Nebulon gets Ansible collection for datacentre deployment

Provider of cloud-managed and hardware-accelerated – formerly ‘cloud-defined’ – storage makes further moves towards its smartInfrastructure vision, with Terraform support coming

Nebulon has continued its efforts to evolve to being a wider provider of infrastructure by announcing a Red Hat Ansible collection that builds its capabilities into the provisioning software supplier’s frameworks.

That capability will allow IT departments to roll out and reconfigure Nebulon storage and server capacity via an Ansible collection, which provides configuration settings for so-called playbooks that automate provisioning across IT estates.

Nebulon will also launch support for Terraform, another widely deployed infrastructure management product, later in 2022.

According to Tobias Flitsch, director of product marketing at Nebulon, the company is not likely to support the other two key competitors of Ansible and Terraform – Chef and Puppet.

 “We started with Ansible because it makes most sense,” said Flitsch. “It allows customers to do the most.

“Terraform is next on the list for later this year. We won’t support Chef and Puppet unless we need to.”

Ansible – bought by Red Hat in 2015 – is one of a number of tools that enable software and infrastructure configuring and provisioning, as well as application deployment. Ansible allows customers to provision, tear down and reprovision infrastructure for their application clusters and manage data services.

It is an open source product and aimed at Unix server environments.

It uses human-readable YAML templates that allow users to program repetitive tasks without learning an advanced language.

Ansible replaces ad-hoc scripting or manual management with an automated, repeatable process. It pushes application code, programs and IT infrastructure configurations to managed nodes, such as physical servers, virtual machines or cloud instances.

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Ansible and Terraform have a lot in common, although they use different languages and syntax, with the former more suited to configuration and the latter orchestration via an infrastructure-as-code approach.

Nebulon started out as a provider of “cloud-defined storage”. Its core offer is based around locally deployed hardware – so-called SPUs (storage processing units) – which are based on an ARM processor from Broadcom. It connects nodes into a cluster via 25Gbps Ethernet and takes control of their capacity to present a pool of shared storage.

Above this local capacity, Nebulon provides a cloud-based control plane – Nebulon ON – in which a portion of storage controller management operations are offloaded to the cloud.

The company claims it can save customers operational overheads up to 75% compared with hyper-converged and traditional three-tier architectures.

More recently, Nebulon has shifted its emphasis to a broader infrastructure provider, with a focus on hyper-converged infrastructure-like deployments in customer datacentres.

It calls this smartInfrastructure, which comprises compute and storage in a so-called cloud operating platform, with the intention of providing something like a cloud-like environment and experience on-prem and delivered via something that looks like hyper-converged infrastructure.

smartInfrastructure comes as several modules. According to the environment in use, the server equipped with Nebulon’s technology is SmartCore for VMware, SmartCore for Kubernetes or SmartIaaS for CSPs, which is aimed at OpenStack use.

“In order to be successful, IT organisations and service providers want to move away from managing their IT infrastructure manually and instead adopt automation frameworks,” said Siamak Nazari, CEO of Nebulon. “Infrastructure automation cannot be an exclusive privilege for hyperscale cloud providers, but it means on-premise IT infrastructure must be modernised in order to be successful.”

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