The Troposphere

Feb 25 2013   7:12PM GMT

Bare-metal approach may ease cautious enterprises into cloud

Ed Scannell Ed Scannell Profile: Ed Scannell

The idea of migrating existing workloads to public clouds got a bit of a boost earlier this month when Racemi disclosed its migration software would support SoftLayer’s popular CloudLayer platform. Racemi sweetened the deal with a time-limited offer of $99 per migrations.

Rather than cost-savings, the more important aspect of the deal is SoftLayer’s “bare-metal cloud” approach, which allows customers to customize its hardware infrastructure from processors, storage needs and high-speed networks. What also enhances the company’s offering is CloudLayer doesn’t require any lengthy contractual commitment from customers, who only pay for those resources they need’

IT shops commonly voice objections about moving workloads to the public cloud for several reasons — from security risks to unknown ROI factors to the paranoia of moving their mission-critical data outside their four walls. These fears often turn into inertia, delaying decisions to move to the public cloud indefinitely.

SoftLayer’s approach could give some consumers more confidence to move forward by providing them more control over what hardware infrastructure to choose and just how much they want to pay for it.

The bare-metal cloud approach takes the hypervisor out of the mix, which can increase the raw processing power of consumer’s hardware infrastructure. This approach may help not only those suffering from inertia about moving to public clouds, but it may also give incentive to the growing number of shops with existing cloud implementations thinking about handling “big data” and large databases there.

CloudLayer is made up virtual servers, remote storage and a content delivery network. Each CloudLayer service can work in standalone mode or be integrated with a number of dedicated servers and automated services using one private network and management system.

“We think it can be this easy to create and control a hybrid computing environment, for instance, that is interoperable,” said Marc Jones, vice president of product innovation at SoftLayer.

What might also boost user confidence in this approach is the fact SoftLayer is one of the largest privately held cloud infrastructure providers with 13 data centers that every once in a while picks off a few Amazon Web Services customers.

“We don’t aggressively try to steal Amazon customers, but we do pick some up, particularly those that have performance issues where they need high disk I/O and higher network speeds,” Jones said.

For its part, Racemi updated its Cloud Path Software as a Service (SaaS) offering and DynaCenter on-premises software to support physical and virtual server migrations to CloudLayer. Customers can also automatically migrate cloud instances from other cloud providers to CloudLayer.

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