White Paper: OpenStack Community Delivers Future of Bare Metal

Bit Ninja

Ironic, an open source project that fully manages bare metal infrastructure and is part of OpenStack, has published a white paper that highlights the scope, growth and maturity of the bare metal provisioning software. The white paper was developed by more than 26 contributors of the Ironic community over 12 months and details all aspects of bare metal provisioning and lifecycle management via the OpenStack project.

This white paper issued by the Ironic community provides information on performance, security, compliance and stack independence. Also, non-virtualizable resources associated with bare metal are being discussed.

The white paper is a deep dive into the tools, clients and automation that demonstrate how the Ironic software delivers “stable, production-proven” bare metal compute instances. Bare metal would be a popular option for deployment of container-based workloads. According to the white paper, bare metal avoids the overhead and performance penalties common with full-featured hypervisors such as KVM.

Ironic Case Studies Highlighted

The white paper explores how the Open Infrastructure community has addressed the bare metal provisioning problem with entirely free open source software. It discusses the issues operators face in discovering and provisioning servers. It also discusses how the OpenStack community has solved these issues with Ironic. Furthermore, the white paper is about the future of open infrastructure and hardware management. It emphasizes the necessity of open source and the value of contributors continuing to build on top of strong foundations.

The white paper includes case studies from users including StackHPC, SuperCloud, Red Hat, VEXXHOST and more. Use cases highlighted in these stories include:

  • Use of Ironic to make resource usage more efficient – In one user’s production environment, bare metal provisioning based on Ironic has been in production for two years on more than 5,000 nodes. Because the creation of Kubernetes clusters adds an additional layer of abstraction, they use Ironic to create such clusters directly with physical machines. Or in a hybrid mode where only the master nodes are virtual machines and the minions are physical machines. One example for an application which makes use of this approach is the IT department’s batch processing service. The combination of virtual and physical machine provisioning via Nova and Ironic here allows for maximizing the efficient use of the allocated resources.
  • Implementation of Ironic for software RAID support – Stack HPC uses Ironic along with ION Geophysical migrating on-premise HPC infrastructure into an OpenStack private cloud for seismic analysis.
  • InfiniBand Software Defined Networking – Supercloud addresses internal challenges by building bare metal service with Ironic and InfiniBand. This allows the system to provision cloud instances directly on the hardware with no need of virtualization. It would achieve the level of performance previously only seen on classic HPC systems.
  • Use of Ironic to provide aid to installer tools – Red Hat uses the software to provision the bare metal hardware needed for clusters being deployed. IT also provides an API and mechanisms to support a variety of use cases from within a running cloud.

“At a conference a few years ago, I sat down to dinner next to someone I did not know. He started to tell me of his job and his long hours in the data center,” said Julia Kreger, Ironic Project Team Lead. “He asked me what I did, and I told him I worked as a software engineer in open source. And he started talking about some tooling he recently found that took tasks that would normally take nearly two weeks for racks of servers, to just a few hours. He simply glowed with happiness because his quality of life and work happiness had exploded since finding this Bare Metal as a Service tooling called Ironic. As a contributor, this is why we contribute. To make those lives better.”

For operators interested in deploying Ironic, they can select a partner from the dozens of vendors in the Ironic Bare Metal Program.

Ironic is an open source project that fully manages bare metal infrastructure and is part of OpenStack. The OpenStack Foundation (OSF) supports the development and adoption of open infrastructure globally, across a community of over 100,000 individuals in 187 countries, by hosting open source projects and communities of practice, including datacenter cloud, edge computing, NFV, CI/CD and container infrastructure.

The white paper ‘Building the Future on Bare Metal: How Ironic Delivers Abstraction and Automation using Open Source Infrastructure’ can be downloaded here.