- Bare Metal
- Bare Metal Cloud
- Big Data Benchmarks
- Big Data Experts Interviews
- Big Data Technologies
- Big Data Use Cases
- Big Data Week
- Data Lake as a Service
- Dedicated Servers
- Disaster Recovery
- Industry Standards
- Online Retail
- People of Bigstep
- Performance for Big Data Apps
- Press Corner
- Tech Trends
- What is Big Data
Addressing the IT Learning Curve with Bare Metal
The cloud is part of the natural evolution of the internet. Why run software locally when you can use a cloud app that’s automatically upgraded and patched, and that you can access from more than one workstation or device? Cloud services use hypervisors that allow one physical server to act as many, with each portion of a physical server being “rented” as a virtual machine.
Virtualization has much to offer: it allows users to scale capabilities up or down as needs dictate, it reduces the need for on-premises hardware and software management, and buying into a cloud solution for a business process is often far less expensive than implementing an on-site solution. Virtualization is terrific for highly dynamic workloads that aren’t overly dependent on performance. But virtualization has its drawbacks. And you might be surprised to learn that virtualization isn’t necessary to a cloud solution.
“Cloud” Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Virtualization”
The widely accepted cloud definition from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) does not include virtualization as a criterion. Rather, the essential characteristics of cloud technology include on-demand service, resource pooling, fast elasticity, and metered service. In other words, a virtualized server infrastructure is not necessary for obtaining the flexibility and scalability people associate with the cloud.
Bare metal computing is a primary case in point of cloud services that do not use virtualization. With bare metal computing, all the resources of physical (metal) servers are dedicated to a user, without a virtualized hypervisor layer. Since there is no hypervisor, and since resources are not shared, users can make the most of a servers processing power and do so through the cloud.
How Bare Metal Computing Works
Some computing tasks are seriously hindered, performance-wise, when run in a virtual mode. Big data processing is a primary example. Media encoding, render farm applications, and NoSQL applications are other examples of processes that require serious computing power and that are hampered by the overhead of virtualization.
When these types of processes are run via bare metal computing, entire servers are dedicated to the task and are not divided up into hypervisor-controlled segments. As a user, with bare metal computing, you have access to all cycles, memory, and storage. What makes it appealing to a growing number of users is that it retains the elasticity of cloud computing. With application programming interfaces (APIs) and other tools, bare metal computing can be just as elastic as a virtualized system.
Consider the Tradeoffs
Adding bare metal computing access is a little different than adding just another cloud process. For example, in virtualized environments, cloud providers deal with licensing, upgrades, patches, etc., but with bare metal computing your IT team will be responsible for more of these concerns. Bare metal computing will also require your team to learn to better anticipate data flow needs and data storage. Knowing these parameters helps you gauge computing allowances more accurately while making sure physical server storage needs are accounted for as well.
Since bare metal computing is based on dedicated access to physical hardware, it has similarities to accessing servers in a traditional on-premises data center. Those with experience in traditional data center operations have an advantage when provisioning bare metal computing, compared with those who have only dealt with the cloud.
Advantages of climbing the bare metal learning curve, however, are plentiful. Performance is the main advantage, but you also get direct control of storage, which can be helpful with issues like security and compliance. Additionally, you can customize bare metal processes to cope with specific workloads, just as you would tune your own servers for use as database servers, for example.
Not All Bare Metal Solutions Are Equal
Bare metal computing offers many advantages for some users, but not all providers of bare metal computing are alike. Bare metal computing can’t deliver the speed and performance you need if the connections the provider offers are slow. Moreover, the type of storage your bare metal provider offers can detract from bare metal’s performance advantages. Does your provider offer solid state drive (SSD) technology? If not, you may not get optimal performance from your bare metal solution.
Bigstep’s Full Metal Cloud offers bare metal computing, plus the fast connectivity and all-SSD storage necessary to derive full performance benefits. If you need to access the speed and performance of bare metal computing as a service, Full Metal Cloud provides the speed, convenience, and affordability you need in a bare metal computing solution. With the fastest connectivity and storage, Full Metal Cloud means you can enjoy the convenience of a cloud solution without having to compromise on performance.