0 comments on “Deep Thinking & Tech + Great Guests – L8ist Sh9y Podcast”

Deep Thinking & Tech + Great Guests – L8ist Sh9y Podcast

I love great conversations about technology – especially ones where the answer is not very neatly settled into winners and losers (which is ALL of them in IT).  I’m excited that RackN has (re)launched the L8ist Sh9y (aka Latest Shiny) podcast around this exact theme.

Please check out the deep and thoughtful discussion I just had with Mark Thiele (notes) of Apcera where we covered Mark’s thought on why public cloud will be under 20% of IT and culture issues head on.

Spoiler: we have David Linthicum coming next, SO SUBSCRIBE.

I’ve been a guest on some great podcasts (CloudcastgcOnDemandDatanautsIBM DojoHPEFoodfight) and have deep respect for critical work they do in industry.

We feel there’s still room for deep discussions specifically around automated IT Operations in cloud, data center and edge; consequently, we’re branching out to start including deep interviews in addition to our initial stable of IT Ops deep technical topics like TerraformEdge ComputingGartnerSYM review, Kubernetes and, of course, our own Digital Rebar.

Soundcloud Subscription Information

0 comments on “September 29 – Weekly Recap Of All Things Digital Rebar And RackN”

September 29 – Weekly Recap Of All Things Digital Rebar And RackN

Welcome to the weekly post of the RackN blog recap of all things Digital Rebar, RackN, SRE, 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 Rob (@zehicle) or RackN (@rackngo)

Items of the Week

Digital Rebar Community

The Community held its first Online Meetup on Tuesday to select the final name of the Mascot as well as cover the latest information on the Digital Rebar Provision 3.1 release. As for the Mascot, Cloudia is the official name of our bear!

Additional new DRP v.31 Videos available:

Events Updates

HashiConf 2017 

Messy yet Effective Hybrid Portability  Rob Hirschfeld Post on the Event

Last week, I was able to attend the HashiConf 2017 event in my hometown of Austin, Texas.  HashiCorp has a significant following of loyal fans for their platforms and the show reflected their enthusiasm for the HashiCorp clean and functional design aesthetic.  I count the RackN team in that list – we embedded Consul deeply into Digital Rebar v2 and recently announced a cutting edge bare metal Terraform integration(demo video) with Digital Rebar Provision (v3).

Overall, the show was impressively executed.  It was a comfortable size to connect with attendees and most of the attendees were users instead of vendors.  The announcements at the show were also notable.  HashiCorp announced enterprise versions of all their popular platforms including Consul, Vault, Nomad and Terraform.  For their enterprise versions include a cross-cutting service, Sentinel, that provides a policy engine to help enforce corporate governance. READ MORE

RackN 

New Product Page on Rackn.com

Have you been to our newly launched product page? If not, click on over now to see the latest on our Data Center Infrastructure provisioning software solution leveraging Digital Rebar Provision 3.1.

Podcast – Challenges of CIOs and Operators for DevOps

Rob Hirschfeld, Co-Founder/CEO of RackN discusses the challenges of DevOps from the CIO and Operator viewpoint and how it is critical for each group to better understand the issues they each face. Only then can a true DevOps experience be had.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus are preparing for a series of upcoming events where they are speaking or just attending. If you are interested in meeting with them at these events please email info@rackn.com

If you are attending any of these events please reach out to Rob Hirschfeld to setup time to learn more about our solutions or discuss the latest industry trends.

OTHER NEWSLETTERS

0 comments on “HashiConf 2017: Messy yet Effective Hybrid Portability”

HashiConf 2017: Messy yet Effective Hybrid Portability

Last week, I was able to attend the HashiConf 2017 event in my hometown of Austin, Texas.  HashiCorp has a significant following of loyal fans for their platforms and the show reflected their enthusiasm for the HashiCorp clean and functional design aesthetic.  I count the RackN team in that list – we embedded Consul deeply into Digital Rebar v2 and recently announced a cutting edge bare metal Terraform integration (demo video) with Digital Rebar Provision (v3).

Overall, the show was impressively executed.  It was a comfortable size to connect with attendees and most of the attendees were users instead of vendors.  The announcements at the show were also notable.  HashiCorp announced enterprise versions of all their popular platforms including Consul, Vault, Nomad and Terraform.  For their enterprise versions include a cross-cutting service, Sentinel, that provides a policy engine to help enforce corporate governance.

Since all the tools are open source, creating an enterprise version can cause angst in the community.  I felt that they handled the introduction well and the additions were well received.  Typically, governance controls are a good demarcation for Enterprise features.

I was particularly impressed with the breadth and depth of Terraform use discussed at the event.  Terraform is enjoying broad adoption as a cluster builder so it was not surprising to see it featured on many talks.  The primary benefits highlighted were cloud portability and infrastructure as code.  

This was surprising to me because Terraform plans are not actually cloud agnostic – they have to be coded to match the resources exposed by the target.

