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Jun 28 2014

Rackspace to Launch OnMetal Cloud Servers

OnMetal Cloud Servers, a new service launched by hosting outfit Rackspace, combines cloud servers' on-demand convenience and scalability with the performance and total control of bare-metal servers. The offering is intended to make scaling more feasible for large or quickly-growing Internet businesses thinking about moving from colocation to cloud, or vice versa.

According to Rackspace's announcement, the API-driven, single-tenant IaaS framework offers the "best of both worlds" thanks to unlocking the power of bare-metal servers for whatever operating system /services stack combo customers may require. The basic idea behind this concept was to eliminate the so-called "noisy neighbor problem," a central pain point for users of regular cloud services who suffer from degrading network performance (i.e. higher latencies), disk I/O, and compute processing power as soon as equally demanding workloads run on the same host.

Initially, OnMetal Cloud Servers will be available in three flavors for different workload requirements. The "High CPU" version features a 10-core Intel® Xeon™ processor, 32 GB of RAM, and a 10 GbE network connector, but no HDD – instead, it comes with a special SATADOM boot device, basically a 32 GB SSD that plugs directly into the motherboard's SATA connector. This configuration is best suited for running web and application servers, load balancers, and all types of background queue processing. The "High RAM" edition is for memory-intensive workloads including caching, search indexes, and in-memory analytics; consequently, it sports 512 GB of main memory along with two "weaker" six-core Xeons while the boot device stays the same. Finally, the "High I/O" configuration builds on two 10-core Xeons, 128 GB of RAM, and SATADOM, but adds two LSI NytroWarp Drive™ flash accelerator cards for a total of 3.2 TB high-octane storage; these servers are purpose-built for OLTP and SQL/NoSQL databases. All three configurations comply with Open Compute Project standards. As could be expected, Rackspace applied a similar logic when implementing core management functions like provisioning – here, they opted for OpenStack's Ironic service, which is currently still in its blueprint stadium.

OnMetal Cloud Servers are currently undergoing their final test phase; the first wave is supposed to go live in July from Rackspace's data center in Reston, Virginia. Global rollout is planned for 2015. For more background info, read Daniel Robinson's report at The Inquirer.


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