Software will define the future for infrastructure and operations professionals. The revelation that bare-metal hardware is in play opens up more possibilities for software-defined services. The differences under the covers of the software become more subtle, so your architecture, application development, service design, and engineering skills are more critical than ever before.
Architecturally, you can view bare-metal cloud as an extension of a dedicated hosting environment, and many current bare-metal cloud providers had their roots in — and still provide — traditional hosting and managed services offerings. As a natural evolution of this business model, most bare-metal cloud providers offer the option to combine dedicated hosting or managed services with their bare-metal cloud offerings. Customers can run the variable or flex portion of the workloads in the cloud environment and the stable production portions with minimal or at least predictable load variation in the dedicated environment.
Consider Bare-metal Cloud for Selected Workloads
Bare-metal cloud is a viable option for a wide range of workloads, and if you have requirements in the areas that are regularly cited as being well-suited for bare-metal cloud deployment, you should seriously evaluate this option.
Among the best-fit workloads for bare-metal cloud are:
- Time-critical bounded transactions and latency-sensitive workloads
- Workloads where multi-tenancy is not acceptable but cloud agility is required
- Streaming media processing and other high I/O workloads
- Streaming and real-time analytics such as ad insertion and social media analytics
Infrastructure and operations pros must also recognize that potential users of bare-metal cloud can avail themselves of a powerful alternative for their workloads but also assume more responsibility in evaluating and modeling the solution’s cost versus that of a conventional VM-based cloud, dedicated colocation, and on-premises-based infrastructure.
Evaluate the Economics of Bare-metal
A robust cost analysis of any cloud environment can be tricky, and bare-metal clouds are no exception. Prospective customers must understand their workloads, data volumes and flows, and the contractual instruments involved. In particular, architects and developers must have a very granular understanding of the differences between VM-based and bare-metal-based execution of their transactions, from two important perspectives:
Performance against SLA goals is a critical metric — the one that makes or breaks the selection. If the bare-metal cloud delivers acceptable performance, it moves to the top of the decision tree.
- Price performance.
If either a VM-based or bare-metal solution can deliver acceptable performance, the next node in the decision tree is the price-performance ratio. Comparisons of cloud options are complex, and you can rarely trust the vendor-supplied tools, so be prepared to develop your own cost models. The principal predictor of whether a bare-metal cloud will be cost-effective is if the workload entails using multiple large VMs on a continual basis.
Software-defined hardware, in the form of a bare-metal cloud offering, allows you to flexibly provision dedicated physical servers with cloud semantics without any overhead from virtualization software.
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