When I asked people about this the answer was simple: the Terraform format itself provides sufficient abstraction.  The benefit of having a single tool and format for multiple infrastructure created very effective portability.

Except the lack of cloud abstractions also drove a messy pattern that I saw in multiple sessions.  Many companies have written custom (“soon to be open sourced”™) Terraform plan generators in their own custom markup languages.  That’s right – there’s an emerging, snowflaked Terraform generator pattern.  I completely understand the motivation to build this layer; however, it strikes me as an anti-pattern.

Infrastructure portability (aka hybrid) is a both universal goal and frighteningly complex.  Clearly, Terraform is a step in the right direction, but it’s only a step.  At HashiConf, I enjoyed watching companies trying take that next step with varying degrees of success.  Let’s get some popcorn and see how it turns out!

Until then, check out our Digital Rebar Terraform provider.  It will make your physical infrastructure “cloud equivalent” so you can run similar plans between cloud and metal.

For more information on the Digital Rebar Terraform provider, listen to this recent podcast.

0 comments on “September 22 – Weekly Recap of All Things Digital Rebar and RackN”

September 22 – Weekly Recap of All Things Digital Rebar and RackN

Welcome to the weekly post of the RackN blog recap of all things Digital Rebar, RackN, SRE, 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 Rob (@zehicle) or RackN (@rackngo)

Items of the Week

This week, RackN released a new high-level image highlighting the RackN and Digital Rebar solution and how they operate together to deliver provisioning services. Next week, we will provide further detail into how Digital Rebar operates between RackN Infrastructure Management and the provisioned hardware and VMs.

Digital Rebar Community

Terraform to Metal with Digital Rebar
Data Center Bacon Blog

We’ve built a buttery smooth Terraform provider for Bare Metal that runs equally on, of course, servers, Packet.net servers or VirtualBox VMs. If you like Hashicorp Terraform and want it to own your data center too, then read on.

Deep into the Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) release plan, a customer asked the RackN team to build a Terraform provider for DRP.  They had some very specific requirements that would stress all the new workflows and out-of-band management features in the release: in many ways, this integration is the ultimate proof point for DRP v3.1 because it drives DRP autonomously.

The primary goal was simple: run a data center as a resource pool for Terraform.

Digital Rebar and Terraform Provisioning Podcast

Digital Rebar v3.1 Product Launch
Product Launch Blog

We’ve made open network provisioning radically simpler.  So simple, you can install in 5 minutes and be provisioning in under 30.  That’s a bold claim, but it’s also an essential deliverable for us to bridge the Ops execution gap in a way that does not disrupt your existing tool chains.

The v3 mantra is about starting simple and allowing users to grow automation incrementally.  RackN has been building advanced automation packages and powerful UX management to support that mission.

Key v3.1 Features:

  • Layered Storage System
  • Content Packaging System
  • Plug-In System
  • Stages, Tasks & Jobs
  • Websocket API for Event Subscription
  • Embedded UI

Digital Rebar Provision 3.1 Launch Podcast

First Online Meetup: Sept 26, 2017 at 11:00am PST
Join Meetup Group Here : Meetup Announcement Blog

Topics for Meetup:

  • Welcome
  • Introduction to Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) and RackN
  • Naming the Digital Rebar mascot [1]
  • Discussion on DRP version 3.1 features
  • Feature and roadmap planning for DRP version 3.2
  • Use Github Projects or Trello Board
  • Demo of DRP workload deployment
  • Getting in touch with the Digital Rebar community and RackN
  • Questions and answers period

UPCOMING EVENTS

Rob Hirschfeld and Greg Althaus are preparing for a series of upcoming events where they are speaking or just attending. If you are interested in meeting with them at these events please email info@rackn.com

If you are attending any of these events please reach out to Rob Hirschfeld to setup time to learn more about our solutions or discuss the latest industry trends.

OTHER NEWSLETTERS

0 comments on “Digital Rebar v3.1 Release Annoucement”

Digital Rebar v3.1 Release Annoucement

We’ve made open network provisioning radically simpler.  So simple, you can install in 5 minutes and be provisioning in under 30.  That’s a bold claim, but it’s also an essential deliverable for us to bridge the Ops execution gap in a way that does not disrupt your existing tool chains.

We’ve got a remarkable list of feature additions between Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) v3.0 and v3.1 that take it from basic provision into a powerful distributed infrastructure automation tool.

But first, we need to put v3.1 into a broader perspective: the new features are built from hard learned DevOps lessons.  The v2 combination of integrated provisioning and orchestration meant we needed a lot of overhead like Docker, Compose, PostgreSQL, Consul and RAILS.  That was needed for complex “one-click” cluster builds; however it’s overkill for users of Ansible, Terraform and immutable infrastructure flows.  

The v3 mantra is about starting simple and allowing users to grow automation incrementally.  RackN has been building advanced automation packages and powerful UX management to support that mission.

