The best of all worlds

The exterior of the DataBank SLC5 data center on the company’s Granite Point campus in Bluffdale, Utah. (Picture: Databank)

In this edition of Voices of the Industry, Databank’s Jeremy Pease and Scott Palsgrove highlight the many benefits of bare metal in a colocation data center and why many companies might be wise to consider a bare metal model for their compute needs. and in infrastructure.

Jeremy Pease, Senior Vice President of Managed Services Operations, DataBank

Scott Palsgrove, Vice President of Sales, Northeast, DataBank

Businesses today have a wide range of options when it comes to hosting mission-critical infrastructure, including their data, applications, networks, and workloads. Each option should be carefully evaluated to ensure it offers the best combination of performance, flexibility, cost, location, security, and other important variables.

For many companies, turning to bare metal in a colocation-focused data center may be the perfect solution for these demanding requirements. To be clear, there is no wrong choice since each hosting model offers several pros and cons to consider. On-premises, colocation, private cloud, public cloud, and fully managed MSP hosting models are all perfectly viable alternatives.

In some cases, bare metal offers a Goldilocks solution: it may be the “right” choice that offers the best of all worlds in terms of performance, flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Bare Metal: an option to consider

Bare metal servers are physical (not virtual) servers with no operating system or virtualization layer. These are single-tenant machines fully dedicated to a single customer and are not shared across multiple companies.

Why would companies consider bare metal servers, especially since they have a reputation among some organizations for being a decades-old architecture choice before the cloud even existed? It’s a reasonable question given that so many other hosting models can clearly deliver real IT and business benefits. For example, colocation is a great choice for companies looking to keep costs low, maximize workload performance, and meet specific goals related to edge, disaster recovery, security, etc In this scenario, companies may not want to consider other alternatives and stick with traditional colocation.

Yet many companies can achieve even greater results and ROI by combining their investment in bare metal with colocation from a third-party data center provider with state-of-the-art capabilities. For example, they may not want to buy and procure new servers and other equipment that then has to be “racked and stacked” in the colocation facility. They may not want to maintain this equipment on an ongoing basis, including paying the equipment manufacturer’s annual maintenance costs.

There’s also another real problem: today’s shortage of computer chips and global supply chain disruptions have dramatically slowed server delivery times. Even if companies want to purchase and deploy new servers themselves in colocation facilities, they might not receive them for 9-12 months due to backorders and ongoing delays. Speed ​​to market is critical for businesses that need scalability. Delaying implementation for months becomes an opportunity cost that today’s businesses simply cannot afford.

On the other hand, cloud hosting could be an effective option. The cloud has been proven to maximize resource utilization, automate provisioning and scaling, and offer an attractive OpEx model. However, cloud hosting is not always the ideal solution. For example, a company’s existing virtualization and hypervisor might not be compatible with the cloud provider’s systems, or they might not want another party to manage their virtualization layer.

Cost can also be a real concern: many companies sign up with cloud providers thinking they’ll only pay a fraction of a penny for data egress charges, only to have surprisingly high costs afterward. due to application throughput, analytics workloads, or other infrastructure demands. (We addressed this issue in a recent Voices of the Industry article.)

Benefits of Bare Metal in the Colocation Data Center

Faced with these specific technology/business requirements and goals, many IT teams are turning to bare metal in a colocation facility to achieve many important benefits:

  • Flexibility: Imagine the case of a CTO who wants to test a particular workload but may struggle to justify the cost of purchasing new servers or paying high cloud egress fees. In this case, the business can add as many bare metal machines as they need in the colocation facility, without ever setting foot in the data center, providing a fast, flexible, on-demand resource without needing reside in another provider’s environment.
  • Control: Large companies may have well-established systems and high requirements and don’t want to fit into someone else’s hosting model. They prefer a closed, industry-standard environment that gives them the ability to develop, test, deploy, and support their workloads, without subscribing to additional services they may not need.
  • Cost: Bare metal servers offer enterprises an extremely flexible billing option, which relieves the high egress charges associated with public cloud providers. Instead of purchasing servers, a potentially costly CapEx investment, companies lease server capacity on an ongoing OpEx model to keep costs low and manageable.
  • Orchestration: To borrow a line from the famous Oldsmobile commercial, this isn’t your dad’s bare metal. Today, colocation data center operators offer an orchestration layer on top of the bare metal platform. This allows IT teams to manage their bare metal servers and workloads and use automation to resolve issues as they arise.
  • Presence on the outskirts: Many companies are looking to increase their presence at the edge to minimize latency and better serve their customers. Increasingly, this means large volumes of data must be sent to the edge of the network, which may not be possible with large-scale cloud providers or result in high egress charges. Colocation data centers are located across North America (and the world), providing businesses with an efficient way to accomplish their cutting-edge vision and goals.
  • Deployment time: Bare metal servers offer another surprising advantage: speed to market. In this case, many colocation hosting providers will have proactively planned to scale infrastructure and have servers ready to go by now, which is a significant advantage for getting started quickly.
No bumps in the road: Bare Metal in autonomous driving

Take the example of a car manufacturer seeking to expand the development of self-driving cars. Autonomous vehicles are the perfect use case because they need compute resources as close to users as possible to minimize latency and influence driving behavior in real time. 5G networks can deliver the low latency automakers need at the edge. Conversely, many hyperscalers and cloud providers only offer centralized hosting centers that are simply too remote to be an effective solution.

Bare metal servers in a colocation data center can be the perfect way to overcome this challenge. Colocation facilities and networks are already built and ready to go – when and where you need them. This organic evolution helps companies support specific geographic strategies such as disaster recovery, security, and compliance, so automakers can choose the networks that work best, with the ability to select the right bare servers. metal and the orchestration layer, connect to 5G networks, and provide the compute resources and speeds their cars need.

Bare Metal: An Ideal Hosting Approach

While the concept of bare metal may seem like an outdated approach to compute and infrastructure hosting, today bare metal in colocation facilities can be an ideal choice for companies looking to capitalize on the best elements of colocation and cloud hosting. With its ability to deliver rapid deployments, reliable performance and scalability, state-of-the-art solutions, and more, bare metal offers a best-in-class approach capable of delivering significant business value.

Jeremy Pease is DataBank’s Senior Vice President of Managed Services Operations. Scott Palsgrove is DataBank’s vice president of sales for the northeast region. Contact DataBank to learn more about their hosting and service options.