Intel, etc) as well as removal of any dependencies that might restrict its deployment.  Each environment has it’s own unique Infrastructure DNA; the hardware, operating systems, and application stacks that drive the Infrastructure underlay.

Building Software from the API

The Digital Rebar Provision solution is built with an API first mentality.  Features and enhancements are implemented as an API (making it a first-class citizen), and the CLI is dynamically generated from the API which insures 100% coverage of API implementations within the CLI.  

This methodology also allows for the CLI to directly follow the structure and syntax of the API, making it easy for an Operator or Developer to understand and flexibly interchange the API and CLI syntax.  

At RackN we believe in strongly in the 12-Factor App methodology for designing modern software.  DRP is a direct reflection of these principles.

Single Golang Executable

DRP is built with Golang which is a modern Procedural language that is easily cross-compiled for multiple operating systems and processor architectures.  As a benefit, the DRP service and CLI tool (dr-provision and drpcli respectively) can run on platforms that range from small Raspberry Pi embedded systems, network switches at the Top-of-Rack, huge Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) servers, to everything in between.  It is currently compiled and runs on Linux (arm, intel, 32 bit, and 64 bit), Mac OS X (64 bit), and Windows (64 bit).

The dr-provision binary is very small and lightweight, requiring almost zero external dependencies.  Current external dependencies are unzip, pk7zip, and bsdtar, and these dependencies should be removed in a future version.  At only 30 MByte in size, it requires fairly little resources to run.  

Modular Components ~ Composable Content

Modular architecture allows us to create complex solutions from a set of simple building blocks that offer functionality that is well tested. Breaking complex problems down in to small components, and then allowing strong templating capabilities creates a structure that allows for strong reuse patterns.   This approach permeates all of the “Content” components that create the foundational building blocks for composable provisioning activities.  

Operator Defined Workflows

Each environment has a unique set of services, applications, tooling, and practices for managing the Infrastructure.  Taking the concepts of Composable Content, we allow an operator or developer a flexible structure in which they have control in determining how loosely or tightly to integrate the DRP provisioning services in to their environment.  Every customer environment has a unique set of tools, and this methodology allows for smooth integration with those operational principles

Immutable Infrastructure    

Maintaining hardware and software in a massive data center or cloud is a significant challenge without the additional overhead of ensuring that patches are properly applied. Any changes to an active solution can introduce complications on a live system which is a major barrier to having security updates and other patches completed in a timely manner.

A better method is to only deploy a “golden image” to the live system and rather than patch each individual instance, simply tear down the instance and replace with a new copy of the “golden image.”  All patches can be applied and tested to create a new golden image which is easily rolled out in the create – destroy- re-create model of  immutability.

Distributed or Consolidated Architectures

Traditional data center and lab environments utilize centralized provisioning services.  While DRP has strong support for this scale-up or consolidated model, shifting patterns in application and service deployment topology dictates an evolving provisioning service solution.  Current Internet-of-Things (IoT), Edge, and Fog architectures distribute resources across disperse environments.

In the traditional model, a large scale operator might support a handful of datacenters with 10s of thousands of hosts in each facility.   These new trending architecture patterns can encompass 1000s of different locations, each hosting a few dozen to a few hundred hosts.  This shift creates significant burden on operational and infrastructure management tooling to support the complexities of these scale-out designs.

With strong multi-endpoint management tooling, the RackN portal can easily support both models for provisioning.  Long-lived scale-up environments with a service that is updated, upgraded, managed, loved, and cared for can exist seamlessly alongside environments with a create/destroy pattern that treats 1000s of provisioning endpoints as disposable assets.

0 comments on “January 5 – Weekly Recap of Digital Rebar, RackN and Latest Industry News”

January 5 – 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

Operations engineers have a few complaints about working with developers that shouldn’t be dismissed as merely rants because they are very real issues that Ops faces.  Granted, developers have their own gripes, although this article is meant to provide some insight about what developers should know about operations, not the reverse.

The ubiquity of the Kubernetes container deployment platform in virtualization computing environments is due in large part to its functionality, but the open source system is also serving enterprises transforming their businesses through its educational community.

MSPs want to deliver a range of cloud services to their customers, from public cloud to managed private clouds. Typically, they think of a private cloud as a customised, one-off solution for a specific customer that comes with dedicated hardware and a custom service configuration. However, provisioning a private cloud doesn’t have to be a painful, customised activity that limits time to revenue.

