March 6, 2015 | Written by: Philip Trent
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I hear many of my programming friends talk about how cloud is great for developers because they can quickly build a small environment to write code. My technical sales friends are elated when they can whip up a demo for a client education session. And I agree, these are both good examples of the value of cloud computing. However, when you have a cloud platform that packs some serious technical muscle like IBM SoftLayer, you don’t have to think small—you can scale up to the most demanding enterprise environments.
One of the advantages of SoftLayer is the variety of servers available for users to select for building large scale systems. Whether you are worried about cost or performance, you can find the right combination of servers to deliver a high quality solution that meets the needs of your business. Here, I’ll talk about three different classes of servers and some characteristics of each.
Virtual servers are hosted on a type one hypervisor in SoftLayer. You have the option to request a public or private node. On a public node, the hypervisor can host virtual machines for multiple SoftLayer customers. If you are worried about noisy neighbors, you can request a private node, which reserves a host server for dedicated use. The cost of requesting a private node is roughly five times the cost of a public node.
Besides a lower cost, virtual servers have additional advantages over bare metal. They can be deployed in a matter of minutes instead of hours. This is an important feature for the SoftLayer Auto Scale function that allows users to define usage or schedule-based triggers to automatically add or remove virtual servers, based on current workload demands.
The server size can range from 1 to 16 cores, 1 to 64 GB of RAM and 25 to 100 GB primary disk capacity.
You can purchase virtual servers in either hourly or monthly allotments. If you know that you are going to continuously use the server all the time, you can generally save five percent by going to a monthly charge. As an added bonus, the monthly subscription also comes with 5TB of outbound public bandwidth at no additional charge.
Bare metal servers are an ideal choice for users who are concerned about getting consistent performance. Starting with a single processor system with four cores, up to four processors and 40 cores, there are over 100 servers to choose from in the SoftLayer bare metal inventory. This allows users to have fine-grained control when looking for the sweet spot for price and performance. Once the proper server choice has been made, the server is deployed within four hours.
The bare metal size can range from 4 to 40 cores, 2 to 512 GB RAM and 73 GB to 4 TB primary disk capacity.
Until recently, you could only purchase bare metal servers by the month, but now SoftLayer has four models that are available by the hour as well.
Bare metal servers also come with many upgrade options that allow you to satisfy even the toughest system requirements. Here are a few examples:
• Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) controllers to build a system to guard against drive failure
• Solid-state drives (SSDs) for high performance disk input/output
• Network upgrades up to 10Gbps in some data centers
• Redundant power supplies
• Intel Trusted Execution technology to ensure servers are part of a trusted compute pool
• General purpose GPU for high performance numerical processing
Mass storage servers are high performance bare metal machines that can hold up to 36 internal hard drives. The advantage here is that you get exclusive access to storage resources that can be tailored to your application requirements. You can start out with a smaller number of drives and add capacity later as your storage needs grow. Mass storage servers are only available with monthly pricing, plus the cost of additional hard drives.
Mass storage servers can range from 8 to 32 cores, 2 to 512 GB RAM and 12 to 36 hard drives.
As you can see, SoftLayer is not a toy box of lightweight devices, but an arsenal of servers that can be used to attack demanding workload environments. Using elements from each class of server combined with a high-speed global network, complex systems can be built quickly to address the needs of your enterprise. SoftLayer also works to regularly upgrade the servers in their data centers, so you don’t have to worry about your hardware becoming stagnant and outdated. Go to www.softlayer.com now and start arming yourself to succeed!