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Hi Rick,

it all depends on what do you need from your Ironic installation. Using Ironic as integrated part of OpenStack brings its own benefits like deploying Nova instances to baremetal transparently for the user and using Neutron for network isolation. The currently "required" services to use Ironic as part of OpenStack are [0]:

  • Keystone
  • Neutron
  • Glance
    • Swift (depending on ironic drivers in use)
  • Nova for most non-admin user interactions, as in integrated case Ironic is basically admin-only service, all normal users deploy to baremetal via Nova

On the other hand, Ironic can work without any of the above - the so called standalone case [1]. It basically requires only a reachable storage for images, a DHCP service for the baremetal nodes, and a TFTP/HTTP server for (i)PXE-booting the nodes, no other OpenStack components. In the OpenStack ecosystem, this is useful for TripleO-style seed cloud installations.

For Ironic standalone, please also check out the community "bifrost" [2] project, which is a set of Ansible playbooks to install standalone ironic, enroll nodes into it and deploy them with an image.