Interview phoenixNAP President: “Bare Metal Cloud is the Underlying Layer for New Products”

Photo Ian McClarty is the Preseident of phoenixNAP
Founded in 2009, phoenixNAP is an IaaS hosting provider with data center locations around the globe – each with full service OpEx offerings and staffed to meet customer needs. The company’s services include dedicated servers, colocation, bare metal cloud, private cloud, cybersecurity solutions, and more. Ian McClarty is the Preseident of phoenixNAP.

Unmanaged hosting services provider phoenixNAP launched its brand new bare metal cloud platform in 2020, while also launching vertical CPU scaling on its bare metal servers.

HostingJournalist.com talked to phoenixNAP President Ian McClarty about their bare metal cloud product launch, the impact of the pandemic, and the company’s expectations for 2021.

“Our new bare metal offering is quite unique considering the underlying technology and the delivery model,” said Ian McClarty. “We have been offering traditional bare metal servers for about a decade now, but we are always keeping pace with market developments and demands. Through our partnerships with technology industry leaders, we are able to offer access to latest generation hardware as soon as it is out. With Intel, for example, we have a long-standing relationship, and we are working closely with them to implement their most popular product lines into our offer.”

Your close cooperation with Intel, what may clients notice from this partnership when opting for these bare metal servers?

One of our unique bare metal solutions is the FlexServers platform, which is based on 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors. Enabling users to scale CPUs vertically simply by requesting a server reboot, it provides them with a unique capability made possible through custom implementation of Intel technologies. Organizations that face sudden spikes in demand or handle highly dynamic workloads can simply request a server reboot to get access to a new configuration, rather than having to deploy an entirely new server. The vertical scalability feature is intended to eliminate bottlenecks in switching between different processor configurations.”

“FlexServers is the world’s first dedicated servers’ platform that enables vertical CPU scaling with a simple server reboot. This capability can be valuable to organizations that have highly dynamic workloads and that cannot always predict how they will behave on a particular infrastructure. By enabling them to change their CPU configuration without having to change the entire server, FlexServers eliminate deployment complexity and accelerate configuration timeframe. “

“The processor configurations available with FlexServers are optimized for a great variety of workloads. From those more traditional ones such as databases and gaming/streaming to the advanced needs such as HPC, AI, et cetera.”

For what kind of clients and use cases is Bare Metal Cloud a good fit?

“Bare Metal Cloud is primarily designed for organizations that have adopted or are looking to adopt an automation-first approach to IT and DevOps practices. As an API-first solution, the platform allows for nearly instant physical server deployments and easy management through Infrastructure as Code integrations. The hourly billing and reserved instances options provide a great degree of flexibility, enabling quick scaling and significant cost optimizations.”

“Bare Metal Cloud includes 20 pre-configured instances – with more coming soon, that can be easily provisioned or decommissioned depending on one’s needs. The speed of deployment makes them ideal for teams looking for ways to accelerate code release cycles and ensure infrastructure flexibility in case their project scales out faster than expected.”

How important is the new bare metal platform within the overall phoenixNAP solutions portfolio?

“The launch of Bare Metal Cloud reflects our effort to continually expand our portfolio of services based on our clients’ needs and demands. IT automation is already high on the list of priorities for many modern organizations, and we expect it to only grow in significance. Bare Metal Cloud is built to provide them with a solid foundation to automate their processes and maximize the use of their IT resources. As such, it caters to the needs of scale-out businesses and those and those looking to transform their approaches to IT.”

When you compare bare metal cloud to traditional dedicated server offerings, how does it differ?

“While the server infrastructure of our traditional dedicated servers and bare metal cloud solutions is similar, the underlying orchestration and automation delivery models are different. Bare Metal Cloud can be provisioned nearly instantly and is billed on an hourly or monthly basis. As such, it is likely to be used in organizations that are rapidly developing code stacks and need to quickly add and destroy resources as their demands change. It is excellent for teams that heavily rely on automation to ensure fast iteration and frequent release cycles. Bare Metal Cloud expands interoperability by aligning itself to orchestration and continuous delivery technologies. We currently have 5 of the most popular integrations that have been open sourced and can be found on our Github page and more are in development, our goal is at the end of 2021 to have built out over 20 modules and released them to the open-source community. Code will be readily available to developers to download and modify.”

