Rackspace Launches Bare-Metal Servers For The Cloud


OnMetal, the first product based on the OpenStack Ironic project, makes custom app deployment easy and is coming to Europe in 2015

Managed cloud specialist Rackspace has launched OnMetal – a single-tenant Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering that makes it easy to run custom applications in the cloud.

OnMetal consists of bare metal servers based on designs from the open source Open Compute Project, provisioned with APIs that can deploy application containers instead of virtual machines. It is the first new service to come out of Ironic, a bare metal provisioning programme run by OpenStack.

OnMetal is available for limited testing in the US, where it will go on sale later this month. European and UK customers can expect to see the service sometime in 2015.

“This is the first real step change in cloud since its conception,” said Nigel Beighton, VP of technology and products at Rackspace. “With OpenStack, IaaS has finally broken its dependency on virtualisation and the inherent limitations that come with virtualisation technology. Virtualisation will still be one of the building blocks of IaaS going forward, just not the critical dependency and limitation it has been to date.”

Naked servers

OnMetal servers can be provisioned instantly, integrate with the existing cloud architecture and are priced on a ‘pay-as you-go’ basis.

They were designed to easily run high performance databases, in-memory specialist applications, large legacy code applications and any other apps that previously required complex, custom-built virtualised environments.

Data centre, servers © Sashkin Shutterstock 2012The service is aimed at businesses that have outgrown co-location, and want to get rid of the noisy neighbours that are hogging the network and computing resources. Rackspace says it minimises the risk of downtime in comparison with traditional cloud deployments, among other things.

OnMetal offers three types of servers built with Open Compute Project hardware: a balanced compute-optimised configuration with 20 threads and 32GB of RAM, a memory-optimised configuration with 24 threads and 512GB of RAM, and an I/O-optimised configuration with 40 threads, 128GB of RAM and a 3.2TB PCIe flash drive that can be used to power large databases.

By default, every OnMetal Cloud Servers customer gets access to specialists at Rackspace to optimise their application architecture, assist with code debugging and monitor their infrastructure.

“We believe Rackspace’s OnMetal service is the future of Infrastructure-as-a-Service,” said Zack Rosen, CEO of Pantheon. “It’s simply more efficient — you get the performance and cost-efficiency of single-tenant servers and agility with containers that blows away what you can do with VMs.”

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