Ubuntu 12.04 gets bare metal provisioning tool

Summary:Canonical has brought techniques used to manage virtual instances to physical 'bare metal' servers in Ubuntu 12.04.

Canonical has brought techniques used to manage virtual instances to physical 'bare metal' servers in Ubuntu 12.04.


The 'Metal-as-a-Service' tool is now available for Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 2. Image credit: Canonical

The 'Metal-as-a-Service' provisioning tool was made available in the Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 2 last week but was updated for greater stability on Tuesday night. It will be integrated into the 12.04 long-term support (LTS) release of Ubuntu, which is set to come out on 26 April.

MaaS broadens the remit of Canonical's JuJu software so that, along with helping to manage software and services, the software can also remotely manage, allocate and provision to physical servers.

With the technology, Canonical is "trying to bring the cloud experience to traditional hardware," Dave Walker, an engineering manager for Ubuntu server infrastructure, told ZDNet UK. "MaaS has the intelligence to bring machines together and to deploy based on merit from what the payload is."

MaaS automates the installation of scale-out software, such as OpenStack or Hadoop, onto physical nodes. It bears resemblance to a proprietary tool developed by Dell, named Crowbar, which helps administrators scale up and down the physical assets that underpin an OpenStack installation.

The software is designed for people that write their own deployment tools for pre-execution environment (PXE) setup — a method that lets administrators boot an operating system via the network. MaaS is designed to make this process less buggy and more stable, Walker said.

"I think we've been smart to try and link together what people are already doing but in a polished solution," he said. "Also I think it's currently difficult to scale what people are currently doing to a vast array of servers."

MaaS is theoretically scalable to 100,000 nodes, he said. A production environment will need one MaaS node per rack, he said.

Topics: Storage


Jack Clark has spent the past three years writing about the technical and economic principles that are driving the shift to cloud computing. He's visited data centers on two continents, quizzed senior engineers from Google, Intel and Facebook on the technologies they work on and read more technical papers than you care to name on topics f... Full Bio

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