Puppet, Chef, Orchestration and DevOps:

The world of IT Systems Administration, DevOps and Orchestration of bare-metal resources to virtual applications is starting to have the need to become fully automated with custom hooks for different scale-out HPC workloads, cloud environments, to single deployments for SMBs. Automation via specialized scripts for network and compute need to become a thing of the past.

In steps:

I personally have had the opportunity to work with Foreman, Heat, Puppet, and (somewhat) Chef. The others also contain great ways to automate from bare-metal, all the way to fully virtual “stacks” of network, compute and storage.

Puppet and Chef share a space in the IT automation industry and both succeed in their vision. Whether you decide to use Puppet or Chef depends on your alignment and what you’re trying to accomplish. I’ve heard that Chef’s master node scales better but have personally never tested this theory. Both try to accomplish sub-version of package management and configuration control over a subset of nodes in an IT environment. Razor bare metal provisioning was developed as a venture between EMC and Puppetlabs and offers a path to full automation between the two, Not to say that any other DevOps tool or bare-metal provisioning workflows can’t be substituted, I may just be a bit bias.

Into the IT wormhole 

(brief notes)

Puppet

  • Client-server based. Puppetmaster and Puppet Clients. Declarative Language for “write once deploy many”.
  • Has open-source Openstack Packages for on-demand Openstack Delivery/Configuration Version control.
  • Integrates with Openstack Heat/TripleO for managing packages and configurations.
  • Deployment of monitoring tools, security tools all possible within private cloud.
  • Integrates well with Razor

Chef

  • Client-server based orchestration management “infrastructure as code” for deploying applications, version control, config files.
  • Written in Ruby. “Cookbooks” CB’s can be written to deploy Openstack “Chef for openstack” components, and potential to deploying security, monitoring etc.
  • Github.com/opscode/openstack-chef-repo (Grizzly, Nicira Plugin, KVM, LXC)
  • Ceilometer, Quantum Cookbooks (By Dreamhost)
  • NVP, OVS Cookbooks (By Nicira)
  • Chef agent for Arista switches, “kind of SDN”
  • Roles and recipes, Role could be “Allinone Devstack or Controller Node or Base Node

Juju

  • Like heat, JuJu deploys and manages services and application within a cloud provider. JuJu can deploy openstack components (e.g Glance) or deploy applications (e.g wordpress) on top of existing clouds.
  • Juju.ubuntu.org

To integrate with openstack you must specify these options:

openstack:
type: openstack_s3
control-bucket:  admin-secret:
auth-url: https://yourkeystoneurl:443/v2.0/
default-series: precise
juju-origin: ppa
ssl-hostname-verification: True
default-image-id: bb636e4f-79d7-4d6b-b13b-c7d53419fd5a
default-instance-type: m1.small

Heat

  • Heat is an orchestration tool for managing “stacks” or applications deployed on the cloud. Heat can orchestrate ports, routers, instances, Floating IPs, Private Networks etc.
  • Packaging can also be installed via Heat templates to do things like “deploy a stack and make it a 4 node WordPress cluster.”
  • Provides OpenStack-like CLI and Database show, list, create methods for interactions.

TripleO

  • Dynamic “Cloud on Cloud” version control of your cloud.
  • Need a “seed” cloud stack to provision 2 HA Nova Bare Metal (Ironic) servers, these bare metal stacks will provision a “overcloud” via Heat, the bare metal servers will know about available nodes via node enrollment via MAC Address.
  • Integrates well with Puppet/Chef for Package Management/Configuration if you did not want to use Heat.
  • Comes with a set of tools, os-apply-config, os-refresh-config, diskimage-builder.
    • diskimage-builder is used to build custom images with a notion of “elements”, these elements can be anything from a service, a application, a database, etc (e.g Glance, MySQL) and you can add them to the image you build. Quit a useful tool by itself actually.
    • You can build a base ubuntu qcow image that works with Openstack and Glance (Grizzly) by using the command:

 disk-image-create vm base -o base -a i386

Razor

  • Specialized microkernel used to PXE boot with that checks in with Razor to provide inventory of the system, user-created policies will apply a configuration to the node
  • Able to and off to DevOps (Chef, Puppet)

Pxe_dust

  • Complete solution for pxe booting, not really a package mgmt. or config solution.
  • Chef has pxe_dust recipe, AFAIK is interoperable with Chef.

Crowbar

  • Hardware provisioning and application mgmt. (by Dell/SUSE)
  • Crowbar.github.com
  • Features
    • server discovery (crowbar_machines –U crowbar –P crowbar list)
    • firmware upgrades
    • operating system installation via PXE Boot.
    • application deployment via Chef. (e.g. openstack)

Cobbler

Cobbler is a Linux installation server that allows for rapid setup of network installation environments. It glues together and automates many associated Linux tasks so you do not have to hop between many various commands and applications when deploying new systems, and, in some cases, changing existing ones. Cobbler can help with provisioning, managing DNS and DHCP, package updates, power management, configuration management orchestration, and much more. With a simple series of commands, network installs can be configured for PXE, reinstallation, media-based net-installs, and virtualized installs (supporting Xen, qemu, KVM, and some variants of VMware). Cobbler uses a helper program called ‘koan’ (which interacts with Cobbler) for reinstallation and virtualization support.

Foreman

Through deep integration with configuration management, DHCP, DNS, TFTP, and PXE-based unattended installations, Foreman manages every stage of the lifecycle of your physical or virtual servers. The Foreman provides comprehensive, auditable interaction facilities including a web frontend and robust, RESTful API

  • Theforman.org
  • Foreman has tight integration with Puppetlabs as well, Foreman integrates puppet manifests directory into it Web UI which makes for a nice management dashboard for provisioning applications.(see below)

xcat

xCAT’s purpose is to enable you to manage large numbers of servers used for any type of technical computing (HPC clusters, clouds, render farms, web farms, online gaming infrastructure, financial services, datacenters, etc.). xCAT is known for its exceptional scaling, for its wide variety of supported hardware, operating systems, and virtualization platforms, and for its complete day 0 setup capabilities.

  • Allows for a stateless boot (boot off/download RAMDisk image of xcat management node) with available scratch disk for persistent data on reboot. Satalite files (NFS mounted filesystem ) allows for other reboot/persistence. Though, in both cases, no stateful information should be allowed on either.
  • Developed by IBM, Power and Z Support.
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