It’s no secret that we’re not fans of the virtualized cloud. We’ve written before about the cloud’s virtualization tax and about its cost inefficiencies, and today we’d like to address another of the reasons we prefer bare metal: the opportunity costs of using cloud platforms as opposed to dedicated servers or bare metal clouds without the virtualization layer.
The cloud sounds awesome. If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d be able to visit a website and spin up a network of servers in less time than it takes me to make a coffee (I’m a fan of slow drip), and that I’d only be charged for the resources I use rather than being tied to long contracts, I’d have thought you were crazy. But that’s the state of the technology today, and there’s no doubt it’s an incredible achievement, but it’s an achievement that comes at a cost. Choosing the cloud has costs that choosing bare metal does not: you get nothing for free and the benefits of cloud platforms come with numerous compromises.
Yes, you can deploy servers at will, but most smaller businesses don’t have the expertise or the experience to successfully negotiate the complexities of cloud platforms, which are designed with enterprise use in mind. They’re great for large companies with extensive IT expertise, but 88 percent of companies surveyed found that users of IaaS platforms faced at least one unexpected challenge. Up to 63 percent of those who tried to deploy infrastructure on the public cloud reported that the effort had been unsuccessful, largely because unless you’re spending millions, cloud platforms like AWS aren’t interested in offering support and guidance.
Even successful cloud deployments aren’t as reliable as bare metal alternatives. Sixty-five percent of organizations deployed in virtual environments suffer data loss, and 53 percent reported that they’d suffered at least five data loss incidents in the past year. Fewer than 45 percent were confident that their cloud vendor was capable of dealing effectively with incidents of data loss. Just under two-thirds complained that their cloud vendor provided no education about data loss and recovery scenarios.
Investment in the cloud costs money and time, both of which are frequently better invested in bare metal solutions that bring many of the benefits of virtualized cloud platforms without incurring the costs. For companies that need massively scalable and redundant networks, and have the expertise to manage them while working around the virtualization’s deficiencies, public cloud platforms are worth the investment.
For small and medium businesses that need reliable, high performance, low-cost infrastructure, then dedicated servers or bare metal clouds are the optimal solution.