We all want the best of both worlds: a car that’s sexy and fast, as well as safe and affordable; a meal that’s healthy and also satisfying. When it comes to IT, companies that are operating at scale have been telling us for years that they wish they could get the agility of the multi-tenant public cloud, along with the simplicity, consistent performance, and predictable cost of single-tenant servers.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to choose between the two anymore. Rackspace today is announcing the early availability of a new product that will change the way the world thinks about scaling production applications. It’s called OnMetal — and it delivers elastic computing that you don’t have to share.
OnMetal offers single-tenant, bare-metal servers that users can spin up or down as quickly as VMs — in a matter of minutes. And there’s more:
OnMetal came about through the daily conversations that we at Rackspace have with the smartest engineers and leaders at the biggest and fastest-growing Internet companies. What’s on the minds of these cloud users is not the unit price per instance/hour of compute. Instead they are concerned about more significant costs —especially the cost of inconsistent behavior and performance, caused by noisy neighbors on cloud networks or disks.
These pain points are inherent in the multi-tenant nature of today’s public clouds — including ours. They are driving massive increases in application complexity and computing costs as users begin to grow and scale. Those costs are rising even amid the much-ballyhooed price cuts for units of compute by major cloud providers.
This rising complexity and cost on the multi-tenant cloud is hitting customers in four main ways:
The cloud users we talk with believe, as we do, that virtualization and sharing a physical machine are fantastic tools when you’re starting out, or if you stay relatively small. But those users say that once they start to get big and their traffic rises, colocation becomes more attractive for its simplicity of scaling, consistent performance, and predictable cost.
Those conversations got our product teams thinking about how to give everyone the technology that the world’s leading Internet companies use to scale. Those giants don’t use VMs or off-the-shelf servers for their core operations. And neither should you, if you’re big — or plan to get big.
Our aim was simplicity at scale, with a high ratio of performance to cost. Here’s how we’ve achieved those goals:
The final ingredient in the formula for successful scaling involves a company’s most-precious asset — it’s engineering talent. As you grow fast and get big, you need to think carefully about which IT tasks to handle in-house and which ones to delegate to a trusted service provider. If you work with Rackspace, you can leverage our scaling engineers and DevOps specialists to run OnMetal machines and other components of your stack.
This way, your company can stay fast and lean. You can focus on building your app, instead of swelling your payroll with a lot of engineers to run IT that doesn’t differentiate your business.
One company that uses Rackspace to stay fast and lean is Pantheon, which helps businesses build and run more than 70,000 Drupal and WordPress sites. The Pantheon team has test-driven Rackspace OnMetal. Here’s what CEO Zack Rosen says about it: “We’ve all been trained to think of the cloud as generic virtual machines on demand. But the future cloud will be built with containers deployed across bare-metal servers provisioned via API. We believe Rackspace’s OnMetal service is the future of infrastructure as a service.”
Now, let me admit to something that many of you already know: Rackspace is not a hardware company. We are a service company that listens closely to business customers like Zack and works to make computing simpler for them. We are proud of OnMetal because it addresses a big pain point that we’ve heard about from customers.
We’ve designed OnMetal in an entirely open-source manner meant to encourage emulation and improvement. As it catches on, we believe that the technology behind OnMetal will address many of the issues — around isolation and control and security and compliance — that until now have kept many companies running IT in do-it-yourself DCs or in colo facilities.
It will also make it easier for innovative companies to grow. Both of these developments will be good for cloud users and providers alike.
Where we at Rackspace will differentiate ourselves is by providing managed services on top of OnMetal. We will help fast-growing companies scale their most-precious resource — their engineering talent.
OnMetal will be widely available in late July. In the meantime, we invite you to learn more about it, and sign up for a test drive, at rackspace.com/onmetal/. We welcome your feedback.