Dell Bare Metal Provisioning 3.0 – Automate the Network

Dell FTOSToday Dell released FTOS 9.1 for its Z9000 and S4810 data center switches. A lot of cool features have been added to the ubiquitous switch operating system, perhaps most notably the support for OpenFlow. However, in this blog I will be discussing one feature, Bare Metal Provisioning (BMP), that I worked extensively with and heavily promote, as I truly believe it’s a powerful utility to further help network engineers automate their networks for greater resiliency.

As many of you know, although this is a purely personal blog with no affiliation with Dell, I am a Dell employee. I believe Dell is going in the right direction to lead the pack in terms of providing an end-to-end solution from servers, storage, networking, to software and services. BMP is a perfect example of how innovative Dell software ties with Dell networking to provide a solution to a specific problem. BMP is part of Dell’s Open Automation Framework and allows for a switch to automatically load pre-defined configurations and boot images that are stored on a file server. A new feature in BMP 3.0, which is included in FTOS 9.1, is the ability for a switch to download and run scripts upon switch boot-up so that automated testing, configuration, and validation can be performed.

BMP 3.0 is an incredibly useful utility for network automation, especially in virtualized data centers where automation is used heavily. Upon boot-up, a switch can make an intelligent decision on the appropriate action or configuration to apply based on the status of the surrounding environment. I can write an extensive blog here on BMP 3.0, its benefits, and different use cases. However, I don’t have to because you can check out my most recent whitepaper “Dell Bare Metal Provisioning 3.0 – Automate the Network” on Dell’s website. You can also download the associated script files referenced in the whitepaper here. As I like to tell my friends, “Automate your Network today!”


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