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2017 marks start of shift to bare metal delivery of cloud

By December 6, 2016Article

Bare metal is the new black. 

That’s my top prediction — at least within my corner of the technology world — for 2017. In fact, to be even more specific, I expect that by the end of the first quarter of next year, at least one major public cloud provider will shift to bare metal service offerings. And by the end of next year, we’ll see at least three significant cloud providers offering bare metal. 

Enterprises understandably want to be in control of their applications and data, and this requirement will soon force public cloud providers to respond. If organizations can control their applications and data on bare metal, this further enhances their flexibility. They can then move everything from one bare metal cloud to another, from their own private bare metal solution to an external one or to any combination. 

Tied closely to this move to bare metal is the explosion of microservices. We’ve had agile software development for some time now, with businesses moving away from big, annual software releases and embracing constant iteration. Microservices — an approach to developing a single application as a “suite” of small services, or breaking a monolithic application down into smaller pieces — enable more rapid, continuous deployment of applications and services. 

What’s the best way to deploy microservices with the lowest latency in the public cloud? It’s on a bare metal architecture, which allows software-defined infrastructure to be directly installed onto the hardware and bypass any existing VMs. Playing into this as well, of course, are Docker, Mesosphere, Kubernetes, Docker Data Center and other container and orchestration tools increasingly needed in today’s connected digital world. 

Microservices are being deployed throughout the new modern application container infrastructure, and it’s now possible to run both legacy and modern apps and services with the same method used to deploy infrastructure. This is a big win for the application market, customers and enterprises. Increasingly, underneath is commodity hardware, rather than the specialized and proprietary hardware and software solutions we used to use all the time. 

Again, bare metal architecture is part and parcel to this. We’ve seen infrastructure at the compute, network and storage levels deployed in a persistent manner over the last decade, even as DevOps fostered the evolution of applications and services running on those infrastructures. On top of that, continuous delivery is now affecting the entire infrastructure stack, so there’s a need for multiple infrastructures to exist simultaneously and be deployed and managed on demand. 

This is what bare metal architecture is uniquely designed to provide. From my vantage point, cloud providers are at the forefront of this process and will shift to bare metal sooner, rather than later, should they want to remain competitive. Major players such as IBM and Oracle adopting bare metal more broadly will further nudge along the public cloud providers. 

Expect to see more — far more — hosted bare metal in 2017, with many of the big cloud providers jumping in with both feet. 

Danial Faizullabhoy is the CEO of Cypherpath and brings more than 20 years of experience in general management, venture capital, and strategic growth. Before joining Cypherpath, he served as president and CEO of BroadLogic Network Technologies, Inc., a semiconductor design and supply company, and worked as an independent consultant providing operational, financial and strategic advice. Danial has also held various positions at Walden International Investment Group, a venture capital firm, and Adaptec Inc.