Fighting the Temptation of Bare-Metal Clouds

Fighting the Temptation of Bare-Metal Clouds

Fighting the Temptation of Bare-Metal Clouds

Written by David Linthicum exclusively for Nelson Hilliard

A bare-metal cloud is a public cloud service in which the cloud service consumer rents hardware resources from a public cloud service provider, or sometimes a managed service provider.  In other words, you get direct access to the hardware platform without having to go through tenant management systems.    Therefore, one of the benefits of bare-metal cloud, as its sold to the public, is the ability to better support high-transaction workloads that do not tolerate latency.   

I’ve found that bare-metal is often used by tier 2 cloud providers, and managed services providers, as a selling point of their “cloud.”   Indeed, enterprises that are still attempting to maintain control over their hardware and software often pick bare-metal to maintain that control, typically while not considering costs and workloads requirements.   

Here’s the skinny.   

First, if you’re going to leverage bare-metal clouds make sure to compare costs to actual bare-metal, meaning hardware and software you can buy and install in a data center, or under your desk.   In doing many of these cost models for clients I’ve found that it’s much cheaper to continue to buy your own hardware and software, including operations and maintenance.       

Second, the performance does not seem to be that much better.    This is pretty much set by I/O of bare-metal versus traditional multitenant cloud services.    While you would think that bare-metal will “kill it” in terms of I/O performance and lower latency, public cloud providers have done such a good job with management of access to underlying physical resources that the difference is not that much.   However, do your own benchmarking.    

Finally, and the deal breaker for me, it takes much longer to spin up servers on bare-metal clouds than traditional cloud resources.    This means that you’re ability to expand on demand and change on demand is a bare-metal trade-off.    This accounts for most of the value that cloud computing providers, thus moving to cloud but not gaining agility is downright dumb. 

Not that there are not some applications for bare-metal, I get that.   But, what I’m talking about here is that the majority of workloads that end up on bare-metal get no benefit from being there, other than the ability for IT to claim proudly that they are on bare-metal clouds.    Let’s work in reality, shall we?


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David S. Linthicum is a managing director and chief cloud strategy officer. David is internationally recognized as the worlds No.1 cloud computing industry expert, pundit and thought-leader.

(Disclosure: David Linthicum’s views in the blogs, video shows and podcasts are his OWN and are NOT financially sponsored by Nelson Hilliard)

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