A year ago, Bare Metal Cloud (BMC) was launched with the goal of supporting DevOps workflows and empowering the growth of new-gen workloads. The platform was built to bridge the gap between the need for high-performance dedicated environments and flexible deployment, scaling, and billing of the Public Cloud.

Today, BMC is available in more than 20 pre-configured instances suitable for various workloads, delivering high-performance on an OpEx-based pricing model. With support for fully automated API-driven server provisioning and management, CLI, and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools, BMC is a perfect fit for modern organizational frameworks.

To celebrate a full year of its general availability, this article focuses on the 7 biggest milestones BMC has achieved in its quest to deliver an agile infrastructure solution for future-ready IT.

1. Supporting the Coud-Native Mindset: GitHub Actions and Kubernetes

From the ground up, the cloud-native architecture of BMC was built on open-source software. One of the biggest milestones achieved over the past year was giving back to the community by providing BMC users with open-source IaC modules, automation scripts, and GitHub actions.

BMC GitHub actions enable the implementation of popular DevOps tools and technologies to help developers eliminate the need for repetitive, manual infrastructure management tasks. Actively maintained and updated, our GitHub account gives you access to SDKs, APIs, and different automation tools that can extend the platform’s capabilities.

These 10 GitHub repos help you automate Bare Metal Cloud server management. Learn more!

One cannot talk about DevOps without mentioning Kubernetes. Containerizing workloads allows teams to break their toolchains down into microservices and create portable modules compatible with their CI/CD pipelines. Acknowledging that, phoenixNAP created a Kubernetes Controller for BMC and made it available through our GitHub repositories.

This direct plugin enables developers to automate BMC server provisioning directly from within a Kubernetes cluster. DevOps teams can leverage it to streamline infrastructure management tasks without using any third-party tools or leaving their Kubernetes environment.

2. Streamlining Kubernetes Cluster Management: SUSE Rancher Integration

To further simplify the creation and management of Kubernetes clusters, we integrated SUSE Rancher with Bare Metal Cloud. This software stack provides a set of built-in tools for easy deployment, provisioning, and monitoring of Kubernetes clusters through a single-pane-of-glass portal.

BMC Milestone Rancher Server Deployment

Without any manual configuration, the BMC Rancher server dashboard lets you do the following in a couple of clicks:

  • Deploy Highly Available Kubernetes Clusters.
  • Adjust node settings.
  • Define secrets.
  • Configure load balancing and service discovery.
  • Manage CI/CD pipelines.
  • Monitor the health of your clusters.
  • Gain access to centralized logging.

Apart from saving hours of infrastructure setup work, this important milestone makes BMC suitable for the production and testing of containerized workloads. It also makes it an ideal environment for teaching and learning Kubernetes without the burden of creating it from scratch.

BMC Rancher servers can be deployed in under two minutes. Watch this video to learn how:

3. Ensuring Security and Compliance: Audit Logging and Server Tagging

To help BMC users gain more control over their infrastructure management and provide them with valuable insights, phoenixNAP introduced client audit logging and server tagging.

Audit logs record server actions to provide you with detailed information about your infrastructure, network, and billing. By calling the Audit API, you can view any changes done or attempted in the BMC portal, i.e. any HTTP request that is not GET. This allows for querying and exporting relevant system and resource events to identify abnormal behavior or suspicious network activity, as well as to troubleshoot issues. 

The overall benefits include:

  • Improved security - All records of changes in BMC Portal are logged and data misuse or fraudulent activity can be weeded out easily.
  • Compliance - You can prove what you did through the audit trail.
  • Insight – Specific users can be held accountable to their actions through historical visibility. Audit Logging also helps optimize different processes if certain requests are found to be happening too often.

As part of enabling improved intelligence in BMC, we also enabled you to assign distinctive metadata to your servers using server tagging. This helps you differentiate between instances based on any organizational pattern of your choice, such as their purpose, or the name of the team an instance is assigned to. Through the phoenixNAP portal, you can filter servers based on tags, managing your infrastructure with reduced complexity.

Since server tags are also visible in your invoices, they also help you gain insight into billing related to specific instances and improve control over your cloud costs. For example, if one of your instances (such as database server, for example) starts generating unusually high traffic, server tags will help you identify it early. Based on such insights, you can identify the space where additional optimizations are needed in order to lower your infrastructure costs. 

4. Automated Deployment of VMware ESXi and Ubuntu 20.04

Among the wide range of OSs that you can choose from for automated server provisioning, you can now also boot up VMware ESXi and Ubuntu 20.04. BMC’s web UI, API or CLI let you easily choose your preferred OS and have it automatically deployed with your chosen configuration.

