Ironic offers many benefits to cloud architects and administrators who manage bare metal instances. Here’s a look at how some of the 30 organizations in the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal Program are using it.


DENVER — OpenStack Ironic—the bare metal provisioning project—now manages millions of cores of compute all over the world, the tech equivalent of playing to a stadium crowd.

Thirty organizations banded together for the initial launch of the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal Program, including vendors running some of the world’s largest OpenStack clouds.  They range from giants like Verizon Media and CERN to operators such as France’s leading online classified ads company, LeBonCoin.  Here’s a look at how two of them are using it and why they adopted it.

Ironic offers many benefits to cloud architects and administrators who need to harmonize bare metal instances. The software supports automating the entire server infrastructure life cycle of deployments, including updates and decommissioning. It delivers cloud-like bare metal infrastructure with multi-tenant networks to end users when used as a driver to OpenStack Nova. With a standard API, broad driver support and lightweight footprint, Ironic excels as a management engine for a variety of bare metal infrastructure use cases – as demonstrated by the newly developed Bare Metal Operator for Kubernetes. These features make it work for a wide range of use cases, from small edge deployments to large data centers.

Take, for example, VEXXHOST a leading Canadian public, private and hybrid cloud provider with infrastructure powered by OpenStack.

“Ironic enables customers to dynamically increase or decrease their hypervisors and they don’t have to run two ‘compute’ pools but one converged pool of compute which can be used both for virtual machines and/or bare metal,” says CEO Mohammed Naser adding that Ironic simplifies the management of their servers. His company now ships it as part of their private cloud product, making the entire infrastructure powered by OpenStack from the ground up.”We only build out three controllers which then manage all the bare metal infrastructure which you can use both as metal machines or leverage those servers as hypervisors,” he says.

StackHPC, a startup focused on high-performance computing (HPC), software-defined networking (SDN), software engineering and OpenStack, has been users and developers of Ironic from the beginning. Ironic’s potential was apparent from its outset, says CTO Stig Telfer, and the team has been active in shaping some aspects of its evolution.

Clients in technical computing often have very different priorities in terms of trade-offs between performance and flexibility, he notes. The Bristol, UK-based company aims to develop solutions where Ironic is used in flexible ways, allowing clients to exploit the advantages offered by open infrastructure without sacrificing the performance they require.

StackHPC also uses Ironic as a standalone service (Bifrost) in Kayobe, their open-source deployment tool. Used in this way, Ironic provides the minimal subset of OpenStack needed to support deployment of private cloud control planes using Kolla and Kolla-Ansible.

Stay tuned to Superuser for more case studies —  like these from CERN and Platform9 — from the OpenStack Ironic Bare Metal Program.

Get involved

Read more about the latest Ironic updates and features in the recent Stein release and learn how to use and contribute to the project.

The community also formed a Bare Metal Special Interest Group (SIG) in February. Its mission is to make Ironic easy to operate and to evangelize the use cases and utility of the bare metal service. To get involved in the SIG, subscribe to the OpenStack Discuss mailing list or contact [email protected].