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Why some companies are turning to hosted bare metal

Why some companies are turning to hosted bare metal 

A bare metal environment consists of a computer system or network where a virtual machine is installed directly on hardware instead of being inside a hosted operating system. Bare metal refers to a single tenant server where only one company is taking the resources of a particular server as opposed to most cloud models where multiple users reside on the same physical server.

“VM (virtual machine) IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-Service) cloud services have become a strong infrastructure solution for reasons such as agility, low cost, and high throughput,” Richard Fichera, vice-president and principal analyst at research firm Forrester, said in his report which discussed the merits of bare-metal as a viable option to cloud service. “But hypervisor-based clouds can impose limitations.”

With a bare-metal setup companies have the flexibility to provision dedicated physical servers “without any overhead from virtualization software,” he said.

Many vendors including IBM, Rackspace, Internap and others have begun offering bare metal options.

Bare metal infrastructure is ideal for high-performing workloads that eat up lots of compute and memory capacity, according to a report from Networkworld, while VMs from a public cloud are great for highly variable workloads. Neither is better than the other, they just serve different purposes.

Among the pros of a bare metal infrastructure are:

  • Good for data intensive workloads
  • No need to deal with noisy server neighbours
  • Supports multiple types of operating systems including hypervisors
  • Consistent performance
  • Containers do not need to run in a VM
  • Typically billed on monthly basis

Disadvantages of the bare metal infrastructure include:

  • More expensive than IaaS cloud
  • Takes longer time to spin
  • No image machine image snapshots available
  • Often has more capacity than needed

Price is probably one of the most notable difference between bare metal and IaaS cloud

The IBM/SoftlLayer bare metal cloud offering costs US$0.37 per hour for a four-core server with 8GB of RAM. The company’s virtual machine starts at $0.038 per hours with 1GG of RAM. Microsoft Azure offers VMS with a starting price of $0.018 per hour.

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