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Ironic OpenStack Bare Metal Gains Momentum with Containerized Application Architectures

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Launch of OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal program highlights commercial ecosystem for Ironic, at-scale deployments of Ironic, and evolution of OpenStack beyond virtual machines.  

DENVER – April 29, 2019 — Open Infrastructure Summit — The OpenStack Foundation announced that its Ironic software is now managing millions of cores of compute all over the world, turning bare metal into automated infrastructure ready for today’s mix of virtualized and containerized workloads.  

Thirty organizations are launch members of the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal program, including vendors running some of the world’s largest OpenStack clouds. Among these are OpenStack environments of all sizes, including large operators such as Verizon Media and CERN, as well as smaller-scale deployments. Together, these operators manage over a million cores with Ironic. The strong commercial ecosystem supporting Ironic-based solutions also includes large users and commercial providers like Red Hat, Mirantis, China Mobile, and SUSE. These organizations are now identifiable with a new Ironic badge, which also appears in the OpenStack Marketplace.  

"We live in an API-driven world,” said Julia Kreger, OpenStack Ironic Project Team Lead. “It is only natural to move beyond VMs in providing infrastructure as a service. This is why we created Ironic: to provide a vendor-neutral API enabling data center operators to reliably manage infrastructure at scale, whether they need VMs or bare metal. Empowering operators is the project’s goal, and it shows in new features like the storage of owner and node description information or the capability to customize a template. These can be huge improvements for operators, helping cure the headaches of operating at scale.”  

OpenStack is commonly associated with managing virtual machines, storage and networking. One of the hidden jewels of the open source software, however, is the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal service. Ironic allows users to manage bare metal infrastructure as they would virtual machines and provides an ideal infrastructure to host high-performance cloud applications and frameworks—including popular container orchestration frameworks like Kubernetes.  

Ironic solves a fundamental infrastructure management problem at scale. Specifically, it provides a production-proven means to manage the complete lifecycle of bare metal hardware. This software-defined bare metal capability is one reason why adoption of Ironic has grown rapidly with 24% of production deployments now relying on it, up from just 9% in 2016.  

"At Verizon Media, OpenStack manages hundreds of thousands of bare metal compute resources with over 4 million cores in our data centers,” said James Penick, architect director at Verizon Media. “We have made significant changes to our supply chain process using OpenStack, fulfilling common bare metal quota requests within minutes.”  

Ecosystem members supporting the launch of the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal program are:  

  • 99Cloud
  • Avaya
  • CERN
  • China Mobile
  • China Telecom System Integration
  • China Unicom
  • Debian
  • DevStack
  • EasyStack
  • Fiberhome
  • Leboncoin
  • Mirantis
  • New H3C Technologies
  • OpenCloud.ES
  • OVH
  • Platform9
  • PT Boer Technology (Btech)
  • Red Hat
  • Sardina Systems
  • Sentinella
  • StackHPC
  • STC Solutions
  • SUSE
  • Tencent
  • TFCloud Technology
  • Verizon Media
  • Verne Global
  • ZConverter
  • ZTE Corporation  

Ironic offers many benefits to cloud architects and administrators who manage bare metal instances. Ironic supports automating the entire server infrastructure lifecycle of deployments, including updates and decommissioning. It delivers cloud-like bare-metal infrastructure with multi-tenant networks to end users when used as a driver to OpenStack Nova. With a standard API, broad driver support, and lightweight footprint, Ironic is ideally suited as a management engine for a variety of bare metal infrastructure scenarios – as demonstrated by the newly developed Bare Metal Operator for Kubernetes. These features make it appropriate for a wide range of use cases, from small edge deployments to large data centers.   

At the Open Infrastructure Summit this week in Denver, the community is showcasing three demonstrations that exhibit the capabilities of Ironic:

  1. Standalone, lightweight bare metal management using Ironic
  2. Multi-tenant bare metal cloud using Ironic as a driver for OpenStack Nova
  3. Extending the Kuberntes API to provision bare metal using Ironic.  

The community also formed a Bare Metal Special Interest Group (SIG) in February. Its mission is to make Ironic easy to operate and to evangelize the use cases and utility of the bare metal service. To get involved in the SIG, subscribe to the OpenStack Discuss mailing list or contact [email protected].  

Read more about the latest Ironic updates and features in the OpenStack Stein release, and learn how to use and contribute to the project.  

Quotes from Launch Members of the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal Program  

"Ironic enables our clients to deploy on-premise high-performance computing infrastructure using the same methods they would use to deploy infrastructure in the cloud. This is driving a revolution in research computing infrastructure management." —Stig Telfer, chief technology officer, StackHPC Ltd           

"At Platform9, we offer OpenStack Ironic as part of our SaaS-based OpenStack and Kubernetes managed services so our customers can deploy Kubernetes on bare metal and also run workloads such as machine learning and big data without the hypervisor overhead. We also use OpenStack Ironic for our own software testing on various hardware platforms drastically reducing our provisioning and lifecycle management time from several weeks to under 20 minutes."  —Cody Hill, Director of Technology, Platform9  

"We have selected OpenStack Ironic for our bare metal provisioning in FishOS in order to dynamically and automatically power physical hardware on/off based on live resource utilization in an OpenStack cloud. FishOS Workload Manager leverages OpenStack Ironic to conveniently interface with a broad range of servers in the market." —Mihaela Constantinescu, chief marketing officer, Sardina Systems.  

About the OpenStack® Foundation

The OpenStack Foundation (OSF) supports the development and adoption of open infrastructure globally, across a community of nearly 100,000 individuals in 190+ countries, by hosting open source projects and communities of practice, including datacenter cloud, edge computing, network functions virtualization (NFV), CI/CD and container infrastructure.  


US Media Contacts:

Robert Cathey for the OpenStack Foundation
[email protected]  

Allison Price
[email protected]
OpenStack Foundation