The Foreman is a complete lifecycle management tool for physical and virtual servers. In other words, all that DHCP/DNS/Configuration Management/etc that is required by an operating system to function properly – The Foreman handles it, and handles it well. It also has an architecture which utilizes Smart-Proxies – which provides a restful API to underlying subsystems for distributed environments. While The Foreman understands some concepts within infrastructure management it is primarily focused on virtual and physical machine provisioning and management and managing the operating systems contained within those machines once they are deployed. Provisioning and configuration management are two areas that are very important to enterprise customers as it reduces the cost of operating while simultaneously reducing risk, specifically in the dynamic world of cloud computing.
The combination of provisioning and configuration management The Foreman provides is compelling, because it uses standard technologies that have existed for years and provides robust federation of those technologies. However, many IT organizations may already have a provisioning system or configuration management engine in place. Enterprises need a way of continuing to leverage their existing investment while planning their next generation IT architectures. CloudForms can assist with the adoption of The Foreman in existing IT architectures and also lays the groundwork for exciting new possibilities in streamlining application delivery across heterogeneous infrastructure.
CloudForms provides discovery, monitoring, eventing, control policies, chargeback, catalog based self-service – all of which are important. It also abstracts various provisioning methods for infrastructure and is not bound to a single configuration management system.
For this reason, and as you might suspect from the title of this post, it is only natural that CloudForms and The Foreman should compliment each other. Here are a few ways in which The Foreman and CloudForms can compliment each other.
- CloudForms can assist with the discovery and import of brown-field environments into The Foreman.
- CloudForms can allow users to leverage different provisioning systems while using The Foreman for configuration management.
- CloudForms can promote systems between environments (dev/test/prod) in The Foreman based on the data it contains or by integrating with external systems (ticketing, change control, capacity and utilization data).
- The Foreman can provide facts about systems to CloudForms for reporting and use in control policies, providing greater insight with less overhead.
These are just a few ideas, there are many more useful scenarios. One other scenario that may be possible soon – An application developer implements a change in a PaaS application and a change in a Virtual Machine (VM) within a IaaS provider in a development environment. Perhaps this developer needed to use a virtual machine running IIS which the PaaS doesn’t yet support. The PaaS event (a source control check-in) and the drift detection provided by The Foreman can be correlated by CloudForms and a workflow can be initiated to re-provision the PaaS application and corresponding virtual machine to a continuous testing environment for analysis while taking into account cost, performance, and security requirements. The pieces are coming together to make this scenario a reality.
Here is a quick demonstration of how these two systems can work together. High-Res Quicktime Format
One final note: Since The Foreman will be included in a future version of Red Hat Satellite, it is likely that the integration between CloudForms and The Foreman will only improve over time.