Server provisioning at Spindle

Written by Henk Bokhoven on 1st June 2017

Drop it like it’s hot

Imagine: grab a random server from your infrastructure, bring it up to the 10th floor, drop it out of the window and be able to recover in 10 minutes. Can you..?

Besides ordering a new piece of hardware, do you have the means to get this done in approximately 10 minutes? Well, let’s show you some of what we at Devhouse Spindle have done in trying to overcome this so-called “10th-floor test”.

When I started as an infrastructure engineer at Spindle last January, I was given the task to set up

“a procedure, assisted with tools and infrastructure, to provision, install the OS, and configure the network, in a simple, secure, and reliable fashion.”

This is how I began my journey at the “home of the nerds” in Groningen!

Union of the snake

Before making a definitive choice, we made a small overview of tools to be considered right for the job. Here’s a shortlist of what we came up with:

  • FAI (“Fully Automatic Installation”), written in Perl.
  • Foreman, written in Ruby and seems to be biased towards Puppet.
  • Cobbler, written in Python and originally targeted at Red Hat / CentOS.
  • RackHD, a modular, API-based technology stack made by Dell EMC.