EMC, Puppet launch Razor project for hardware provisioning

At a time when all eyes are focused on virtual machine and cloud automation, EMC and Puppet Labs have launched an open source project dubbed Razor designed to ease the first mile of application lifeycycle management in the on-premise/cloud era -- hardware provisioning

EMC and Puppet have taken a step back and partnered on an open source project dubbed Razor aimed at establishing a next generation provisioning platform for hardware -- the first mile in application lifecycle management.

At a time when the spotlight is shining squarely on virtual machine and cloud automation, the two companies collaborated on a software stack based on Puppet's MCollective enterprise message bus and Facter node inventory technologies that allows system administrators to dynamically inventory, provision and configure hardware infrastructure -- bare bones servers.

Both parties say the solution -- which is operating system agnostic --  will eliminate manual errors and speed up the time it takes to deploy applications in the DevOps era.

Razor, which offers auto-discovery of real-time inventory data, model-based provisioning and RESTful APIs --  is open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license and is available now for download.

Puppet Labs has become a gold standard name for management in the on-premise and cloud era, with Zynga, Citrix, Match.com, Twitterand Oracle/Sun among its Puppet Enterprise customers. Physical provisioning is new for Puppet.

Necessity is often the mother of invention and that's true in this case, said Dan Hushon, who is with EMC's Office of the CTO.

EMC wanted to apply and manage custom configurations of operating systems and applications and integrate them across multiple servers in repeatable fashion.

Each vendor has their own solution: VMware has Greenplum for ESX, Red Hat has Cobbler,  SUSE and Microsoft have their own offerings, Hushon said, noting that Razor gives EMC one repository of configurations and customizations across a 8,000 node lab environment. The solution speeds up EMC's appliance delivery process.

EMC began the process of development using Puppet's state machine design and two two co-developed the solution which is being contributed to the Puppet community.

With Razor, Puppet is now able to offer metal-to-cloud application lifecycle management, executives said.

Razor integrates with Puppet Enterprise and Puppet open source software out-of-the-box, execs from both companies said.

It is still in beta testing but will be productized in Puppet Enterprise soon, execs said. "It's just another aspect of the platform. Physical provisioning is the first phase in lifeycle management and we do have plans to commercialize," said Luke Kanies, CEO of Puppet Labs.