Technically Speaking

The Official Bigstep Blog

What makes a good bare metal cloud?

Bare metal cloud is a relatively new term to add to the technology lexicon. Emerging as a concept a few years ago, it has started to gain awareness and market momentum over the past few months. But as an emerging technology, there is still confusion around bare metal cloud and what it exactly entails.

As one of the first providers of bare metal cloud (and also the world’s most powerful public computing infrastructure), we feel well-positioned and well-qualified to shed some light on it, particularly focusing on two on the more overlooked aspects of bare metal cloud – storage and networking.

What is bare metal cloud?
Bare metal cloud is in many ways, a straight forward proposition. It involves deploying the power of bare metal servers in a cloud environment. There is no hypervisor – which a number of industry experts have agreed is a waste of the power of bare metal servers – and this computing power is delivered via a cloud service model, so it is scalable and flexible.

Hypervisors waste a minimum of 20% of the power of bare metal servers, so there is a massive increase in performance. But this is only part of the story of bare metal cloud.

Bare metal cloud storage and networking
There are three elements to bare metal cloud, and bare metal storage and bare metal networking are just as important as the computing power. In our bare metal cloud for example, it is the ultra-fast pseudo-wire connectivity that makes a major difference. Because we don’t use a hypervisor, all switching is also done on physical networking equipment. When using pseudo-wire networking, machines communicate over the internet as if they were connected in the same switch. This gives our customers a cross-country, cross-datacenter latency of 5-10 microseconds.

In this era of organisations managing and storing terabytes of data, storage capacity is obviously important. But speed and performance cannot be ignored either, and traditional storage modes are not fit for purpose here. So our storage is exclusively-SSD and centralised, meaning that with hot data and OS files stored on SSD disks, the risk of I/O bottlenecks is eliminated. Any I/O intensive applications will then see a dramatic increase in performance, ensuring the potential and power of bare metal is not wasted in a bottleneck.

Who should use bare metal cloud?
There isn’t one group of organisations or a particular industry that can especially benefit from bare metal cloud. It is suitable for anyone with a need to run short-term or one-off data queries, requiring high performance and low latency. This typically means big data applications.

Big data was the primary target market when we launched last year and that remains true today. Our infrastructure allows organisations to process big data faster and more effectively than any other means and offers fully self-service bare metal allocation by the hour. This means big data is within reach for even the smallest of organisations and only with a bare metal cloud can firms really see the benefit from big data.

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