OpenStack Ironic: Enabling Bare Metal as a Service

OpenStack Ironic is an OpenStack project that provisions bare metal machines rather than virtual machines. Bare Metal as a Service (BMaaS) allows you to provision your Hadoop or SQL workloads, or even a hypervisor, on to bare metal infrastructures and treat them like cloud instances.

Bare metal provisioning isn’t something new; it’s been in use for quite a few years. Why use a bare metal server?

  • Processes more data than other solutions, providing faster results and more data output
  • Dedicated fully to your project with 100% of its resources available for your configuration
  • Reliable when deploying mission-critical projects with predictable performance
  • Provides security from external interference with its single-tenant environment
  • Offers raw processing power for high performance
  • Allows for complete customization, from the ground up
  • Offers substantial graphic processing units (GPU) capacity
  • Results in low latency compared to shared cloud solutions.

What Makes OpenStack Ironic Different?

OpenStack Ironic is distinctive because it allows you to use a unified way of managing virtual machines as well as physical assets in the exact same workflow.

Ironic works by booting your system remotely and then provisioning an image (workload) to it, similar to how the public cloud boots a virtual machine and provisions an image to it. This allows you to utilize the same tooling that you would use to provision your virtual machine instances ― such as Heat, Orchestration or Murano apps ― or even provision Cinder volumes to them. You can treat a physical asset just like you would a virtual asset.

Requirements for OpenStack Ironic

OpenStack Ironic requires two things of your servers:

  1. They need to be able to be booted from IPMI, the intelligent platform management interface. You need to have iLO or IPMI access to them.
  2. They need to be able to network boot or PXE boot and you’ll need capable network interface cards (NICS) to do that.

Traditionally, Ironic is very difficult to get set up and running, as is any BMaaS system. Compared to virtual machines, BMaaS systems can be time consuming to provision and require careful planning and a strong knowledge base to orchestrate. Platform9 recognized this as a huge pain point for our customers and decided to integrate BMaaS into our platform.

Ironic as BMaas with Platform9

Now with just a couple of clicks, you can spin up two servers or a thousand servers. Whether you are using serverless workloads, containers, or virtual machines, your cloud is built on a foundation of bare metal infrastructure. To orchestrate this and get all of this up and running, use OpenStack Ironic. To make OpenStack Ironic run smoothly and painlessly, choose Platform9.

Watch Cody Hill, Cloud Architect, in “OpenStack Ironic: Enabling Bare Metal as a Service”


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