Bare metal cloud - supported operating systems.

Why Ubuntu 20.04?

Linux and DevOps share philosophies and perspectives, mostly when it comes to customization and scalability. The Linux kernel supports huge amounts of memory by default. That paired with Ubuntu's support for a plethora of free, open-source software tools developers are familiar with makes it the preferred choice of DevOps teams.

BMC instances with Ubuntu are deployed in under 120 seconds.

Simplifying Hypervisor Deployment with ESXi OS

If you’re looking to run a hypervisor on top of Bare Metal Cloud, our recently introduced support for VMWare ESXi helps you deploy it easily. This option makes BMC compatible with vSphere workloads, allowing you to run your existing VMs on dedicated instances powered by the latest-gen hardware. We will be further expanding this integration to add more VM management capabilities.

Bare Metal Cloud instances can also be deployed with Windows Server and CentOS operating systems, giving users a wide range of environments to choose from and adapt to their organizational frameworks.

5. Expanding the Footprint

Originally launching Bare Metal Cloud in Phoenix and Ashburn, we’ve expanded the list of available locations to a total of six with more coming soon. You can now deploy BMC in:

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Ashburn, VA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Amsterdam, NL
  • Singapore

Bare Metal Cloud's global scalability lets you scale your infrastructure with ease and bring your products closer to your target markets.

BMC Locations Map

With the latest addition of BMC availability in Chicago, IL, and Seattle, WA, this platform has expanded its footprint from the East coast to the West coast of the US. With more locations coming soon, organizations will get a chance to further lower latency and enable superior performance for their applications and workloads wherever they might be.

6. Delivering Tomorrow’s Performance Today

The continuous development of Bare Metal Cloud involves more than just software upgrades.

In a continued effort to provide you with the latest technology, we have become one of the first IaaS providers to offer 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable CPUs (codenamed Ice Lake) on bare metal cloud servers. The CPUs brought numerous performance and security improvements, making the platform capable of tackling even the most data-intensive and compliance-driven workloads.

Gen to Gen Improvements 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Processors

Powered by the latest generation Intel CPUs, BMC handles demanding tasks such as high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and high-transaction databases with ease. To further boost performance , users can leverage Intel’s industry-leading Optane™ Persistent Memory 200 Series, bringing data closer to the CPU for reduced I/O latency and faster big memory computing.

Intel SGX

With Intel SGX enabled in selected BMC instances, you can leverage the option to encrypt data inside isolated enclaves of memory, protecting it even while in use. Through this technology, BMC enables confidential computing, allowing verticals such as healthcare, insurance, or research institutes to collaborate and share information without exposing sensitive data.

Currently available in Phoenix, AZ, Ashburn, VA, Amsterdam, NL, and Singapore, SG, BMC instances powered by 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable CPUs are deployed in minutes across different continents.

7. Reducing Your Infrastructure Costs

Bare Metal Cloud is an OpEx-based solution, helping organizations overcome their current infrastructure challenges while reducing their TCO.

Its hourly billing option lets you try it out without commitment or deploy it for a limited time only. With the ability to pay only for the resources used, you can easily adapt your infrastructure to your real-time needs. For more predictable workloads, reserve instances on a monthly or yearly basis and save up to 30% on infrastructure costs.

The flexible billing extends to BMC bandwidth as well. You can reduce your bandwidth costs by reserving monthly bandwidth packages, which provide more resources at lower price points.

These options give you the opportunity to leverage up to 50 Gbps network connectivity and ensure the best performance for their apps and services while fully controlling your bandwidth costs.

To help you cut your infrastructure expenses even further, new BMC deployments come with free 15 TB bandwidth (5 TB for Singapore deployments) once you start generating outbound traffic. The free bandwidth can be used at any given time and may be shared between other instances deployed at the same location. On top of that, you get a separate free bandwidth bundle in each of our BMC locations.

BMC Free 15 TB Bandwidth

Conclusion: New Milestones Ahead

Bare Metal Cloud continues to evolve and improve to meet the needs of modern IT teams. With automation and an API-first mindset providing scalable and immediate access to cutting-edge hardware, popular DevOps tools, global network, cost-efficient bandwidth options, and flexible billing models, BMC helps you do more by investing less.

Looking back one year, BMC has become a truly comprehensive platform, and its capabilities are yet to expand.  The 7 major milestones described above are just the beginning. We look forward to future challenges, client feedback, and ideas that would help us adapt BMC to serve your needs even better.

Bare Metal Cloud servers are deployed in minutes for as low as $0.10/hour! Try it out today!