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Author: Rob H

Like other Gartner events, the Infrastructure and Operations (IO) show is all about enterprises maintaining systems.  There are plenty of hype chasing sessions, but the vibe is distinctly around working systems and practical implementations.  Think: sports coats not t-shirts.  In that way, it’s less breathless and wild-eyed than something like KubeCon (which is busy celebrating a bumper crop of 1.0 projects).  The very essence of this show is to project an aura of calm IT stewardship. So...

Yesterday, AWS confirmed that it actually uses physical servers to run its cloud infrastructure and, gasp, no one was surprised.  The actual news about the i3.metal instances by AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr shows that bare metal is being treated as just another AMI managed instance type (see also Geekwire, Techcrunch, Venture Beat).  For AWS users, there’s no drama here because it’s an incremental add to processes they are already know well. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)...

Our architectural plans for Digital Rebar are beyond big – they are for massive distributed scale. Not up, but out. We are designing for the case where we have common automation content packages distributed over 100,000 stand-alone sites (think 5G cell towers) that are not synchronously managed. In that case, there will be version drift between the endpoints and content. For example, we may need to patch an installation script quickly over a whole fleet but...

The RackN team is proud of saying that we left the Orchestration out when we migrated from Digital Rebar v2 to v3. That would mean more if anyone actually agreed on what orchestration means… In this our case, I think we can be pretty specific: Digital Rebar v3 does not manage work across multiple nodes. At this point, we’re emphatic about it because cross machine actions add a lot of complexity and require application awareness that...

Software Defined Infrastructure (SDx) allows operators to manage data centers in a more consistent and controlled way. It allows teams to define their environment as code and use automation to execute that definition in practice. To deliver this capability for physical (aka bare metal) servers, RackN has created a Digital Rebar provider for Terraform. The provider is a simple addition that take just seconds to enable. (Video Demonstrations at End of Blog) The Terraform Bare Metal provider...

OpenStack is a real platform doing real work for real users.  So why does OpenStack have a reputation for not working?  It falls into the lack of core-focus paradox: being too much to too many undermines your ability to do something well.  In this case, we keep conflating the community and the code. I have a long history with the project but have been pretty much outside of it (yay, Kubernetes!) for the last 18 months.  That...

There is new security vulnerability that should be triggering a massive server fleet wide upgrade and patch for data center operators everywhere.  This one undermines fundamental encryption features embedded into servers’ trusted platform module (TPM).   According to Sophos.com, “this one’s a biggie.” Yet, it’s unlikely anyone will actually patch their firmware to fix this serious issue. Why?  A lack of automation.  Even if you agree with the urgency of this issue, It’s unlikely that you can perform...

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...

Author’s note: We’re looking for RackN Beta participants who want to help refine next generation deployment capabilities like the one described below.  We have these processes working today - our goal is to make them broadly reusable and standardized. We’ve been posting [Go CI/CD and Immutable Infrastructure for Edge Computing Management] and podcasting [Discoposse: The Death of Configuration Management, Immutable Deployment Challenges for DevOps] about the concept of immutable infrastructure because it offers simpler and more repeatable...

Operating hardware is too hard today. And too expensive.  Let’s fix that. The problem with physical ops is not that it’s hard, complex or fragile. Okay, it is and those ARE problems, but they are compounded by the lack of shared management software and practices missing from this layer.  When the RackN team set out to solve these physical challenges, we knew the software had to be very focused to replace the current Cobbler and Foreman environments....