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Network room at a Google data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Google Cloud’s Bare Metal Solution Aims at Legacy Workloads with Baggage

It’s less like traditional bare-metal cloud services and more like traditional dedicated hosting services.

Google Cloud is going after those legacy enterprise workloads that are especially difficult to “lift and shift” from on-premises data centers to the cloud.

The recently announced Google Bare Metal Solution is less like traditional bare-metal cloud services and more like traditional dedicated hosting services. If you have legacy applications that must run on dedicated hardware and have strict hardware certification requirements and “complicated licensing and support agreements,” Google is offering to provide the hardware you need, provision, and manage it for you inside a colocation data center. It will connect that environment to its public cloud infrastructure, so you can run your legacy applications and still take advantage of all the modern cloud-native services.

Oracle databases are a primary target here, mentioned twice in the Google Cloud blog post announcing the service. Enterprises store their most critical data in Oracle databases, but they are hard to move to the cloud. Oracle’s own cloud-services play revolves around making it easier for customers to plug their databases into the cloud, either via migration to Oracle Cloud data centers or by connecting on-prem enterprise infrastructure to Oracle Cloud.

Microsoft Azure and Oracle recently partnered to help companies interconnect their Oracle databases and Azure cloud services.

For now, Google Cloud’s Bare Metal Solution is available in the US East region only, a Google spokesperson told DCK via email. That means Google can deploy hardware for you inside one of the many colocation data centers in Northern Virginia and connect it to its own cloud data centers there.

While the spokesperson said the company had “global expansion plans” for the service next year, the rate of expansion will depend on how much traction it will get. Asked whether Google would lease new colo space for Bare Metal for customers in places where it doesn’t already have some, they said, “We are open to expanding based on the customer needs and projected demand.”

Not hosting the hardware in the same data centers as its main cloud infrastructure is one big difference from traditional bare-metal cloud services. Another is the hardware itself. Google is offering OEM hardware for this service. That’s standard hardware from the likes of Hewlett Packard Enterprise or Dell Technologies, not Google’s custom-designed, straight-from-the-contract-manufacturer-conveyor-belt cloud hardware. The OEM hardware is certified for “multiple enterprise applications,” the company said.

The server hardware comes in five different configurations, but the company is willing to customize on a case-by-case basis. Storage comes in 1TB increments, either hybrid or all-flash.

Google Cloud Bare Metal Solutions server configurations:

  • Dual-socket x86 systems
    • 16 core with 384 GB DRAM
    • 24 core with 768 GB DRAM
    • 56 core with 1536 GB DRAM
  • Quad-socket x86 systems
    • 56 core with 1536 GB DRAM 
    • 112 core with 3072 GB DRAM

You will have access to dev/test environments “within hours of ordering the solution,” but expect four to eight weeks of lead time for larger deployments and production workloads, the spokesperson told us.

Google will bill you for bare metal once a month, integrated with your regular Google Cloud billing, but it does have a “preferred term length of 36 months,” which likely means you can’t expect Google’s remote hands to set up a single server for you in a colo unless you commit to renting it for a while.

The company won’t charge you for data egress and ingress between your bare metal infrastructure and its cloud if both are in the same region. That last part of course is moot at the moment, since the service is only available in Northern Virginia.

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