Cloud Automation & Orchestration


At the heart of the ICCLab is the Management Server, which provides an easy way to stage different setups for different OpenStack instances (productive, experimental, etc.). The Management Server provides a DHCP, PXE and pre-configured processes which allow a bare metal computing unit to be provisioned automatically, using Foreman, and then have preassigned roles installed, using a combination of Foreman and Puppet. This provides a great deal of flexibility and support for different usage scenarios. Puppet is a key enabler. Puppet is an infrastructure automation system for the efficient management of large scale infrastructures. Using a declarative approach puppet can manage infrastructure lifecycles from provisioning, configuration, update and compliance management. All of these management capabilities are managed logically in a centralised fashion, however the system itself can be implemented in a distributed manner. A key motivation in using puppet is that all system configuration is codified using puppet’s declarative language. This enables the sharing of “infrastructure as code” not only through out an organisation but outside of an organisation by following open source models.

Problem Statement

With the infinite resources available today through cloud computing it is very possible to have large numbers of cloud resources (e.g. compute, storage, networking) delivering services to end users. Managing these cloud resources and the software stacks deploy on top is a huge challenge when the number of resources to configure and mange increase beyond single digits. The only way forward here is to investigate, adopt, improve automated management, configuration and orchestration tools. With automation comes increased testability, reliability (when done right) and ultimately faster times to market as exemplified by continuous integration and DevOps practices.

Articles and Info

There are a number of blog posts detailing how foreman and puppet are used in the ICCLab:

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