Rackspace Puts the Pedal to the Metal for OpenStack

Rackspace's expanded OnMetal bare-metal server service for OpenStack cloud debuts.

Rackspace OnMetal

Rackspace is expanding its OnMetal bare-metal service for OpenStack, providing users with more powerful options to deploy applications in the cloud.

Typically with a cloud deployment, server assets are virtual and customers don't get to choose the physical underlying hardware, the actual bare-metal that an application will run on. The Rackspace OnMetal service first launched in June 2014, enabling users to directly deploy an OpenStack cloud onto physical hardware.

"The first generation of OnMetal Cloud Servers was built to prove out the concept and validate demand for a bare-metal cloud server," Rhett Dillingham, senior director of product management at Rackspace, told eWEEK.

Since the first-generation launch, Dillingham noted that Rackspace's customers offered feedback for the types of features and capabilities they wanted to see in future versions. He added that with the new generation of OnMetal, Rackspace is incorporating that direct customer feedback into features such as private, secure networking, improved storage capabilities, broader global support, and more flexible configurations to meet a wider variety of use cases.

The first-generation OnMetal servers were only available in Rackspace's North Virginia region. The new OnMetal v2 servers are more widely available, with covers in North Virginia, Dallas-Fort Worth and London.

"The private and secure networking capability found in OnMetal v2 Cloud Servers is enabled by the same software-defined network technology that has been supported by Cloud Networks within our Virtual Cloud Servers fleet," Dillingham said.

The Cloud Networks service from Rackspace is a single-tenant, fully isolated cloud networking model that aims to provide a high degree of security to cloud connectivity.

In terms of performance, the OnMetal v2 servers are using newer Intel chips and faster hardware than the OnMetal v1 servers. At the top end, the general-purpose OnMetal v2 Large server configuration provides users with a system that has two Intel Xeon E5-2620v3 six-core chips running at 2.40GHz, with 128GB of system RAM. The general-purpose OnMetal v2 Large offering also has two 800GB hot-swappable solid-state drives (SSDs). The OnMetal v1 servers, in contrast, were powered by Intel Xeon E5 v2 processors.

While server hardware is the deliverable to customers, the OnMetal service is enabled by the OpenStack Ironic bare-metal project. The Ironic project emerged as part of the OpenStack Kilo release in April 2015. The OpenStack Ironic project benefits from the contributions of multiple vendors in the OpenStack ecosystem, and the current project technical leader is Jim Rollenhagen, who is a software developer at Rackspace who works on the OnMetal engineering team.

"OnMetal is the leading bare-metal offering in the industry and is the largest public deployment of OpenStack Ironic in the world," Dillingham said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.