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IBM’s SoftLayer cloud unit is now offering bare metal servers by the hour, starting at just under $0.47 per hour for a 3.4 GHz Xeon 1270 server with 8GB of RAM.
Customers can call up their bare metal servers in less than 30 minutes, according to [company]IBM[/company]. [company]Rackspace[/company] announced its own pay-by-the-minute OnMetal servers in June — but there appear to be some monthly minimum charges associated with those resources, aside from actual per-minute charges.
Bare metal deployment — in which the entire computing instance is allocated to your job — can be the best option for some database or other applications, but it has downsides. Virtualization — a key cloud underpinning that lets multiple applications share resources — is extremely flexible but can take its toll on performance, while use of bare metal can wring every bit of performance from the gear you’re paying for but can be inflexible. Moving to a pay-by-hour mode versus longer commitments could erase at least one concern about bare metal and add a little wiggle room.
[company]IBM[/company] SoftLayer offers its servers with the CentOS, [company] Red Hat[/company], FreeBSD, or Ubuntu Linux operating system installed. Rackspace offers CoreOS and Debian Linux, with other options “coming soon.”
And historically, as Gartner’s Lydia Leong reminded me, SoftLayer’s former CloudLayer brand offered a single pay-by-the-hour bare metal configuration. Now IBM/SoftLayer has four options available which should open up bare metal to a wider audience.
In addition, OpenStack purveyor [company]Mirantis[/company] OpenStack Express offers on-demand bare metal and cloud options on SoftLayer infrastructure, but it charges by the day, with the first week free.
So there’s more than one way to cut this bare metal cake. As Gigaom Research analyst David Linthicum wrote in June, bare metal options will appeal to some companies for some workloads. Being able to deploy both virtual servers and bare metal from their designated provider is probably a convenience they will want.
In other SoftLayer news, IBM will open a new data center in Melbourne, Australia in September. This is the sixth of 15 planned data centers planned worldwide to build out IBM’s cloud presence. As, Gigaom has reported, location is key for cloud providers who, for both data sovereignty and latency reasons, need to put capacity near their customers.
To hear more on IBM SoftLayer cloud options, check out the talk by SoftLayer CEO and GM Lance Crosby at Structure 2014 below.
Note: This story was updated at 7:30 a.m. PST to reflect the planned opening of IBM’s Melbourne data center and again at 1:33 p.m. PST to clarify that SoftLayer had at one time offered one bare metal configuration by the hour.