Flexible Cloud Storage Now Available for OnMetal

We launched OnMetal last summer to help customers scale applications quickly and efficiently.

Today, we’re pleased to announce the ability attach Cloud Block Storage volumes to OnMetal servers. This has been one of the top feature requests for OnMetal, and it really opens up the product to new use cases.

For big or rapidly growing Internet companies, one of the biggest challenges is scaling their applications. We kept hearing from companies forced to re-write their entire architectures from scratch every time traffic grew exponentially — and then spend significant engineering resources continuously reworking major parts of the architectures, even after those rewrites.

The real cost of running and scaling large Internet applications isn’t just in hosting, but in engineering and management.

Rackspace wanted to alleviate those pains and offer a simple way to scale, launching OnMetal last June: single-tenant, bare-metal servers provisioned via the same OpenStack API as our cloud.

They can be spun up as quickly as VMs to offer the agility of multi-tenant environments with the performance of single-tenant hardware. OnMetal servers are our own design and are engineered in a highly opinionated way.

We’ve made them 100 percent solid-state with external cooling, leading to increased mean time between failures. They are also incredibly large, so you’ll need fewer of them.

OnMetal is ideal for large or quickly-growing Internet businesses thinking about moving from colo to cloud, or vice versa.

Check out these OnMetal Weekly Byte videos.

OnMetal showed phenomenal performance in early benchmarks, and our own Cloud Metrics team moved its production system from running on virtual cloud machines to OnMetal — and found reliability went up, while costs dropped.

Brigade, a startup aiming to leverage social technologies to reenergize public participation in democracy, turned to Rackspace OnMetal Cloud Servers to power its omnichannel app, meaning they can now offer the highest levels of speed and reliability to their users.

But there was always something missing, since storage for OnMetal servers was limited to local drives.

True, it was possible to spin up a blazingly fast OnMetal I/O server with 3.2 TB of raw flash storage and connect to it over ServiceNet at 10 Gb/s, but sometimes that’s overkill.

For example, what if an application only needs 32 GB of RAM, but more than 32 GB of local storage? Or if it needs a persistent data store to complement a 512 GB in-memory cache in an OnMetal Memory server?

Well, it’s now possible to attach Cloud Block Storage volumes to OnMetal servers, for the best of both worlds.

Cloud Block Storage allows you to add up to 1 TB volumes of SATA or SSD storage to any Cloud Server. This means that you can both customize the size and speed of the storage attached to your OnMetal server.

In fact, Principal Architect Major Hayden recently blogged about how to use Cloud Block Storage and software RAID to set up a high-performance, KVM-based hypervisor on an OnMetal server.

Want step by step instructions to do it? Check out this How To post in Rackspace Community. Got questions? Leave them in the comments. Got questions? Leave them in the Community comments section and we’ll get them answered.

Thomas is a Product Manager for OnMetal Cloud Servers. He's worked on support and product teams at Rackspace since 2009, starting on the front lines of Slicehost support. Thomas has a passion for the public cloud and never ceases to be amazed by all the awesome stuff people do with it.


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