“…we knew that choosing Ironic would resolve these difficulties, with the benefits being passed on to our users…”

The OpenStack Foundation announced in April 2019 that its Ironic software is powering 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.

Some 30 organizations joined for the initial launch of the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal Program, and Superuser is running a series of case studies to explore how people are using it.

VEXXHOST provides high performance, cloud computing solutions that are cost conscious, complete, and widely flexible. In 2011, VEXXHOST adopted OpenStack software for its infrastructure. Since then, VEXXHOST has been an active contributor and an avid user of OpenStack. Currently, VEXXHOST provides infrastructure-as-a-service OpenStack public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud solutions to customers, from small businesses to enterprises across the world.

Why did you select OpenStack Ironic for your bare metal provisioning in your product?

VEXXHOST has a long history of involvement with OpenStack technology, dating back to the Bexar release. We have since been powering all of our infrastructures using OpenStack. Taking advantage of Ironic for our bare metal provisioning seemed a natural next step in the continuous building out of our system and Ironic fit right in with each of our components, integrating easily with all of our existing OpenStack services.

As we offer multiple architectures, enterprise-grade GPUs, and various hardware options, the actual process of testing software deployments can pose a real challenge when it comes to speed and efficiency. However, we knew that choosing Ironic would resolve these difficulties, with the benefits being passed on to our users, in addition to enabling us to provide them with the option of deploying their private cloud on high-performing bare metal.

What was your solution before implementing Ironic?

Before VEXXHOST implemented OpenStack Ironic, we were using a system that we had built internally. For the most part, this system provided an offering of services that Ironic was already delivering on so it made sense to adopt it as opposed to maintaining our smaller version.

What benefits does Ironic provide your users?

Through Ironic, VEXXHOST’s users have access to fully dedicated and secure physical machines that can live in our data centres or theirs. Due to its physical and dedicated nature, the security provided by bare metal relieves VEXXHOST’s users of any risks associated with environment neighbours and thanks to the isolation factor, users are ensured that their data is never exposed to others. Ironic can also act as an automation tool for the centralized housing and management of all their machines and even enables our users to access certain features that aren’t available in virtual machines, like having multiple levels of virtual machines.

Additionally, VEXXHOST’s users benefit from Ironic’s notably simpler configuration and less complex set-up when compared to virtual machines. Where use cases require it, Ironic can also deliver to our users a higher level of performance than virtual machines. Through the region controller, our users benefit from high availability starting at the data center level and users are able to create and assign physical availability zones to better control critical availability areas. Through the use of Ironic, VEXXHOST can easily run any other OpenStack projects and configure our user’s bare metal specifically for their use cases. Ironic is also easily scaled from a few servers to multiple racks within a data centre and through their distributed gateways, makes it possible to process large parallel deployments. By using OpenStack technology, like Ironic, VEXXHOST ensures that users are never faced with the risks associated with vendor lock-in.

What feedback do you have to provide to the upstream OpenStack Ironic team?

Through our long-standing involvement with the OpenStack Community, based on VEXXHOST’s contributions and our CEO Mohammed Naser‘s role as Ansible PTL and member of the Technical Committee, we regularly connect with the Ironic team and have access to their conversations. Currently, there isn’t any feedback that we haven’t already shared with them.

Learn more

You’ll find an overview of Ironic on the project Wiki.
Discussion of the project takes place in #openstack-ironic on irc.freenode.net. This is a great place to jump in and start your ironic adventure. The channel is very welcoming to new users – no question is a wrong question!

The team also holds one-hour weekly meetings at 1500 UTC on Mondays in the #openstack-ironic room on irc.freenode.netchaired by Julia Kreger (TheJulia) or Dmitry Tantsur (dtantsur).

Stay tuned for more case studies from organizations using Ironic.

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