As a senior executive at the recently launched, MetalSoft, Bernie Wu has been paying close attention to the changes and demands on the tech industry during COVID-19. With 25+ years of leadership experience at Conner/Seagate, Cheyenne Software, Trend Micro, FalconStor and Levyx, Bernie is using his experience to help organizations meet their escalating needs of cloud service providers.
M.R. Rangaswami: This has been a tough year for some new businesses. How is MetalSoft managing during the pandemic?
Bernie Wu: Fortunately for us, MetalSoft was already a geographically distributed workforce, but the COVID-19 lockdowns have forced us to adapt even further towards working from home as we needed to close our main office for the last four months. We aren’t alone in how we have adjusted to depend more on tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to get our work done — but adapting to this new work environment has not impacted our productivity. For that, I am grateful.
With datacenters limiting access to customers and personnel, and “remote hands” type services being stretched thin, the need for remote management solutions has never been greater. We have seen major partner and customer interest in our offering even ahead of our official launch and we feel that we are well-positioned to help companies adapt to the “new normal” of a mostly remote workforce.
M.R.: How does MetalSoft How support the needs of cloud service providers and enterprises with multiple datacenter infrastructures?
Bernie: MetalSoft is a recent software spinoff from BigStep, a bare metal cloud provider that has been focused on Big Data and high-performance environments since 2013. Today, we see a growing trend of running applications directly on dedicated bare metal infrastructure as a result of the growth of workloads such as Kubernetes, HPC, AI, Big Data, NoSQL, and those resulting from regulatory compliance.
For many of these types of workloads, there is no longer an advantage to run them in a virtual machine environment situated on a cloud. Instead, these workloads can be provisioned and operated in their own isolated bare metal server, network, and storage resources that are provisioned by MetalSoft. This delivers an equivalent, cloud-like self-service experience capable of spanning multiple datacenters and reaching the edge using light weight software agents. MetalSoft also supports integration with Infrastructure as Code platforms such as Terraform to further automate the bare metal layer in conjunction with application needs.
To make this automation platform more widely available, Metalsoft is making this bare metal automation software platform available for license to enterprises who want to run/self-operate on-premise bare metal clouds as well as to service providers who want to offer BMaaS or embed our software into their overall XaaS offerings. We will also offer our software As a Service for those who prefer we operate their infrastructure on their behalf. We will be looking to partner with the rest of the industry to provide complete and proven solutions.
M.R.: You mentioned we’re seeing an increase in distributed infrastructures, how do you see the management for these remote and automated data centers evolving?
Bernie: The growth in demand for automated data center management was already increasing because of the growing general need to distribute operations geographically and out to the far edges as 5G unfolds. Many businesses have turned to public clouds as part of this trend, but others are seeking to transform themselves by building private, hybrid, or multi-cloud alternatives. One size does not fit all.
COVID-19 has put additional impetus on attaining “lights-out” automation of operations for all of these approaches to minimize potential disruptions by allowing the cloud or datacenter operators to work from home to the greatest extent possible. One of the most difficult areas to automate has been the “bare metal” level of the cloud’s infrastructure due to rapid innovation, the diversity of hardware offerings and the life-cycle management needs for each, and the diversity of behavior of different computational workloads.
Traditionally, the request for dedicated bare metal infrastructure required a user to issue an order or ticket upon a datacenter or cloud operator and then wait for several days for the server, storage, and networking to be allocated, configured, and provisioning. This time to availability can now be automated and reduced down a self-service operation requiring only a few minutes.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of SandHill.com