RackN maintains a comprehensive catalog of tooling for operating systems (O/Ses) and basic provisioning operations.  Since Digital Rebar is designed to be an integrated platform, components are designed to be used together in a modular way.

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Core Task Library

The Task Library contains the foundational workflow and management capabilities that are used by nearly every other catalog item.  Features include basic inventory validation, cross-machine cluster operations, network discovery, SSH key creation, bootstrapping operations and code modules used by other items.

Universal Workflow

RackN has consolidated years of experience into a repeatable, multi-environment base workflow that includes network and hardware configuration steps.  The Universal Workflow jumpstarts operators’ automation process by provisioning a consistent and validated process from first discovery to final deployment.  It fits most environments out of the box.

Classification & Validation

RackN supports multiple O/S classification and validation options to help customers map discovered infrastructure into automatic processes.  These checks are easily added to other workflows for environmental verification or to dynamically adjust behaviors based on operator defined conditions.  RackN is constantly expanding these libraries based on customer requests.

Linux (Centos, RHEL, Ubuntu, BSD, Thin O/Ses, etc)

RackN curates an open, deep, and expanding list of Linux operating system provisioning templates (known as BootEnvs).  These templates integrate with the individual operating system netboot tooling and then hand off to Digital Rebar to complete the installation.  While each OS is different, RackN has standardized these processes to provide a consistent experience that allows operators to easily change between operating systems,

Digital Rebar Sledgehammer, our discovery operating system, is based on Centos.

VMware ESXi and Cloud Builder

RackN has specialized install processes that support VMware ESXi installations in a wide range of environments.  This includes firmware configuration, HCL validation, secure boot processes, post-install configuration, and using VLAN tagged networks.  As a VMware ecosystem partner, RackN components for provisioning ESXi have been signed and approved as commercial add-ons.

Using our fully automated VMware ESXi installation process as a foundation, Digital Rebar is able to inject verified JSON host configurations into the VMware Cloud Foundation Cloud Builder.  This allows operators to bootstrap Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) clusters without resorting to spreadsheets.

Image Deploy

RackN uses an “immutable install” process to bypass traditional netboot; instead, our process writes cloud-style or zipped system files directly to images.  These O/S images can be generated by a CI/CD pipeline or captured from an installed system.  Once captured, the RackN process copies the image to the target system and handles pre- and post-provisioning operations.

Our image deployment process is faster, more secure, and more resilient than traditional netboot options; however, it takes additional operational discipline and infrastructure to implement.  We encourage customers to consider this process as a primary delivery mechanism.

Windows Server

RackN supports Windows Server provisioning using the Image Deploy process above.  Not only is the image process faster, it also resolves licensing and patching issues typically encountered during a Windows network bootstrap process.

Standardized NIC configuration (Netwrangler)

Digital Rebar integrates a RackN network interface card (NIC) configuration subproject known as Netwrangler.  Netwrangler provides a standard schema for building complex operating system network interface configurations that is also consistent across-operating systems.   This allows operators to define network topologies at an abstract level and makes it easier to repurpose systems across operating systems.

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