Cloud services are an integral part of the business world today. But over the years, it has also become complex to meet the growing needs of different businesses. This complexity, coupled with the countless number of products and services offered by different vendors, can make cloud technology intimidating for anyone looking to move some or all parts of their business to it. In fact, a study by Deloitte in May 2019 shows that 47 percent of C-suite executives cite cloud complexity as a factor that could have the most negative impact on cloud computing’s ROI in the next five years. So, there’s a greater move toward simplifying cloud operations, and a bare-metal cloud can be a possible solution to navigating this complex world of cloud technology.
What is a bare-metal cloud?
Generally speaking, cloud services can be divided into three broad categories, and they are:
- Infrastructure-as-a-service: Offers network, storage, computing, and other hardware resources on demand.
- Platform-as-a-service: Provides a platform for clients to develop, deploy, manage, and provision resources for hosting apps.
- Software-as-a-service: A software that is delivered as a subscription-based service, so clients can access it anywhere without requiring a download.
A bare-metal cloud is a subset of IaaS that includes only dedicated server hardware, storage, and networking.
All these are housed in a single-tenant and non-virtualized environment, which means that it runs on physical machines to provide maximum performance.
Why choose a bare-metal cloud environment?
Now, you may wonder why you should choose such a bare-metal cloud version when you can get a lot more through IaaS? Well, the irony is that the complexity and overhead increase when you add too many things to your infrastructure.
In general, hypervisors power the virtualized cloud environments, but this also causes performance degradation. Also, the associated additional overhead hurts processor-intensive operations.
A bare-metal cloud is a choice when you want to steer away from these degradations and complications, and at the same time, leverage the flexibility that cloud environments offer.
Here are more reasons to choose the bare-metal cloud environment.
In a bare-metal cloud environment, you have complete control over the physical machines that power your environment. As a result, you can make the most of the hardware capabilities of these machines, including their CPU, memory, and storage. You even have the choice to customize them to meet the unique needs of your business.
Since you’re the single tenant of your environment, you don’t have to share it with others. In turn, this translates to fewer problems such as security concerns and performance issues. More importantly, no worries about a co-tenant who monopolizes the bandwidth and other resources, and in the process, impedes your cloud performance.
A bare-metal cloud environment makes it easy to scale up or down, depending on your business needs. Specifically, server provisioning and resource scaling can be adjusted easily while the pay-per-use model ensures that your cloud spending is within the budget.
Overall, it is highly flexible and scalable, so you can adjust it based on your business needs and budgets.
A bare-metal cloud environment comes with a bunch of APIs and CLI commands that are compatible with most open-source platforms, so you can leverage them well to manage your infrastructure. You can even use them as infrastructure-as-code to improve the overall efficiency of operations.
Flexible and versatile
IaaS models allow you to rent physical and virtual servers, and the underlying hardware and storage are managed by the provider while you get to run your software apps and even hypervisors on this infrastructure.
In a bare-metal cloud environment, you don’t use virtual servers. Still, you have the option to run hypervisors and segment your physical drives into virtualization layers.
This way, you have the flexibility to create a virtual environment even if you don’t rent one, so there are no hassles in managing them.
A bare-metal cloud environment helps you to comply with specifications such as HIPAA and PCI DSS. To give you an idea, HIPAA establishes the standards for disclosing and safeguarding the health-care information of patients while PCI DSS is all about handling credit and debit card payments.
Easy to manage
Most service providers offer a web-based interface, and you can use it to monitor your usage levels, provision servers, decommission them when needed, and purchase additional resources. These interfaces are user-friendly and hide the complexity involved in hosting.
Thus, these are some of the advantages of a bare-metal cloud environment.
Moving on, let’s look at some specific areas/instances/use cases where this environment is highly effective.
Use-cases of a bare-metal cloud environment
Here are some potential areas where a bare-metal environment can be used. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and is intended to give you an idea of its possible use.
NoSQL and relational database
Since a bare-metal cloud infrastructure supports high I/O processing and dedicated resources, it can be used for computing-centric activities such as hosting NoSQL and managing relational database management systems. When you use this form of cloud environment, the obvious advantage is that the read/write processes will be quicker.
Though this form of cloud environment runs on physical servers, you can still create virtualization layers using hypervisors. This gives you greater flexibility to run any combination of applications, such as cloud-native ones, legacy apps, and even streaming devices.
Gaming servers are another bunch of resource-intensive applications, and a bare-metal cloud can be a right fit as you can have a high I/O, dedicated resources, and complete control over physical machines. Also, the fact that you don’t have to share it with other clients adds to its benefits.
Generating computer images are resource-intensive, and a bare-metal cloud environment can be a frills-free option for this field. It will also greatly reduce the time it takes for rendering 3D animations. This can be a great option for render farms as well, as it gives the flexibility for hardware customization.
Machine learning, IoT, and AI
Similar to games and image rendering, machine learning, IoT, and AI are also resource-intensive. Hence a bare-metal cloud environment with a single tenancy can be a good fit for these applications. Tasks such as complex algorithms, natural language processing, and more can benefit from a bare-metal cloud.
A bare-metal cloud environment can be a good choice for mission-critical apps because you don’t have to share the environment or resources with others. Hence, this environment can deliver high performance for your mission-critical apps.
In all, a bare-metal cloud gives you the best of both the worlds of a dedicated server and a cloud service. It combines the hardware control of a dedicated server with the flexibility and scalability of the cloud, so you have the opinion to use this environment across a wide range of use cases. As you can see, a bare-metal cloud environment is a simplified IaaS where you enjoy the benefits of simplicity, control, and scalability.
What do you think of this environment? Do you already use it or plan to move to it anytime soon?
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