Using Salt with reclass

Now that data center are software driven, it is crucial to have a single source of truth, a kind of know all inventory about your resources, your nodes, their functions and their associated parameters, which describe everything and store it in a single location. Welcome reclass which use Class inheritance to define nodes roles and avoid duplication by gathering all important datacenter parameters in a central location. All of this will then be used by your automation tools like Salt, Ansible or Puppet to bootstrap your infrastructure as a software. In other words, reclass can be classified as a hierarchical inventory management solution. Let see how we could use it with Salt.

Salt Formulas

Always reinventing the wheel doesn’t pay off most of the time, so telling Salt what to do by creating Salt States again and again to install application components isn’t really efficient. Instead Salt Formulas brings convention and a bit of magic, and offer reusable bundles which package altogether all the necessary piece to automate a specific task, like deploying etcd, a distributed key value store cluster, which we will take as an example in this article.

About SaltStack

The amazing world of configuration management software is really well populated these days. You may already have looked at Puppet, Chef or Ansible but that’s not all of it, today we focus on SaltStack. Simplicity is at its core without any compromise on speed or scalability. Some users have up to 10.000 minions or more. Salt remote execution is built on top of an event bus which makes Salt unique.


Ansible seems to be the simplest tool to centrally manage systems of any kind, Docker containers, AWS, Google Compute, Rackspace, OpenStack instances, VMware VMs, etc… There isn’t any dependencies on the managed system apart from Python 2.6. Ansible isn’t using any database or daemon and won’t install anything on the managed system, all operations are executed using SSH.

In this article, I’ll details how to install it will introduce the main concepts and terminologies. You’ll then understand why companies like Evernote, Twitter, Nasa, Rackspace or Atlassian are all using this Configuration Management, deployment and orchestration tool Compared to other solutions like Chef, Puppet or SaltStack, Ansible is designed to be minimal in nature with low learning curve.

Last but not least, Ansible seems to be inspired by Ursula K. Le Guin communication device capable of instantaneous or superluminal communication.

Chef for OpenStack

Matt Ray is the community manager of a project at Chef (formerly Opscode) to unify all efforts around building up Chef Cookbooks for OpenStack deployment. For quite some time lots of people were forking the repository from Rackspace, it created a lot of fragmentation, so Matt is now gathering all around the StackForge repository where everyone can contribute. AT&T, Dell, Dreamhost, Gap, HP, HubSpot, IBM, Korea Telecom, Rackspace, SUSE amongst others are already contributing to this project. In this article we will detail how you can use them to deploy OpenStack on your environment.

Deploying Ceph using Crowbar 2.0

For quite some time now the Crowbar team have been refactoring their cloud unboxer solution. It is is not yet ready for public consumption, but if you want to see what they’ve got, it’s already possible. Victor Lowther have just released the first CB20 compatible workload which is Ceph, a distributed storage solution from Inktank. This article will build up on the previous one which details the process of building a Crowbar ISO, let see how it differs if you want to see the latest and greatest of Crowbar 2.0. If you really don’t know what we are talking about, just start from the beginning.

Building your own Crowbar ISO for OpenStack Havana

Crowbar, a great cloud unboxer, is currently evolving at a rapid pace, if you want to see the latest and greatest thing without waiting any longer, you can build your own Crowbar ISO. In this article we’ll show you how to do just that using the Roxy branch which is supposed to support OpenStack Havanna. We will suppose you aren’t planning to contribute to the code, so we won’t use our any personalized Git repository. If you don’t know what’s Crowbar, it’s platform for server provisioning and deployment from bare metal. But if you want to see how it could be used to deploy OpenStack, read our previous article.

Opscode Chef 101

Chef is an outstanding Ruby based configuration management system. It’s main reason for existance is to automate your infrastructure. It will help you bring your application to life, including all the dependencies like web and app servers, load balancers, dns, ntp, just to name a few. You’ll find hundreds of pre-built cookbooks on the Community web site. If you want to learn Chef the best starting point is the LearnChef web site. Today, we will show you how to quickly setup a Chef infrastructure easily step by step.

Anatomy of a Barclamp

As detailled in the official Crowbar glossary, a barclamp is a set of data, templates and other necessary logic for applying a particular role to a node, or to some set of nodes. Interesting description isn’t it. Let’s dig in the anatomy of a barclamp.

Deploying OpenStack Grizzly using Fuel 3.0

If you tried to deploy OpenStack by yourself there a huge probability it failed and you may have given up after multiple unsuccessful tries. Some Linux distribution like Redhat or Suse are packaging everything for you to make things easy but today we’ll look at another alternative from Mirantis a company that just got a new round of financing from Redhat, SAP Ventures and Ericsson. This company offers an easy way to build up an OpenStack cloud environment, Fuel 3.0.

Nicira + Opscode Chef: The Journey to an OpenStack Cloud

Nicira and OpsCode partnered to build an OpenStack cloud at VMware. In this webinar we’ll have the opportunity to get some insight about it. It allows their team to build location independant labs in 50 seconds, provisionned from a self service portal. Principal driver: cost, agility and speed.

Electric Cloud and Opscode Chef: The PB&J of DevOps Webminar

Today’s enterprises are adopting methodologies like DevOps and Continuous Delivery to rapidly deliver applications to customers. Continuously building, testing and releasing applications improves the quality of the applications by providing fast user feedback to development teams; rapid release cycles also ensure tighter collaboration between Dev and Ops teams.


Crowbar is an Open Source solution to quickly provision new services from bare metal servers.