Deploy to Metal? No sweat with RackN new Ansible Dynamic Inventory API

August 20, 2015 by Greg DeKoenigsberg


At Ansible, we’ve been talking quite a bit with our friends at RackN about the work they’ve been doing to make things easier to stand up complex system configurations from bare metal. We’re happy to share some of what they’ve accomplished.

Deploy to Metal? No sweat with RackN new Ansible Dynamic Inventory API: by Greg DeK + Dan Choquette

The RackN team takes our already super easy Ansible integration to a new level with added SSH Key control and dynamic inventory with the recent OpenCrowbar v2.3 (Drill) release. These two items make full metal control more accessible than ever for Ansible users.

The platform offers full key management.  You can add keys at the system, deployment (group of machines) and machine levels. These keys are operator settable and can be added and removed after provisioning has been completed.  If you want to control access to groups on a servers or group of server basis, OpenCrowbar provides that control via our API, CLI and UI.

We also provide a API path for Ansible dynamic inventory.  Using the simple Python client script (reference example), you can instantly a complete upgraded node inventory of your system.  The inventory data includes items like number of disks, cpus and amount of RAM.  If you've grouped machines in OpenCrowbar, those groups are passed to Ansible.  Even better, the metadata schema includes the networking configuration and machine status.

With no added configuration, you can immediately use Ansible as your multi-server CLI for ad hoc actions and installation using playbooks.

These integrations complement the “Simple OpenStack Initiative”, a collection of OpenStack vendors that are collaborating on playbooks used for OpenStack to make deployments an automated, sharable and predictable exercise. By determining which Ansible inventory files abstract hardware differences between deployments, RackN intelligently automates and orchestrates the sequenced provisioning of the physical layer, networking and metal to coincide with the OpenStack configuration requirements. This capability allows the community to focus on the OpenStack software deployment and not account for the endless manual hardware and network configurations required for at-scale deployments. RackN will continue to tune the integration and help the community extend the deployment effort for full metal operations around shared OpenStack best practices as expressed in Ansible playbooks.

For working with bare metal, there’s no simpler way to deliver consistent repeatable results.


Dynamic Inventory SPI


Greg DeKoenigsberg

Greg DeKoenigsberg Greg is the Director of Ansible Community with Red Hat, where he leads the project's relationship with the broader open source community. Greg has over a decade of open source advocacy and community leadership with projects like Fedora and One Laptop Per Child, and on the executive teams of Red Hat Ansible and of open source cloud pioneers Eucalyptus Systems. Greg lives in Durham NC and is on twitter at @gregdek.


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