Dell has been a part of the OpenStack community since day one a little over a year ago and today’s news represents the first available cloud solution based on the OpenStack platform. This Infrastructure-as-a-service solution includes a reference architecture based on Dell PowerEdge C servers, OpenStack open source software, the Dell-developed Crowbar software and services from Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders.
Crowbar, keeping things short and sweet
Bringing up a cloud can be no mean feat, as a result a couple of our guys began working on a software framework that could be used to quickly (typically before coffee break!) bring up a multi-node OpenStack cloud on bare metal. That framework became Crowbar. What Crowbar does is manage the OpenStack deployment from the initial server boot to the configuration of the primary OpenStack components, allowing users to complete bare metal deployment of multi-node OpenStack clouds in a matter of hours (or even minutes) instead of days.
Once the initial deployment is complete, Crowbar can be used to maintain, expand, and architect the complete solution, including BIOS configuration, network discovery, status monitoring, performance data gathering, and alerting.
Code to the Community
As mentioned above, today Dell has released Crowbar to the community as open source code (you can get access to it the project’s GitHub site). The idea is allow users to build functionality to address their specific system needs. Additionally we are working with the community to submit Crowbar as a core project in the OpenStack initiative.
Included in the Crowbar code contribution is the barclamp list, UI and remote API’s, automated testing scripts, build scripts, switch discovery, open source Chef server. We are currently working with our legal team to determine how to release the BIOS and RAID which leverage third party components. In the meantime since it is free (as in beer) software, although Dell cannot distribute it, users can directly go the vendors and download the components for free to get that functionality.
More Crowbar detail
For those who want some more detail, here are some bullets I’ve grabbed from Rob “Mr. Crowbar” Hirschfeld’s blog:
- Crowbar uses Chef as it’s database and relies on cookbooks for node deployments
- Crowbar has a modular architecture so individual components can be removed, extended, and added. These components are known individually as “barclamps.”
- Each barclamp has it’s own Chef configuration, UI subcomponent, deployment configuration, and documentation.
On the roadmap:
- Hadoop support
- Additional operating system support
- Barclamp version repository
- Network configuration
- We’d like suggestions! Please comment on Rob’s blog!
- Press Release: Dell Unveils Industry’s First OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service Cloud Solution
- Joseph’s blog: THIS JUST IN: Dell Announces the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution
- Rob’s blog: #Crowbar source released with #OpenStack Cloud install (#apache2 #opschef #Dell #cloud)
- Rob’s blog: How OpenStack installer (crowbar + chefops) works (video from 3/14 demo)
Pau for now…