Cloud environments today are part of the IT infrastructure of most enterprises due to all the benefits they provide, including flexibility, scalability, ease of use and pay-as-you-go consumption and billing.
But not all cloud infrastructure is the same.
In this multicloud world, finding the right fit between a workload and a cloud provider becomes a new challenge. Application components, such as web-based content serving platforms, real-time analytics engines, machine learning clusters and Real-Time Bidding (RTB) engines integrating dozens of partners, all require different features and may call for different providers. Enterprises are looking at application components and IT initiatives on a project by project basis, seeking the right provider for each use case. Easy cloud-to-cloud interconnectivity allows scalable applications to be distributed over infrastructure from multiple providers.
Bare Metal cloud is a deployment model that provides unique and valuable advantages, especially compared to the popular virtualized/VM cloud models that are common with hyperscale providers. Let’s explore the benefits of the bare metal cloud model and highlight some use cases where it offers a distinctive edge.
Advantages of the Bare Metal Cloud Model
Both bare metal cloud and the VM-based hyperscale cloud model provide flexibility and scalability. They both allow for DevOps driven provisioning and the infrastructure-as-code approach. They both help with demand-based capacity management and a pay-as-you-go budget allocation.
But bare metal cloud has unique advantages:
Whether you need NVMe storage for high IOPS, a specific GPU model, or a unique RAM-to-CPU ratio or RAID level, bare metal is highly customizable. Your physical server can be built to the unique specifications required by your application.
Bare Metal cloud enables high-performance computing, as no virtualization is used and there is no hypervisor overhead. All the compute cycles and resources are dedicated to the application.
Tuned for Performance
Bare metal hardware can be tuned for performance and features, be it disabling hyperthreading in the CPU or changing BIOS and IPMI configurations. In the 2018 report, Price-Performance Analysis: Bare Metal vs. Cloud Hosting, INAP Bare Metal was tested against IBM and Amazon AWS cloud offerings. In Hadoop cluster performance testing, INAP’s cluster completed the workload 6% faster than IBM Cloud’s Bare Metal cluster and 6% faster than AWS’s EC2 offering, and 3% faster than AWS’s EMR offering.
Additional Security on Dedicated Machine Instances
With a bare metal server, security measures, like full end-to-end encryption or Intel’s Trusted Execution and Open Attestation, can be easily integrated.
Full Hardware Control
Bare metal servers allow full control of the hardware environment. This is especially important when integrating SAN storage, specific firewalls and other unique appliances required by your applications.
Bare metal server instances are generally bundled with bandwidth. This eliminates the need to worry about bandwidth cost overages, which tend to cause significant variations in cloud consumption costs and are a major concern for many organizations. For example, the Price Performance Analysis report concluded that INAP’s Bare Metal machine configuration was 32 percent less expensive than the same configuration running on IBM Cloud. The report can be found for download here.
Efficient Compute Resources
Bare metal cloud offers more cost-effective compute resources when compared to the VM-based model for similar compute capacity in terms of cores, memory and storage.
Bare Metal Cloud Workload Application Use Cases
Given these benefits, a bare metal cloud provides a competitive advantage for many applications. Feedback from customers indicates it is critical for some use cases. Here is a long—but not exhaustive—list of use cases:
- High-performance computing, where any overhead should be avoided, and hardware components are selected and tuned for maximum performance: e.g., computing clusters for silicon chip design.
- AdTech and Fintech applications, especially where Real-Time Bidding (RTB) is involved and speedy access to user profiles and assets data is required.
- Real-time analytics/recommendation engine clusters where specific hardware and storage is needed to support the real-time nature of the workloads.
- Gaming applications where performance is needed either for raw compute or 3-D rendering. Hardware is commonly tuned for such applications.
- Workloads where database access time is essential. In such cases, special hardware components are used, or high performance NVMe-based SAN arrays are integrated.
- Security-oriented applications that leverage unique Intel/AMD CPU features: end-to-end encryption including memory, trust execution environments, etc.
- Applications with high outbound bandwidth usage, especially collaboration applications based on real-time communications and webRTC platforms.
- Cases where a dedicated compute environment is needed either by policy, due to business requirements or for compliance.
- Most applications where compute resource usage is steady and continuous, the application is not dependent on PaaS services, the hardware footprint size is considerable, and cost is a limiting concern.
Is Bare Metal Your Best Fit?
Bare Metal cloud provides many benefits when compared to virtualization-based cloud offerings.
Bare Metal allows for high performance computing with a highly customizable hardware resources that can be tuned up for maximum performance. It offers a dedicated compute environment with more control on the resources and more security in a cost-effective way.
Bare metal cloud can be an attractive solution to consider for your next workload or application and it is a choice validated and proven by some of the largest enterprises with mission-critical applications.