RackN Enterprise is a hybrid infrastructure lifecycle management platform that composes and automates operational workflows and pipelines so SREs (Site Reliability Engineers) can do their jobs faster, easier and with more predictability.
Through APIs and other means, RackN automatically determines how various CMDB tools should be evoked (upstream or downstream) during a provisioning step in a complex operational pipeline building sequence.
Along with supporting various ticketing systems and custom in-house CMDBs, RackN supports the following platforms:
Ansible is highly compatible and integrates cleanly with RackN‘s operations model because they both leverage SSH as a control mechanism. Therefore, by default, RackN manages SSH keys that can be reused by Ansible with no additional work.
The integration between RackN and Ansible is simple and powerful. As physical infrastructure is cataloged and managed, RackN creates a dynamic inventory API that can be used by Ansible playbooks and the commercial Tower product. This API provides attribute information that allows operators to categorize and target systems in optimized ways, thereby helping to manage systems at scale.
The key differences between RackN and Ansible is that OpenCrowbar (OCB) can mix and match control interfaces on a per role basis. This allows OCB to focus on hardware integrations and physical operations environments in which actions require working with multiple interfaces in sequence.
The majority of RackN and Digital Rebar leverages Chef. Consequently, the integration between Chef and RackN is strong. While RackN primarily uses Chef in “solo” mode, a Chef Server can be deployed to leverage advanced features like Birkshelf and encrypted data bags.
RackN uses the “attribute injection” pattern to ensure isolation between different Chef recipes in operation. This allows RackN to mix and match the Chef domain specific language (DSL) with other DevOps tools and control APIs. The RackN-Chef integration automatically registers nodes in the Chef Server, allowing for control to be shared between the two platforms if necessary.
In addition, RackN has a Chef Provisioning integration. This allows operators to control physical servers using the same mechanism that Chef offers for cloud provisioning.
The key differences between RackN and Chef is that RackN centralizes data in the control server instead of distributing it at the nodes. This allows for controlled orchestration processes that can sequence actions between nodes and APIs that are beyond Chef’s control.
RackN is able to build and maintain a complete Saltstack infrastructure as part of a normal deployment. These tools allow operators that utilize Saltstack to implement deployments. When new nodes are added into the system, RackN will automatically register them into the master node for management.
RackN includes a Puppet client role that automatically registers new nodes into a Puppet master infrastructure. At this time, this is primarily a hand-off to Puppet management with minimal integration.