Digital Rebar

 

  • Digital Rebar Community Meetup – Jan 2, 2018

RackN

Working with physical hardware is viewed as messy and is not going to be a trending hashtag anytime soon. We are ok with that. In fact, we view ourselves as Internet Plumbers keeping the “pipes” open without any hesitancy of getting dirty.

Watch the recording of this webinar to learn more about the RackN Kubernetes installation integration using community tools like Kubeadm demonstrated at the recent KubeCon event 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.

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

In this week’s podcast, we speak with Dr. Will Venters an Assistant Professor at London School of Economics and co-author of Moving to the Cloud Corporation. This podcast focuses on the changes in innovation in the era of cloud computing, impact of data for edge computing and design, and cargo cult.

UPCOMING EVENTS  

0 comments on “Virtual Toilet Backing Up? Internet Plumbers get the dirty jobs”

Virtual Toilet Backing Up? Internet Plumbers get the dirty jobs

The latest mantra in IT is to cleanly abstract away everything including hardware, software, management, processes, etc. Take “serverless” for example – there are still servers involved but much more hidden than before.  This abstraction obsession is rapidly changing the way that applications and services are developed and delivered.

However, the underlying abstractions hide, not remove infrastructure; it is still there and, like plumbing, simply becomes someone else’s problem to deal with. At RackN, we are focused on solving these hidden plumbing problems at the physical infrastructure operations layer.

Working with physical hardware is viewed as messy and is not going to be a trending hashtag anytime soon. We are ok with that. In fact, we view ourselves as Internet Plumbers keeping the “pipes” open without any hesitancy of getting dirty.

Part of our mission is to standardize the processes in physical ops to provide site reliability engineers and DevOps teams with an automated, open, secure, scalable, and reliable solution. Our solution is built not only for today’s needs but also the coming Edge computing revolution whereby physical ops will move from hundreds of nodes to hundreds of thousands of endpoints.

We offer several methods to being immediately working with our technology:

  • Digital Rebar Provision– Our open source DHCP/PXE/IPXE service with community or corporate plug-ins for additional features
  • RackN Trial – Get access to our solution built on Digital Rebar Provision; contact RackN sales

Based on a prior Rob Hirschfeld Post Physical Ops = Plumbers of the Internet. Celebrating dirty IT jobs 8 bit style

0 comments on “December 22 – Weekly Recap of Digital Rebar, RackN and Latest Industry News”

December 22 – 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

DevOps is a means to an end — not doubt it will also evolve, as even iterative methods need to move with the times (keep an eye on how analytics and machine learning can further speed up the development process and increase operational efficiency).

Year after year businesses face challenges when it comes to security, and 2017 was no different. Instead of trying to lecture the industry about the importance of application security testing, organizations tried to find new ways to bring security front and center.

“I think edge is to fog as…apple is to fruit,” Helder Antunes, chairman of the OpenFog Consortium explained. “We look at fog computing as an end-to-end architecture from the cloud to the very thing connected. It encompasses bits and pieces from the cloud. Edge means different things to different people. Edge is of course a big part of it. When you talk about fog nodes and fog gateways, aggregating sensory devices at the edge, it is in essence an aspect of edge computing.”

Digital Rebar

RackN

White Papers 

RackN allows Enterprises to quickly transform their current physical data centers from basic workflows to cloud-like integrated processes. We turned decades of data center experience into data center provisioning software so simple it only takes 5 minutes to install and provides a progressive path to full autonomy. Our critical insight was to deliver automation in a layered way that allows operations teams to quickly adopt the platform into their current processes and incrementally add autonomous and self-service features.

READ PAPER

 

 

RackN’s mission is to fix the current lack of fast, simple and standard ways to manage fundamental data center infrastructure activities. These include updating server firmware, operating systems and integrating provisioning into application life-cycles. RackN on-premises software integrates easily with existing processes while providing a clear path from home-grown scripting to common best-practices. RackN customers achieve a 10x performance improvement by automating provisioning and orchestration. Like any building activity, a solid foundation makes the entire stack more robust and secure.

READ PAPER 

 

L8ist Sh9y Podcast

In this week’s L8ist Sh9y Podcast, we bring on the Digital Rebar team at RackN to discuss several issues they have working on over the past few months:

* Patch Rest APIs and CLI : Scaling Challenges Require Patch
* Swagger API History and Changes : No CLI Generation
* Integrations to Existing Tools up the Stack

UPCOMING EVENTS – Stay Tuned for our 2018 Plan

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