Of the concerns I hear expressed about moving business resources to the cloud, two of the most common reflect potential issues with performance and security. The issues are severe enough that some IT people tell me they would never move certain workloads to cloud services just for these reasons.
Now there may always be workloads that are not appropriate for the current level of cloud technology, but basic issues of performance and security can be addressed by the bare metal cloud. In this environment, there is no virtualized environment, as is the standard way of dealing with on-demand server resources from the cloud, but rather a dedicated server available to the user in the same way that virtualized services are presented.
The basic concept is fundamentally the same as a virtualized server instance. The customer contracts for cloud services on a per-hour or per-month basis, and the server resources are available on demand. In the standard model, a virtualized instance of the customer’s server is deployed onto a shared server. In the bare metal cloud model, the customer gets a dedicated server, running only his server and applications.
For the security conscious, this means that there is no one else on the server. While virtualized instances are very secure in this way, with users having access only to their own virtual machines, the bare metal solution addresses any concerns about who else might be on the server and satisfies any potential regulatory issues surrounding data security.
Far more users, however, are concerned about performance issues than this level of security, and this is where the bare metal cloud shines. All of the server resources are available to the single user, making this a cloud solution that is suitable for CPU intensive applications, from analytics to databases, as well as applications that are latency sensitive. The performance is much more quantifiable, as only the customer applications are running on the server and resources are not fluctuating the way they would be in a virtualized environment.
Keep in mind this is not the same as contracting for a full-time dedicated server from a hosting or colo provider. The bare metal cloud is still an on-demand cloud solution that can shrink and grow with your business needs.
There are two major providers of this Infrastructure- as- a-Service technology right now; IBM, with their Softlayer Bare Metal Services and and Internap, with their Bare-Metal Cloud. Both offer packaged services as well as a full menu of choices for different levels of performance, capacity, and overall service.