What is bare metal cloud?
It sounds like a contradiction at first. “Bare metal” usually refers to something physical in your data center or colocation site (like a server), while “cloud” is often associated with on-demand Web access to a pool of virtualized IT resources. Basically, cloud computing is meant to provide the level of elasticity that goes beyond the capabilities of any one machine.
The bare metal cloud, though, is built on the idea that a balance can be struck between traditional hardware and the cloud computing service model. Providers such as Internap, IBM and CenturyLink have all gotten a foothold in this rapidly growing market. Let’s look at how the bare metal cloud works and why CTOs and CIOs might pick it over something else.
The bare metal cloud fundamentals.
“Cloud” is a word that means a lot of different things depending on the context. With bare metal cloud in particular, there are two important characteristics that most solutions take:
Dedicated physical servers that do not run a hypervisor, allowing them to deliver top-notch performance without the overhead of virtualization.
Cloud-like automation, even without the hypervisor, via instant on-demand provisioning through an API or service portal that allows for evolving capacity needs to be met.
Together, these two fundamental features provide the best of both worlds: the reliable performance of equipment you choose and control, and the flexibility of the cloud. There is also plenty of room for customization (i.e., what type of processor or RAM to use in the supporting servers) as well as the option to make the bare metal cloud part of a hybrid IT architecture that includes virtualized clouds, colocation services, etc. It is a fresh and increasingly appealing approach to cloud.
“Unlike the Amazon AWS model, that has come to typify the ‘cloud,’ where all servers and services are virtualized, in this situation the physical servers are provided and provisioned on demand and are billed for in hourly or specific time increments, based on the contracted services,” explained David Chernicoff in an article for ZDNet. “The provider is responsible for the care and feeding of the servers, as well as the rest of the data center facility.”
Why pick bare metal cloud?
The biggest benefit of bare metal cloud is the ability to move past the age-old dilemma of having to choose between affordability and performance. Public cloud infrastructure can often be obtained at very low cost, but it might not offer the best performance. Meanwhile, running your own gear can be great for your applications but trouble for your budget.
Not so with bare metal cloud. Solutions may sport superior price-to-performance ratios compared to public cloud. At the same time, the infrastructure is dedicated to your use and may be enhanced with links to the provider’s content delivery networks, considerable bandwidth and around-the-clock technical support. For businesses looking for the global reach of the cloud delivered to a high-performance box, the bare metal cloud is just the ticket.