Before getting started you might want to read about the birth of the niche cloud in the first part of this two part series.
We have all heard the saying, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Yes that is true, but we aren’t thankfully dogs. Learning to do something new of course, requires an open mind-set and a desire for change. Many organizations are getting left out of digital disruption these days because they keep falling back on old outdated ideas, behaviors and habits. Our minds are so full, so occupied and so tired we simply cannot grasp or don’t have the energy for anything new. We spend our time applying what is new to what we know, which is old.
In this article lets reset our minds and look at an approach to build a niche cloud from the ground up. Instead of pealing back the onion we will apply layer after layer until we have the onion itself. Of course I realize there is a lot more and this article is just scratching at the surface, nevertheless it is an approach, a basic rule-set and guideline for getting started.
In this article we will explore an important part of day 2 operations in OpenStack or any IaaS, systems management. There are two ways to maintain applications: immutable or lifecyle. Satellite is a product from Red Hat that focuses on lifecycle management. Specifically the deployment, updating, patching and configuration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as well as the applications running on top throughout entire lifecycle. We will discuss the value Satellite brings to OpenStack and why systems management is a key part of day 2 cloud operations. Investigate the Satellite architecture and how it applies to OpenStack. Finally we will go through hands-on deploy of Satellite on OpenStack, even deploying an instance and automatically connecting the instance to Satellite, all using Ansible.
The Value of Satellite in OpenStack
Satellite is the second product Red Hat created after RHEL. It has been around for over 10 years and recently gone through a major re-architecture from ground up to address cloud. Red Hat customers have used Satellite to create a standard operating environment (SOE) for RHEL and the applications that run on RHEL for 10+ years. Satellite provides the ability to create various content views and bring them together in a composite content view (a group of content views). This allows us to group content (RPMs, configuration management, Tar files, whatever else) and most importantly version it. Once we can group software and version it we can start thinking about release management across a lifecyle environment. A lifecycle environment is typically something similar the holy trinity: development, test and production. The versions of software for our OS and applications of course vary, you don’t want to update software in production without testing in development or test right?