“Our traditional dedicated servers, on the other hand, take hours to deploy but are more flexible in terms of customization. We can add custom hardware to provide support for a specific business need or a certain type of workloads. Thanks to their potential for building workload-optimized environments, we believe they will continue to be used in organizations that handle specialized and highly demanding workloads. Dedicated servers target the community of hosting organizations, SaaS companies that have a mature and steady workload, and large database applications.”

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For the new year, which trends do you identify within the global hosting and data center industry?

“Work from home policies is likely to remain in place for the greatest part of 2021. Securing distributed access and enabling global availability of services will remain a priority for many organizations.”

“Ensuring business continuity through comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution will grow in importance.”

“The increased focus on DevOps will continue to drive adoption of API-driven infrastructure solutions.”

“IT modernization will accelerate with new platforms, tools, and systems becoming available to organizations.”

How about the COVID-19 pandemic, what’s your vision on the impact it will have on the global hosting, cloud and data center industry?

“Research revealed that the global adoption of the cloud grew significantly with the outbreak of the pandemic. This might slow down a bit in 2021, but the cloud will remain the key to enabling remote collaboration and IT cost optimization. A lot of new companies and business models have emerged during the pandemic and the continued focus on digital resources and delivery will cause further growth.”

What does the global health crisis mean to phoenixNAP and its business?

“Like most organizations, phoenixNAP has undergone some major changes due to the pandemic. Our focus from the start was to ensure the safety of our employees, while enabling uninterrupted service delivery. This required reevaluation of different internal policies and processes, but we managed to go through the shift quickly and without any problems.”

“Our teams are extremely productive remotely, while our critical staff is on-site making sure that our network and infrastructure work seamlessly. Our on-site staff has been dispersed and CDC guidelines are quickly adopted as they change. It was important for us to provide support to our clients and partners as they too were facing major changes. Looking back, there were no actual impacts to our business as we adapted quickly.”

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phoenixNAP earned nearly 20 percent more revenue from colocation services in 2020. What caused this increase and how does it compare to the sales of other phoenixNAP solutions?

“Arizona is one of the top U.S. markets for data center services. Colocation is more affordable than in most neighboring states thanks to low utility costs and different government incentives for IT equipment. A lot of organizations from California, Nevada, Florida, and other states are co-locating in Arizona to optimize their IT costs. This trend only grew with the shift to work-from-home policies. As the workforce become more distributed, organizations no longer needed their IT to be centrally located close to their offices. As the interconnectivity hub of Arizona, our Phoenix data center was a choice of many such organizations, and this is one of the factors that influenced our increase in colocation sales in 2020.  We are an ideal choice for clients that need a network hub, direct connections to public cloud providers, or high-density compute clusters.”

“The changing IT policies also led to a growing demand for backup and security solutions for distributed workforce. This was particularly evident at the beginning of the pandemic as organizations were looking to quickly enable employees to work from home.”

“Coupled with our expanded portfolio of services including Bare Metal Cloud; improvements to our existing solutions by adding the latest generation processors to our dedicated servers’ portfolio; and new security integrations to our Data Security Cloud; these factors all contributed to the overall revenue growth for our company. Colocation services accounts for 50% of revenue, dedicated servers 25%, and cloud services the remainder 25%.”

Looking ahead, what new developments can we expect from phoenixNAP in 2021?

“We have some major announcements lined up for Q1 and we are looking forward to completing these projects. We will continue improving the connectivity options from our data centers working with globally recognized vendors in the space. We are also planning to introduce new generation dedicated server systems and continue improving Bare Metal Cloud through new features and capabilities that are already on our roadmap.  We will continue to round out our global footprints with more products as our clients continue to require more distributed IaaS products.”

“Bare Metal Cloud will continue to mature in 2021 and we have a vision of having it be the underlying layer of other products such as VMware based solutions we currently offer as separate IaaS stacks. We see Bare Metal Cloud as the underlying layer for solution offerings not just in industry leading technologies but also in emerging adoption technologies such as Kubernetes.”

To learn more about phoenixNAP, visit their website here.

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