TivSam and TPM
Customizations can streamline provisioning;
Create virtual machines and bare-metal servers using the same infrastructure
by Paul Quigley
Many customers have a need to provision bare metal servers as well as virtual servers in the cloud. The customers want to use the same self-service user interface for both types of resources.
Bare metal provisioning is different than virtualization. The term virtualization refers to the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as an OS, a server, or a network resource. A virtual machine is a multi-user, shared-resource, OS that gives each user the impression of having sole control of all computer or network resources.
A bare metal resource is a computer system in which a virtual machine is installed directly on hardware rather than within a host operating system (OS), known as a hypervisor, such as VMware ESX, KVM, Xen, or Hyper-v.
Bare metal provisioning provides functionality similar to the provisioning of virtual servers with two key differentiators:
- Only physical servers are used: Virtual servers are not used in bare metal provisioning. The images are provisioned to real hardware.
- No hosting operating system (hypervisor) is used: The operating system is typically installed from a boot server, such as Preboot Execution Environment (PXE), using standard booting processing to boot new hardware machines and install the operating system.
Implementing bare metal provisioning requires knowledge of Tivoli Service Automation Manager (TivSAM), Tivoli Provisioning Manager (TPM), and Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment (TPM for OSD). In particular, in-depth knowledge of provisioning artifacts, such as, workflows, runbooks, service offerings, offering catalogs, service definitions, management plans, and classifications is required. In addition, you should know how to code html files and program in Java script.
A solution to provision bare metal resources has been developed by several IBMers. The solution uses standard TivSAM and TPM extension points to work with images (known as operating system profiles) discovered by TPM for OSD to provision the bare metal resources.
When the solution is implemented, you use offerings on the self-service user interface to register bare metal images and provision bare metal servers.
An example of provisioning bare metal servers is shown to the right. In this case, the request is to Create a Bare Metal Project with one bare metal server. The cloud administrator has a choice between two bare metal images: RHEL 6.1 Bare Metal and Windows 2008 R2. The actual server will be selected from the Bare Metal resource group. The provisioning workflows will interface with TPM for OSD to boot the server and install the selected operating system.
Note: Prior to this task, the bare metal images were discovered by the TPM for OSD component as operating system profiles and registered with the TPM image library.
When the provisioning request completes, an email will be sent to the cloud administrator with information such as the server IP address and login details. This is very similar to the email sent when virtual servers are provisioned.
As customers transition to cloud computing, they depend on the speed, flexibility, standardization, and automation of the TivSAM self-service UI for provisioning of their virtual servers. However, not all of the customer applications are suited for a virtualized environment. Nor, are all customers ready to migrate to cloud computing and virtualization in a single step.
Bare metal provisioning allows the customers to have the best of both worlds - virtualized resources running side-by-side with real resources, provisioned from the same user interface.
For more information related to provisioning of bare metal servers, including implementation services, visit the contacts list at IBM Tivoli Consulting.
For more information about IBM Service Delivery Manager and Tivoli Service Automation Manager, visit http://www.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/service-delivery-manager/.
Paul Quigley is a Senior Technical Enablement Specialist with IBM Software Services for Tivoli with expertise in Tivoli Service Automation Manager, Tivoli Provisioning Manager and SmartCloud Provisioning.