When any person, product or technology reaches the level of public awareness where nuance has given way to ubiquity, and the singularity denoted by the word “the” has become the accepted prefix to a name or descriptor, opportunity for competitors often begins to arise from their long shadows. For a number of customers, the shared nature of public clouds is an acceptable negative element of the solution’s experience, but as in the case of dedicated data centers, the unique requirements of a sizeable segment of the marketplace have led them to a perspective that is totally at odds with your mother’s admonishments regarding the relationship between your toys and your siblings and friends, in other words: it’s not so nice to share.
The alternative to the egalitarianism of the shared cloud is, of course, the vaguely Teutonic-sounding “Bare Metal Cloud (BMC)”—does anyone think this would look better with umlauts? Spawned from the fertilizer of dedicated hosting, the original SoftLayer crew coined the term back in 2007. Does anything better say, “hands off, this is mine”, than the conjured imagery of your servers housed within the walls of a fortress of cold, hard steel? Of course not, so I think the line of market demarcation is pretty clear in this case. Really cool naming conventions aside, the emergence of the BMC market parallels that of dedicated data centers in that, for many companies, the drawbacks of shared environments provide unacceptable limitations on their ability to administer their mission critical applications.
In the normal world of the cloud virtualization, multiple workloads may be virtualized on a shared physical server. Although this is an acceptable solution in many instances, when multiple applications are all in contention for the same processor and memory resources, the risk that these same resources might not be available when they are required by a latency sensitive application (the latest Call of Duty for example) can be intolerable. The performance issues within a shared cloud may also be exacerbated by the processing capacity consumed by the hypervisor layer that can consume as much as 10% of the available capacity of a server. In a sense, this sensitivity is analogous to the reasoning behind many organizations’ desire for a dedicated data center that they can locate as close to their user community as possible (edge facilities, for example) to eliminate the latency delays associated with using more centrally located shared mega facilities.