Puppet Labs, EMC Debut Razor Open Source Provisioning Tool

Puppet Labs, provider of the very popular Puppet automation solution, has announced the launch of Razor, an open source, “next-generation” provisioning tool for both virtual and physical servers, developed in conjunction with EMC, and designed to enable management of the entire IT lifecycle, from bare metal to cloud application delivery.

The real differentiator here, Puppet Labs claims, is its auto-discovered, real-time inventory data. Rather than rely on infrequently-updated spreadsheets or barcoded inventory databases, EMC and Puppet are boasting that Razor can get up-to-date information on exactly what hardware is making up an IT environment – an absolutely critical concept when DevOps need to handle automation and provisioning at cloud scale and cloud speed.

Under the hood, Razor can automatically match an OS image to that automatically detected hardware, eliminating the headaches of manual intervention when hardware changes. A model-based automation system helps automatically bring each hardware node back to the desired state.

At launch, Razor supports VMware’s ESXi 5Centos 6openSUSE 12Ubuntu Oneiric/Precise, and Debian Wheezy. But as an open source project, Puppet and EMC are turning the job of mass-market support over the community, with the expectation that users will develop and release plug-ins for Razor that extend its support to more operating systems and boot sequences.

In that same vein, a major part of Razor’s value proposition is its open API architecture, making it possible to roll Razor together tightly with other DevOps tools.

“Many products out there try to solve ALL the problems for every layer instead of focusing on their layer correctly. They try and make their software layer the most important piece. Razor is designed to enable other tools rather than replace them,” writes EMC’s Nick Weaver, in a blog entry describing both the philosophy behind Razor and the basics of deploying it.

It’s that kind of flexibility – between hardware, hypervisors, virtual servers, and even on bare metal – that Weaver says sets it apart from cloud deployment and automation tools like Dell’s Crowbar. Combine that with the much-discussed openness, and Puppet and EMC think they’re onto the real next generation of DevOps tools.

EMC and Puppet Labs will be stopping by theCUBE at EMCWorld at 4:30pm PDT today with more insight, so make sure to check SiliconANGLE.tv.