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Crowbar is quietly getting more interesting


Damon Edwards / 

Crowbar is an interesting project that I’ve covered before. Born out of Dell’s cloud group, much of the initial buzz described it as an installer for the cloud era… “kickstart on steroids”, if you will.

Crowbar’s close association with the OpenStack project has further cemented its reputation as an installer to watch. But’s it’s Crowbar’s quiet potential as a stack management tool that is the most interesting. Through the use of barclamps (Crowbar’s modules) you can tell Crowbar to build a full stack from the BIOS config all the way up to your middleware and applications. John Willis on an episode of DevOps Cafe called it “Data Center as Code”.

Crowbar barclamps are also an interesting way for independent projects or vendors to ensure that their projects/products can be easily integrated into a custom platform (today this type of focus is usually in the context of making things work on OpenStack). Want to add a new component to your platform? Grab the barclamp and Crowbar will know how to do the rest. Or at least that is the promise. The project is still young and the community is still forming.

Leading open source software projects is new territory for Dell, as a company, but the Crowbar team does seem committed and community focused. I’ve heard some grumbles from developers that barclamp development and testing cycles can be a bit tedious due to the nature of what you are building. But no reason to believe that those types of issues won’t get sorted out over time. 

A couple of Crowbar related videos are below:

The first video was made by my DTO Solutions colleague, Keith Hudgins, after he wrote a barclamp for Zenoss. It’s a short demo and tour that can give you a feel for Crowbar and Barclamps.

The next video is Barton George (Dell) interviewing Rob Hirshfeld (Dell). They start off talking about the Hadoop barclamp but quickly getting into a broader discussion about Crowbar. 

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