Bare necessities: the growth and opportunities of bare metal-as-a-service
These days, it’s widely acknowledged across all sectors that when it comes to cloud, the question is no longer ‘do you use it?’, but rather ‘how much do you use cloud, and where?’.
For business and technology leaders, the case has been made. Putting technologies into the cloud cuts costs, helps with decarbonization, and gives enterprises the flexibility, speed, agility and resilience that are now more important than ever. The cloud market itself has evolved: a hybrid blend of private, public and multi-cloud services are becoming the norm.
Many applications are straightforward to ‘lift and shift’ to the cloud; new cloud-native applications can be rapidly onboarded. Yet when it comes to existing IT, there’s often a dilemma. On the one hand, legacy systems tend to be expensive to maintain and slow to change; on the other, migrating them to cloud can be too risky, costly and complex.
Experience with our customers is that there’s a hard core of around 10% of applications that can end up hindering the whole cloud journey. These are systems and workloads that, for one reason or another, may have particular security or support requirements; they may need an isolated environment; or there could be potential performance or compliance issues associated with a move to cloud. Here’s where bare metal services come in, by making it possible to run such applications within a hybrid cloud environment.
Best of all worlds
Let’s clarify exactly what we mean here. A bare metal server is a physical server dedicated to a single tenant and optimized for specific performance, security and reliability requirements. With bare metal, cloud customers can run whatever systems they need, when and wherever they need them.
This means they get the best of all worlds: all the pay-as-you go benefits of the hybrid cloud, with lower license costs, plus high performance, security and data sovereignty all safeguarded. What’s more, they can keep evolving their cloud environment and migration strategies on an application-by-application basis.
Immutable and specialized workloads
So, what kinds of systems are we talking about? Broadly, these are ‘immutable’ legacy applications and specialized workloads. ‘Immutable’ legacy technologies are those that are key to the business and simply too difficult to change; mainframe applications fall into this category. They’re often labelled as ‘leave on premise’, preventing the complete closure of data centers. Specialized workloads are typically high-performance computing or big data applications, such as Oracle Databases, SAP HANA and finance management applications, that require high levels of throughput, memory and storage.
If not properly accommodated, these categories of systems limit cloud service providers’ ability to deliver on the business case for cloud. That’s why, in 2020, Google Cloud launched the Google Bare Metal Solution as an integral part of Google Cloud services. Powered by Atos’ technologies and co-located in 18 data centers around the world, customer demand is prompting expansion to other locations.
Enriched and accelerated cloud
This is a huge market for cloud providers; in fact, according to Market Research Future, the global bare metal cloud market is expected to expand from $1.52 billion in 2017 to $7.73 billion by 2023. From end-customers’ perspective, it’s worth noting that we’re also seeing growing need from some organizations for end-to-end service management of their database landscape, which is what the Atos Database Hotel offers on top of Google Cloud’s Bare Metal Solution for Oracle.
Ultimately, the purpose of cloud is to give organizations freedom; bare metal is now a critical component of this. It plays a unique and important role, one which de-risks, enriches and accelerates organizations’ vital journey into cloud.
The purpose of cloud is to give organizations freedom; bare metal is now a critical component of this. It plays a unique and important role, one which de-risks, enriches and accelerates organizations’ vital journey into cloud.