I was interested to see a recent InfoWorld post by David Linthicum discussing the rise of bare metal cloud offerings, “Going native: The move to bare-metal cloud services.” In the article, David says
I’ve been saying for some time that virtualization and cloud computing are not mandatory partners. Certainly, virtualization is a tool that makes creating and managing cloud computing services easy. However, more and more, as organizations move to cloud computing, they’re asking for the omission of that virtualization layer for better performance and control. Cloud providers are now agreeing to those demands.
Like David, I have been saying the same thing for quite a while. See “Cloud Myth #5: Clouds Require Virtualization” and “Internal Cloud vs. Virtualization: What’s the Diff?” for instance.
The fact is, because IT people understand how something works, we often get distracted by the implementation and forget that all the outside world sees is the external service definition. From the point of view of a cloud user, IaaS simply allows me to start an operating system instance and gives me root access into it, while defining some parameters about the performance I should expect to receive. Whether that instance is running in a hypervisor or on the metal is irrelevant (though it is very relevant to the cloud operations team that has to manage the offering). Cloud implementors need to spend more time thinking about abstracting the external service definition away from the implementation details, allowing the implementation technology to evolve as required. If you create a leaky abstraction that cannot evolve over time, you’re inevitably going to find that your choices will need to change and you’ll break the service definition when that happens.
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