Hosting firm Rackspace is readying an update to its bare-metal cloud server platform that offers the latest Intel server hardware, more high-performance storage capacity and the ability to link with other Rackspace services for a hybrid cloud strategy.
The OnMetal Cloud Servers platform was launched in 2014 offering cloud-like provisioning and scalability, but with dedicated bare-metal servers rather than virtual machines. It aims to offer the highest level of performance for demanding applications.
The next generation of OnMetal Cloud Servers is available from today, and Rackspace is providing a hardware and software upgrade. Customers will be soon be able to provision Windows operating system boot images as well as Linux, for example. The latter is coming in the second quarter of 2016.
OnMetal Cloud Servers are also now available beyond the US for the first time, from Rackspace data centres in the UK, according to the firm.
On the hardware side, the new OnMetal Cloud Servers are based on the latest Open Compute Project specifications, and feature Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors. Storage has been upgraded with 800GB SSDs and Raid 1 mirrored storage with two hot-swappable drives in each node. The latter delivers a boost of 250 percent in write performance and 40 percent in read performance over the previous generation, Rackspace said.
Provisioning and management of OnMetal Cloud Servers is via the OpenStack framework, thanks to an Ironic module that provides bare metal provisioning. Customers can choose from a small library of operating system images, set to include Windows as well as Linux, but will need to deploy their required applications and services separately once the nodes are up and running.
However, Rackspace is also set to add other enhancements in the second quarter, according to Giri Fox, director of technical services for the firm. These include integration with the Cloud Networks and RackConnect services, which enable customers to create and manage secure, isolated networks in the cloud, and to link with other cloud services, respectively.
"This generation of OnMetal will include the ability to integrate with private networks through RackConnect. It's the interconnection that lets you have a suite of Rackspace services working together in a private network," Fox said.
"Previously OnMetal was not integrated with all those services, so now we're able to let customers mix and match bare metal with public cloud, and our new partner clouds like AWS and Azure, so thanks to RackConnect we can put together a combination of services that's the best fit for the customer, to let them place their workloads in the most suitable environment for each one."
Rackspace customers already using OnMetal Cloud Servers are taking advantage of the full power of each server node's hardware to drive demanding applications based on NoSQL platforms, Apache Spark for big data analytics or the Apache Cassandra distributed database, Fox said.
The firm also expects to see demand for OnMetal Cloud Servers grow, as it is ideal for deploying applications and services running in containers, such as with the Docker platform.
"A container deployment of an application or workload does not need a virtualised environment, so if you can divide your application into containers and place it in an environment like OnMetal, you're going to get the container benefits of elasticity and agility with huge hardware performance, and still paid for at an hourly price," Fox explained.
With a price of about $1 per node per hour, OnMetal Cloud Servers are more costly than renting a typical virtual machine from AWS or Azure, but is obviously intended for applications that call for greater performance.
"The smallest OnMetal configuration is going to have six CPUs and 32GB of memory, so the pricing is commensurate with the specifications being high end," Fox said.
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