Warewulf has had a number of iterations over the last 20 years, but its design tenets have always remained the same: a simple, scalable, stateless (however some versions were able to provision stateful), and very flexible operating system provisioning system for all types of clusters. This is an overview of how Warewulf works.
Warewulf is an operating system provisioning platform for Linux that is designed to produce secure, scalable, turnkey cluster deployments that maintain flexibility and simplicity.
Since its initial release in 2001, Warewulf has become the most popular open source and vendor-agnostic provisioning system within the global HPC community. Warewulf is known for its massive scalability and simple management of stateless (disk optional) provisioning.
Warewulf leverages a simple administrative model centralizing administration around virtual node images which are used to provision out to the cluster nodes. This means you can have hundreds or thousands of cluster nodes all booting and running on the same, identical virtual node file system image. As of Warewulf v4, the virtual node image is a standard container image which means all compute resources within a cluster can be managed using any existing container tooling and/or CI pipelines that are being used. This can be as simple as DockerHub or your own private GitLab CI infrastructure.
With this architecture, Warewulf combines the best of High Performance Computing (HPC), Cloud, Hyperscale, and Enterprise deployment principals to create and maintain large scalable stateless clusters.
While Warewulf's roots are in HPC, it has been used for many different types of tasks and use cases. Everything from clustered web servers, to rendering farms, and even Kubernetes and cloud deployments, Warewulf brings benefit in experience of general operating system management at scale.
Lightweight: Warewulf provisions stateless operating system images and then gets out of the way. There should be no underlying system dependencies or changes to the provisioned cluster node operating systems.
Simple: Warewulf is used by hobbyists, researchers, scientists, engineers and systems administrators because it is easy, lightweight, and simple.
Flexible: Warewulf is highly flexible and can address the needs of any environment-- from a computer lab with graphical workstations, to under-the-desk clusters, to massive supercomputing centers providing traditional HPC capabilities to thousands of users.
Agnostic: From the Linux distribution of choice to the underlying hardware, Warewulf is agnostic and standards compliant. From ARM to x86, Atos to Dell, Debian, SuSE, Rocky, CentOS, and RHEL, Warewulf can do it all.
Secure: Warewulf is the only stateless provisioning system that will support SELinux out of the box. Just enable your node operating system container to support SELinux, and Warewulf do the rest!
Open Source: For the last 20 years, Warewulf has remained open source and continues to be the golden standard for cluster provisioning.