Ironic is an open-source service for automating provisioning and lifecycle management of bare metal machines. Born as the Bare Metal service of the OpenStack cloud software suite, it has evolved to become a semi-autonomous project, adding ways to be deployed independently as a standalone service, for example using Bifrost, and integrates in other tools and projects, as in the case of Metal3.

Ironic nowadays supports the two main standard hardware management interfaces, Redfish and IPMI, and thanks to its large community of contributors, it can provide native support for many different bare-metal hardware vendors, such as Dell, Fujitsu, HPE, and Supermicro.

Why Ironic in Metal3

  • Ironic is open source! This aligns perfectly with the philosophy behind Metal3.
  • Ironic has a vendor agnostic interface provided by a robust set of RESTful APIs.
  • Ironic has a vibrant and diverse community, including small and large operators, hardware and software vendors.
  • Ironic provides features covering the whole hardware life-cycle: from bare metal machine registration and hardware specifications retrieval of newly discovered bare metal machines, configuration and provisioning with custom operating system images, up to machines reset, cleaning for re-provisionionig or end-of-life retirement.

How Metal3 uses Ironic

The Metal3 project adopted Ironic as the back-end that manages bare-metal hosts behind native Kubernetes API.

Bare Metal Operator is the main component that interfaces with the Ironic API for all operations needed to provision bare-metal hosts, such as hardware capabilites inspection, operating system installation, and re-initialization when restoring a bare-metal machine to its original status.