I’ve been seeing a rising interest in metal DevOps fueled by containers and scale-out data center platforms (like Hadoop, Ceph & OpenStack) that run at the metal level. While I see this is a growing general trend (Packet, Internap, RackSpace, OpenStack Ironic, MaaS), I’m going to stay firmly within my wheelhouse and use OpenCrowbar as my reference here.

Building on the API-driven metal features of OpenCrowbar, this has translated into two paths for workloads to run on metal:

1) “Cloudify” the metal using APIs from tools like Chef Provision, SaltStack Libcloud, Docker Machine, Cloud Foundry BOSH. These tools have clients that target cloud APIs like OpenStack and Amazon. These same clients work against cloud are easily ported to Crowbar’s APIs. Five years ago, conventional wisdom was that we’d need a universal cloud API; however, practice has shown it’s not very difficult to wrap APIs in a way that does not reduce every cloud to a least common denominator.

2) DevOps deploy the workload using hand-offs to tools like Chef, Saltstack, Puppet or Ansible. This approach leverages the community scripts (Cookbooks, Modules, Playbooks) for the workload with the critical ability to create a tuned environment and inject the needed parameters directly into the scripts. A critical lesson we learned going from Crowbar v1 to v2 was for our scripts to have crisp attribute input/output boundary to avoid embedding environmental knowledge into the code.

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