[dc-ops] Inventory management packages

Drew Weaver drew.weaver at thenap.com
Fri Sep 9 11:59:05 EDT 2011

Here is the dc management/inventory system I've designed in my head but haven't had the time to build yet, most of the pieces are done but I haven't "glued it" yet.

All un-provisioned ports on the network are part of a global VLAN 999 for example.
VLAN 999 has DHCP assigned to it, tftp/pxeboot and CDP enabled.
When you get a shipment of (insert servers here) you connect the servers to (insert unprovisioned port here)
Server boots up because we don't know about this server it is booted into a default PXE image (linux most likely)
using tools such as facter/ohai/foreman a complete inventory of this server is taken and dumped into a MySQL database
using CDPR the server figures out which switch and location it is connected to and marks the aforementioned MySQL database as such.
Because we now know the MAC address of the connected NIC, all of the hardware specifications, and the physical server's location (which is tied to a PDU port) the server turns off.

You could then go into the back end administration and create a task for this server for example "Install Windows 2008"

A task profile and "kickstart script" is created for the MAC address that tells it to launch the Windows Pre-Installation Environment appropriate for the architecture x86/x64
Windows PE boots
Windows PE runs it's wpeinit process
Using 'wget' or whatever it downloads a dynamically generated XML file which includes the particulars, IP addresses, etc.
disk is partitioned/formatted using diskpart/format.exe
setup.exe runs with the XML file and of course the unattended flag specified.
Windows installs
There is a 'first run process' that (using wget or whatever) tells the back end admin process that the install is done.
The back end process then puts the host into it's appropriate VLAN.
Host reboots.

You drink a mai-tai.

Then later if you want to update the hardware profile you just tell the back-end admin system to boot the server to VLAN 999 
The default image loads
Hardware info is updated
Call out is made to put the switch port back into it's regular scheduled VLAN
system reboots.

Drink another mai-tai.

Realize you just automated a large portion of your day to day and it's time to get a hobby =)

Like I said I have most of these pieces in place I just haven't glued them together yet... soon (tm).


-----Original Message-----
From: dc-ops-bounces at puck.nether.net [mailto:dc-ops-bounces at puck.nether.net] On Behalf Of Ray Van Dolson
Sent: Friday, September 09, 2011 11:12 AM
To: dc-ops at puck.nether.net
Subject: Re: [dc-ops] Inventory management packages

On Thu, Sep 08, 2011 at 08:13:57AM -0700, Tait Clarridge wrote:
> On Wed, 2011-09-07 at 19:48 -0400, Jay Ashworth wrote:
> > Does anyone have anything good (web-based, of course) for managing
> > servers in slots, IP addresses, names, cabling... that sort of
> > thing?
> > 
> > I'm either being careful or optimistic.  I'm hoping for 'careful'.
> > 
> > Cheers, -- jra
> I've been playing around with RackMonkey (http://www.rackmonkey.org)
> and it isn't too bad for visualizing hardware in the rack space you
> might have. Unfortunately it seems development has stopped but at
> least the framework is there if you have a developer include the rest
> of the things you might require.
> Not the best solution, but it fulfilled the needs for our upcoming
> migration and optimization of rackspace. Their roadmap looks very
> promising but unfortunately it looks like that stuff won't happen
> unless someone continues development.
> I'd be open to a discussion on all the features we would need added
> to rackmonkey or created if a new system was fully defined.
> -Tait

Wow, had never run across that one before.  Too bad development

Anyone aware of _commercial_ products that do this sort of thing?

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