So what’s in the release?  The v3.0 release focused on getting core Provision infrastructure APIs, process and patterns working as a stand alone service. The v3.1 release targeted major architectural needs to streamline content management, event notification and add out-of-band actions.  

Key v3.1 Features

  • New Mascot and Logo!  We have a cloud native bare metal bear.  DRP fans should ask about stickers and t-shirts. Name coming soon! 
  • Layered Storage System. DRP storage model allows for layered storage tiers to support the content model and a read only base layer. These features allow operators to distribute content in a number of different ways and make field upgrades and multi-site synchronization possible.
  • Content packaging system.  DRP contents API allows operators to manage packages of other models via a single API call.  Content bundles are read-only and versioned so that field upgrades and patches can be distributed.
  • Plug-in system.  DRP allows API extensions and event listeners that are in the same process space as the DRP server.  This enables IPMI extensions and slack notifiers.
  • Stages, Tasks & Jobs.  DRP has a simple work queue system in which tasks are stored and tracked on machines during stages in their boot sequences.  This feature combines server and DRP client actions to create fast, simple and flexible workflows that don’t require agents or SSH access.
  • Websocket API for event subscription.  DRP clients can subscribe to system events using a long term websocket interface.  Subscriptions include filters so that operators can select very narrow notification scopes.
  • Removal of the minimal embedded UI (moving to community hosted UX).   DRP decoupled the user interface from the service API.  This allows features to be added to the UX without having to replace the Service.  This also allows community members to create their own UX.  RackN has agreed to support community users at no cost on a limited version of our commercial UX.

All of these features enable DRP to perform 100% of the hardware provision workflows that our customers need to run a fully autonomous, CI/CD enabled data center.  RackN has been showing examples of Ansible, Kubernetes, and Terraform to Metal integration as a reference implementations.

Getting the physical layer right is critical to closing your infrastructure execution gaps.  DRP v3.1 goes beyond getting it right – it makes it fast, simple and open.  Take a test drive of the open source code or give RackN a call to see our advanced automation demos.

0 comments on “Data Center Bacon: Terraform to Metal with Digital Rebar”

Data Center Bacon: Terraform to Metal with Digital Rebar

TL;DR: We’ve built a buttery smooth Terraform provider for Bare Metal that runs equally on, of course, servers, Packet.net servers or VirtualBox VMs.  If you like Hashicorp Terraform and want it to own your data center too, then read on.

Deep into the Digital Rebar Provision (DRP) release plan, a customer asked the RackN team to build a Terraform provider for DRP.  They had some very specific requirements that would stress all the new workflows and out-of-band management features in the release: in many ways, this integration is the ultimate proof point for DRP v3.1 because it drives DRP autonomously.

The primary goal was simple: run a data center as a resource pool for Terraform.

Here our CTO, Greg Althaus, giving a short demo of the integration.

Of course, it is not that simple.  Operators need to be able to provide plans to pick correct nodes from resources pools.  Also, the customer request was to deploy both Linux and Windows images based on Packet.  That meant that the system needed both direct-to-disk image writing and cloud-init style post-configuration.  The result is deployments that are blazingly fast (sub 5 minutes) and highly portable.

An additional challenge in building the Terraform Provider is that no one wants to practice building plans against actual servers.  They are way too slow.  We need to be able to build and test the Terraform provider and plans quickly on a laptop or cloud infrastructure like Packet.net.  Our solution was to build parallel out-of-band IPMI type plugins for all three platforms so that the Terraform provider could interact with Digital Rebar Provision consistently regardless of the backing infrastructure.

We were able to build a full fidelity CI/CD pipeline for plans without committing dedicated infrastructure at the dev or test phases.  That is a significant breakthrough.

Terraform is kicking aaS for cluster deployments on cloud and we’re getting some very enthusiastic responses when we describe both the depth and simplicity of integration with Digital Rebar Provision.  We’re actively collecting feedback and testing both new DRP features and Terraform integration so it’s not available for open consumption; however, we very much want to find operators interested in field trials.

Please contact us if Terraform on Metal is interesting.  We’d be happy to show you how it works and discuss our next steps.

Further Listening?  Our Latest Shiny (L8stSh9y) podcast with Greg Althaus and Stephen Spector covers the work.

0 comments on “Podcast – Terraform and Digital Rebar Provision Bare Metal”

Podcast – Terraform and Digital Rebar Provision Bare Metal

In this podcast, Stephen Spector, HPE Cloud Evangelist and Greg Althaus, Co-Founder and CTO RackN, talk about the integration point for Digital Rebar Provisioning with the Terraform solution. The specific focus is on delivering bare metal provisioning to users of Terraform.

About Terraform (LINK)

Terraform enables you to safely and predictably create, change, and improve production infrastructure. It is an open source tool that codifies APIs into declarative configuration files that can be shared amongst team members, treated as code, edited, reviewed, and versioned.

More info on Digital Rebar Provisioning

Follow the RackN L8ist Sh9y Podcast