IBM's SoftLayer simplifies server deployment with hourly bare metal servers

IBM EX5 Server
Softlayer's servers are likely to be from parent company, IBM.

Softlayer has started deploying bare metal servers that can be rented by the hour (rather than on a monthly basis), joining a fairly crowded market where Amazon's EC2 competes with a host of webhosting companies (Rackspace, Leaseweb, ServerInt) and even telcos (AT&T's Cloud Architect).

The new servers can be deployed in less than 30 minutes and are charged by the hour. Public outbound bandwidth is charged per GB. Four SKUs are curretly offered and are ideal for a number of tasks ranging from development sandboxing to pure number crunching.

Softlayer's cheapest BM server costs $0.464/hr (about £0.28, AU$0.50) with outbound bandwidth charged at $0.10/GB (about £0.06, AU$0.12). The rented server is a quad-core Intel Xeon 1270 running at 3.4GHz with 8GB of RAM and a 2TB HDD.

The top-of-the-range model - which costs $1.3/hr (about £0.80, AU$1.50)- runs two octo-core Intel Xeon 2650 clocked at 2GHz with 64GB of RAM and a 4TB HDD. The same set up with free 20TB of bandwidth costs $559 per month (about £350, AU$600).

Extreme flexibility

This means that these hourly bare metal servers are best suited for short, intermittent, light, non-bandwidth intensive tasks. This, as Marc Jones, CTO of SoftLayer puts it, allow "businesses [to] deploy more powerful workloads in the cloud, there is increased demand for performance with even shorter demand cycles."

Anything that lasts more than a couple of weeks or uses more than 5TB of bandwidth would be best performed on a monthly BM server.

These servers are so-called single tenant ones that directly connect to SoftLayer's private global network. They will be deployed in North America, Europe and Asia.