Equinix launches bare metal cloud service

Equinix Metal will provide 'lift and shift' migrations of entire operating environments, including OS, hypervisor, apps and data, from on-premises data centers to the cloud.

Two figures within a data center / server maze, strewn with clouds.
Gremlin / Getty Images

Having completed its purchase of bare-metal cloud specialist Packet in March, Equinix is announcing the availability of Equinix Metal, an automated and interconnected bare metal cloud service in four major regions.

A bare metal service means the customer provides the operating environment, not just the apps. Typical IaaS/PaaS includes the operating system (either Linux or Windows) plus developer tools and middleware. In a bare metal environment, there's no operating system or virtual machine. All you get are cores, memory, storage, and networking.

While not as popular as standard cloud services, the bare metal market is growing. Market research firm Mordor Intelligence expects the bare metal cloud market to grow from $1.75 billion in 2019 to $10.56 billion by 2025, clocking a CAGR of 35% over the five-year forecast period.

"Equinix Metal is another important step forward in our product portfolio," said Sara Baack, chief product officer at Equinix, in a statement. "With Equinix Metal integrated with Equinix Fabric, infrastructure customers can move at software speed, and tap into the global reach, interconnection value, and unparalleled community of ecosystem partners that digital leaders have come to expect from Equinix."

The appeal of bare metal cloud is what's called "lift and shift," where a company can take an on-premises environment, such as a database or ERP system, and move the whole thing – OS, apps, and data – to the cloud unchanged, or with minimal modification. It allows for a wholesale migration out of the on-premises environment onto the cloud, where the bare metal provider handles hardware management.

While Amazon and Microsoft offer bare metal services, it’s not as high a priority as their IaaS/PaaS services. IBM leads the pack in the bare metal market after its 2015 acquisition of SoftLayer, a major data center provider that emphasized bare metal services. Other players include Oracle, RackSpace, and CenturyLink.

Equinix Metal features native integration with Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric, which has been renamed Equinix Fabric. Equinix Fabric is a high-speed interconnect between the company's data centers for adding scale if demand jumps or for failover if a connection goes down. The company claims dedicated bare metal infrastructure can be configured and deployed globally in 15 minutes.

The Metal service is available immediately in four major markets: Amsterdam, New York, Silicon Valley and northern Virginia. It's expected to be available in 14 global metros by early 2021.

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