Going native: The move to bare-metal cloud services

Removing the virtualization layer provides access to the power and performance that many cloud computing consumers seek

I've been saying for some time that virtualization and cloud computing are not mandatory partners. Certainly, virtualization is a tool that makes creating and managing cloud computing services easy. However, more and more, as organizations move to cloud computing, they're asking for the omission of that virtualization layer for better performance and control. Cloud providers are now agreeing to those demands.

As reported last week, the cloud, managed hosting, and colocation service provider Internap is the latest to provide a bare-metal cloud offering. With this technology, customers get automated provisioning of dedicated managed hosting environments, meaning no hypervisor virtualization platform that has performance and functional trade-offs.

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Internap is not the first; SoftLayer, Rackspace, Liquid Web, and New Servers (also known as BareMetalCloud.com) also provide access to the bare metal. You can count on more providers to join the fray as cloud computing users continue to demand that their managed hosting environments work like their native environments.

It's a fact that virtualization is not a requirement when creating cloud computing services, but it is helpful to those who manage the service. Indeed, Google is able to provide a multitenant cloud computing platform without virtualization; there are other examples as well.

Many people believe that the virtualization layer provides added protection from users and applications that spin out of control. However, you pay for that protection and management capabilities with added latency and, in many instances, the inability to provision in a timely manner.

Having designed a few cloud computing platforms in my career, my rule is that the more technology you stuff into an architecture, the more issues you have to deal with. The use of virtualization in multitenant platforms is optional, as far as I'm concerned. That means you have to consider that technology for any cloud computing stack on a case-by-case basis, including the trade-offs.

As we become more dependent on cloud-based platforms, most of the more successful cloud computing providers will quickly learn that users are seeking access to platforms that appear to be native. That means removing barriers to get at those raw resources.

This article, "Going native: The move to bare-metal cloud services," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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