Should early-stage founders ignore the never-ending debate on server infrastructure? Up to a point, yes: Investors we talked to are giving entrepreneurs their blessing not to give too much thought to cloud spend in their early days. But the rise of machine learning makes us suspect that answers might soon change. — Anna
Bare metal, rehashed
If you had a sense of déjà vu this week when David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) announced that Basecamp’s and Hey’s parent company 37signals was leaving the cloud, you are not alone: The debate on the pros and cons of cloud infrastructure sometimes seems stuck on an infinite loop.
It is certainly not the first time that I heard 37signals’ core argument: That “renting computers is (mostly) a bad deal for medium-sized companies like ours with stable growth.”
In fact, both DHH’s rationale and its detractors strongly reminded me of the years-old discussion that expense management company Expensify ignited when it defended its choice to go bare metal — that is, to run its own servers.
However, it would be wrong to think that the parameters of the cloud versus on-premise debate have remained unchanged.
As Boldstart Ventures partner Shomik Ghosh noted in our cloud investor survey, there’s more to on-prem these days than running your own servers. Debate aside, I think most of us can agree that bare metal is not for everyone, which is why it’s interesting to see a middle ground emerge.
“In terms of terminology,” Ghosh said, “I think on-prem should also be called ‘modern on-prem,’ which Replicated coined, as it addresses not just bare metal self-managed servers but also virtual private clouds, etc.”