Rackspace bulks up its Cloud Servers to lure users away from bare metal

Rackspace(s rax) is betting that many businesses that now use its bare metal servers will move up to its new more muscular Cloud Performance Servers, which will make their debut Tuesday morning at the OpenStack Summit.

Rackspace_Logo_08_07_2012[2]“Customers want performance — whether it’s in dedicated servers or in the cloud and the answer to date is they either write some fancy app code and put it on our cloud to scale horizontally or they manually installed it on our [dedicated] bare metal servers,” Scott Sanchez, director of strategy for Rackspace said in an interview. “They want performance but they want it on demand and they were unable to find that on our — or any cloud — until now.”

At last spring’s OpenStack Summit, there was a lot of talk about demand for bare-metal servers versus highly virtualized shared infrastructure for big data and some other applications. The performance of bare metal servers — minus virtualization — is much faster for those types of workloads. And of course, some highly regulated applications will continue to demand the use of dedicated, or non-shared resources.

But Rackspace is banking on the notion that there will be fewer of those applications over time. The new Performance Cloud Servers build on Intel E5 CPUs (up to 32 virtual CPUs per machine); up to 120GB of RAM and four 10-gigabit Ethernet connections to two top-of-rack switches; all SSD-storage; etc.

Sanchez said the reasons customers use dedicated bare-metal servers are fading over time and offerings like these new servers sport plenty of headroom for applications like large-scale NoSQL database work.