In my discussion with DevOps guru John Willis we discussed the importance of automation and repeatability as cornerstones in running a world class datacenter or cloud facility. Many IT organizations, including Dell, are adopting the DevOps guidelines with significant success. In fact, Dell has even created a unique open source project called Crowbar; a modular, open source framework that accelerates multi-node deployments, simplifies maintenance, and streamlines ongoing updates.
The project originated as a solution to installing OpenStack™ on bare-metal servers but is now used by Dell and other solution providers to deploy and maintain Hadoop™, Cloud Foundry, and other large scale multi-node products. A quick 4 minute introduction to Crowbar from the chief architect, Rob Hirschfeld provides a good background on the project:
As Crowbar is an open source project (Apache 2 license), a community of developers is actively engaged with Dell in extending the capabilities of the framework via modular “barclamps” that are attached to the base Crowbar framework. The growing pool of barclamps now includes DNS, network discovery, Nagios, Gangalia and BIOS configuration, among others.
For those readers looking for a way to leverage the concepts of DevOps in a community and Dell supported solution, Crowbar is an excellent option. Installing highly scalable multi-node clusters on bare-metal hardware with repeatability and automation built-in significantly reduces time-to-deployment, upgrade issues, and networking complexity.
For more information on the various aspects of Crowbar:
- Crowbar Marketing One-Pager – http://i.dell.com/sites/content/business/solutions/engineering-docs/en/Documents/crowbar-software-framework-specsheet.pdf
- Crowbar Videos (Users and Developers) – https://github.com/dellcloudedge/crowbar/wiki/Videos
- Crowbar User Guide – https://github.com/dellcloudedge/barclamp-crowbar/raw/master/crowbar_framework/public/crowbar_users_guide.pdf
- Crowbar Mailing List – https://lists.us.dell.com/mailman/listinfo/crowbar
- Crowbar Software – https://github.com/dellcloudedge/crowbar
Finally, for those of you interested in open source mascots, Crowbar has one of the best around. Please post a link to the mascot in the comments section below if you know who/what the mascot is. No prizes for this scavenger hunt but I promise to find cool Dell stuff for future blog questions.