M2: Malleable Metal as a Service

May 8, 2020

Existing bare-metal cloud services that provide users with physical servers have a number of serious disadvantages over their virtual alternatives, including slow provisioning times, difficulty for users to release servers (physical machines) and then reuse them to handle changes in demand, and poor tolerance to failures. We introduce M2, a bare-metal cloud service that uses network-mounted boot drives to overcome these disadvantages. We describe the architecture and implementation of M2 and compare its agility, scalability and performance to existing systems. We show that M2 can reduce provisioning time by over 50% while offering richer functionality, and comparable run time performance with respect to tools that provision images into local disks. M2 is open source and available at https://github.com/CCI-MOC/ims.

Associated Research Projects