OPEN SOURCE STACKI
Stacki is an open source bare metal provisioning tool that automates the provisioning of bare metal infrastructure, from a few individual servers to large interconnected clusters.
There are options out there for doing bare metal installs, from hand-installation to fully automated commercial products. But Stacki is different. Built over a decade of hands-on experience, the Stacki installer will give you the ability to spin up new servers at need, without having to configure anything by hand – not RAID cards, not IP addresses – nothing. It will install 1 or 1000s of servers for you at blazing speed, and when done installing will leave you with a server perfectly installed to operate in your environment. It’s seen use in some of the world’s largest enterprises, so stability – sometimes a problem in open source projects – is not an issue.
Where Does Stacki Come From?
Stacki was created by the core developers of the open source cluster management software — Rocks. With more than a decade of growth and development, Rocks remains the defacto industry standard for managing high performance compute clusters. There are over a million nodes in more than 10,000 clusters under management by Rocks. Being open source, Rocks benefits from an active, growing, global community that shares ideas and contributes to the project. Two of the original authors of Rocks are still leading the StackIQ engineering team working on developing Stacki further today.
How Versatile is it?
One of the issues with many bare metal installers is the fact that they rely on things like “golden images.” Stacki is different. Using ISOs, RPMs, and dynamically generated kickstart files, Stacki takes information you’ve given it via command line and/or a spreadsheet, and builds the definition of your system on-demand. This means that you can dictate things like RAID configuration, partitioning, hostname, etc. In a spreadsheet, and then apply that information to as many servers as necessary. Using parallelized installation techniques, Stacki can install 100s of machines in nearly the same amount of time as it installs one. And each one can be configured the way you need for your environment.
What’s the Point?
Stacki will spin up machines – be they virtual or physical – correctly every time. No chance of misconfiguration, no time sitting at a console answering prompts. Once the machine is defined via spreadsheets and command lines, it simply does the install, leaving you more time for other important tasks, and relieving you of the need to validate the installation of every single machine. You can also reinstall it with a command line on the Stacki server and a reboot of the target server – quick, efficient, reliable.
Can it Do X…?
Your environment is unique in some ways. Every organization or individual has oddities about their network, hardware, standards, or processes that require something special. If there is one thing the StackIQ engineers learned over their combined decades of work on the Rocks Open Source project and Stacki Pro, it is that a system needs to be maximally flexible. Able to install a functional machine with limited information, but able to be as adaptable to the environment as possible. So the chances are that the answer to your question is “Yes, it can if you…” but we’ve got a Wiki, forums, and the source code to help you answer these questions, and it would be impossible to address all of the possible permutations here
What’s Next? Get Started!
Here are some resources to get you started using Stacki to the best effect. We’re an open source project, so feel free to contribute – as a user or as a developer – like every open source project, we do not turn away new developers, documentation writers, or users with great ideas. The StackIQ engineering team gave us a great tool to start with, we get to help drive it from here. So let’s get started!