A more API-driven software-centric cloud

It is often worth reminding ourselves that this is no single actual cloud. [Cheesy TV advertisements](http://www.tellyads.com/show_movie.php?filename=TA12125) have started to use the term cloud for some time now. But despite this arguably somewhat loathsome consumer-level corporate spin doctoring, the IT community has (over the last half decade) come to understand that ‘the cloud’ is any number of hardware-based servers operated by what (for any given customer) could be a number of different cloud hosting providers all running various levels of software intelligence to coalesce the cloud resources that we end up consuming. But could individual clouds, not meant for sharing, now have more of an impact? **The ice cream makes the meal** Well that being so, the ice cream makes the meal (as they say) and the software makes the cloud (as they really should say more often) today. This is the Computer Weekly (software) Developer Network blog — we like software, so sue us. 1OnMetal_Graphic.png Rackspace this month launched its OnMetal Cloud Servers — and (as solid as OnMetal sounds) this is an extremely software-flavoured portion of cloud. The product itself can be best described as an API-driven single-tenant cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering. **So what? What does that mean?** [Rackspace president Taylor Rhodes](http://www.rackspace.com/blog/finally-elastic-computing-that-you-dont-have-to-share/) explains that the rising complexity of the multi-tenant cloud affects software applications in a variety of ways. “Virtualisation and sharing a physical machine are fantastic tools for specific workloads at certain scale; however, we’ve learned that the one-size-fits-all approach to multi-tenancy just doesn’t work once you become successful, so we created OnMetal to simplify scaling for customers,” said Rhodes. **Nasty noisy neighbours** The company is aiming to fix the problems caused by “noisy neighbours in multi-tenant environments”, which can can degrade network latency, disk I/O and compute processing power, which can create unpredictable application performance. This offering proves a host operating system that is ready to run container-based applications from first boot. If you still give credence to the ever changing world or cloud standards then you will want to know that OnMetal Cloud Servers are built with Open Compute Project specification hardware and powered by OpenStack. **The first “real step change” in cloud** Rackspace technology and product VP Nigel Beighton claims that, “This (OnMetal) is the first real step change in cloud since its conception. With OpenStack, IaaS has finally broken its dependency on virtualisation and the inherent limitations that come with virtualisation technology. Virtualisation will still be one of the building blocks of IaaS going forward, just not the critical dependency and limitation it has been to date.” The servers come in three different sets of specifications, each bespoke designed and built for workloads associated with large web scale applications. A compute-optimised, memory-optimised and I/O-optimised configuration all exist.