6.7. Digital Rebar version 4.6 [Spring 2021]

Release Date: April 30, 2021

Release Themes: High Availability, Universal Workflow

In addition to bug fixes and performance improvements, the release includes several customer-driven features.

See Release Summaries for a complete list of all releases.

6.7.1. Important Notices

  • For operators mananging signed certificates, the process for updating and importing certificates has changed to require using the DRPCLI or API to update certificates. See Certificate Operations for details.

6.7.1.1. Vulnerabilities

The following vulnerabilities were reported

6.7.1.2. Deprecations

The following items are flagged as deprecated in v4.5 and will be removed in v4.6.

  • Old pattern cluster synchronization with cluster-add, cluster-step and cluster-sync. Operators should migrate to the new cluster-gate-* patterns.
  • terraform-provider-drp based on the DRP v3 API will not be supported
  • Centos7 Sledgehammer will not continue to get updates after this release. Customers should plan to migrate to the Centos8 version.

The following items are marked Deprecated in v4.6 and will be removed in a future DRP release:

6.7.1.3. Removals

None at this time.

6.7.2. Sledgehammer Centos8 Default & Updates

The Centos8 Sledgehammer (aka SL8) is now the Discovery default.

We have made many updates to the Cento8 Sledgehammer this release. You will need to get an updated version of Sledgehammer as part of this release.

Centos7 Sledgehammer is still available by adding the sledgehammer-centos7-v4.6.0 profile to the global profile or a specific machine to allow for its usage; however, Centos7 Sledgehammer will not continue to get updates after this release. Customers should plan to migrate to the Centos8 version.

6.7.3. Limit client TLS ciphers

DRP server allows clients to connect with a range of TLS ciphers by default. Some security teams choose restrict the allowed ciphers.

Operators who wish to restrict use of client ciphers are advised to start with the –tls-min-version flags. Operators can use the –tls-cipher-list and –tls-ciphers-available command line flags to determine the current and available ciphers.

Note: this feature was also backported to v4.5.2+

6.7.4. Stand Alone High Availability (HA with RAFT Concensus)

The v4.3 High Availability feature was designed to rely on pacemaker or corosync to trigger failover. This requirement has been elimimated.

In this verion, DRP HA includes integrated leader (re)election capability. Operators will be able to influence or force changes in leadership.

This enables DRP to be used in site bootstrapping environments or locations where the additional requirement for failover detection was an operational burden.

Due to the dynamic nature of this approach, an odd number and a minimum of three nodes are required to build a resilient cluster. In future releases, a remote multi-site manager may be able to particpate in the cluster as a tie breaker.

6.7.5. Support for Client Long Polling

Long Polling allows clients that cannot use websockets to monitor DRP server for data changes to select objects. This option provides a much lower overhead and faster way for clients to monitor DRP for updates than time-based polling.

RackN recommends using websockets when available; however long polling is strongly encouraged to reduce load on the DRP server when websockets cannot be used.

6.7.6. Operating System Updates

The support for the following Operating Systems was added or significantly improved in this release

  • Ubuntu 20.04 - Canonical made significantly changes to this install that had to be accomodated.
  • Centos 8 via Image Deploy - Tooling updates were required to run for both 7 and 8. These may break backwards compatability.
  • RHEL 8 via Image Deploy - Tooling updates were required to run for both 7 and 8. These may break backwards compatability.
  • RHEL 8 Network Deploy - Tooling updates were required to run for both 7 and 8. These may break backwards compatability.
  • VMware Photon (preview) - Specialized immutable O/S from VMware may have operational restrictions based on hardware
  • ESXi via Image Deploy (preview) - see detail below

6.7.7. Image Deploy for ESXi 7.x (preview)

To improve the speed and consistence of VMware ESXi installation, The Image Deploy workflow has been expanded to include support for the ESXi operating system. This allows operators to install ESXi directly to disk from a proven image and bypass the time consuming netboot (WEASEL) and post-configuration processes.

The process has specific requirements including the Digital Rebar VMware agent (aka DRPY) and having the correct partition maps. Please contact RackN for assistance.

6.7.8. UX Improved Performance

The object storage, retrieval and event processing of the UX was significantly refactored to improve performance for larger environments. In the new model, static objects are cached by the user’s browser during initial login and do not have to be (re)retrieved on each page update. In addition, event subscriptions are limited to the displayed objects only.

Previous versions of the UX subscribed to all system events. This created a significant load on both browser and DRP server in large scale environments.

6.7.9. UX Improved Task Debugger

To better assist Task developers, the UX added a new tab to the machine view that shows live updates of the Jobs running against a machine during a workflow execution. This helps developers monitor a whole workflow lifecycle and provides additional tools for debug, stepping and restarting.

Note: This change relies on features that are only available in v4.6.

We expect this view will continue to improve as the communtiy provides feedback.

6.7.10. Universal Workflow

The components of Universal Workflow are all included the the v4.6 release. Universal Workflow provides a standardized workflow that can be applied to all provisioning operations in a consistent way. Within that workflow, the system is able to dynamically adapt to the detected environment and take additional actions. Unlike previous cloned Workflows, Operators may add their own custom stages and tasks to the Universal Workflow without interfering with standard operating processes.

Note: There are no helpers or added design tools for Universal Workflow in the v4.6 UX. These will roll out incrementally based on customer design interactions.

Additional documentation on Universal usage can be found at:

6.7.11. UX Streamlined License Process

For new/trial users, the UX will guide you to create a RackN account before using the product. We have eliminated the requirement to validate an email address before issuing a license. Instead, a short term license will be immediately authorized while the user account is confirmed via one of several routes. Please see RackN Licensing Overview (v4.6+) for more details.

For existing users bringing up a new endpoint, the UX will be more proscriptive about making sure that your license is uploaded into the endpoint.

We’ve also improved alerting about license expiration.

6.7.12. Sledgehammer can use BIOS with Tagged VLANs

Sledgehammer now includes tagged VLAN options to work with servers using BIOS settings to boot from a tagged VLAN.

The vlan value is included on the network-data parameter.

6.7.13. Updates to Hardware BIOS and RAID tooling

Due to tooling changes by multiple hardware vendors, sigificant upgrades to the BIOS, firmware and RAID tooling were required in this release. These changes are not being backported.

Note: The updated tooling enables AMD CPUs to be supported in v4.6+.

6.7.14. Other Items of Note

  • UX
    • Improved alerting if DRP server loses connection
    • Token cached to avoid login if browser is refreshed
    • Machine Debug View (requires v4.6 DRP)
    • Catalog Intelligent Upgrade
    • Catalog Limits Versions
    • Ability to set UX Banner color
  • Content System
    • Readonly content can override writable objects (using drpcli contents upload –replaceWritable)
  • Profiles * Profile filters for Params have parity with Machine filters (v4.6.2+)
  • User Names * Username can now have @ symbols to allow for better active directory integration. (v4.6.2+)