OpenStack bare metal provisioning a.k.a Ironic is an integrated OpenStack program which aims to provision bare metal machines instead of virtual machines, forked from the Nova baremetal driver. It is best thought of as a bare metal hypervisor API and a set of plugins which interact with the bare metal hypervisors. By default, it will use PXE and IPMI in concert to provision and turn on/off machines, but Ironic also supports vendor-specific plugins which may implement additional functionality.
Ironic is an OpenStack project which provisions physical hardware as opposed to virtual machines. Ironic provides several reference drivers which leverage common technologies like PXE and IPMI, to cover a wide range of hardware. Ironic’s pluggable driver architecture also allows vendor-specific drivers to be added for improved performance or functionality not provided by reference drivers.
If one thinks of traditional hypervisor functionality (e.g., creating a VM, enumerating virtual devices, managing the power state, loading an OS onto the VM, and so on), then Ironic may be thought of as a hypervisor API gluing together multiple drivers, each of which implement some portion of that functionality with respect to physical hardware.
OpenStack’s Ironic project makes physical servers as easy to provision as virtual machines in cloud, which in turn will open up new avenues for enterprises and service providers.
Ironic’s driver replaces the Nova “bare metal” driver (in Grizzly – Juno releases). Ironic is available for use and is supported by the Ironic developers starting with the Juno release. It is officially integrated with OpenStack in the Kilo release.
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