By David “Mac” McDaniel

Companies taking a hybrid or multi-cloud approach need flexibility in the technology they use for automation, security, and to support scale. Google Cloud Anthos has put developers back in control with its unique hybrid & multi-cloud management and single pane of glass approach to application modernization. And now, with Anthos on bare metal, you can choose how you run your workloads and where.

Deploying Anthos on bare metal offers flexibility, lower latency, performance advantages, new edge use cases, and more. It gives developers full control, allowing them to capitalize on cloud capabilities while keeping workloads on bare metal servers, whether for compliance or preference. In this article, we’ll answer:

  • What is Anthos on bare metal
  • Why run Anthos on bare metal
  • How to install Anthos on bare metal

What Is Anthos on Bare Metal?

Let’s start with the basics. 

Anthos is a modern application management platform that extends Google Cloud services and engineering practices to cloud and on-premises environments. It’s the heart of Google Cloud’s hybrid and multi-cloud technology.

A bare metal server is a physical server that hosts only one operating system instance vs. a hypervisor server that hosts multiple operating system instances who share the server’s compute and storage resources.

Together, Anthos on bare metal is essentially a “bring your own operating system” model. It’s designed for cloud collaboration and offers more choices on how to run hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructures. Think of it as a Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) cluster running at the edge. 

Anthos on bare metal runs on top of physical (and can run on virtual instances as well), provides overlaying networking as well as L4/L7 load balancing, and it allows you to integrate your own load balancer. It supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1/8.2, CentOS 8.1/8.2, and Ubuntu 18.04/20.04 LTS.  

You can run Anthos on bare metal using one of two deployment models (for now):

  • Standalone model: If you’re running in an edge location or want to manage clusters separately, the standalone model allows you to manage every cluster independently. 
  • Multi-cluster model: If you’re building automation, tooling, or need to delegate clusters without sharing sensitive information or account details, the multi-cluster model allows you to manage several clusters from an “admin” cluster. 

For storage, you can deploy persistent workloads using CSI integration with your existing infrastructure. With Anthos 1.7 on VMware, you can use a CSI driver that allows you to provision FCDs and integrates with vSphere CNS, providing visibility through the CNS UI in vCenter.

Why Run Anthos on Bare Metal?

Anthos on bare metal lets you leverage your existing infrastructure while modernizing apps throughout their lifecycle. It enables you to:

Deploy Applications Directly

Anthos on bare metal allows you to use your own operating system and deploy applications directly on your hardware infrastructure through the standard Kubernetes processes, giving you control over application scale, security, and network latency.

Improve Cost & Performance

You can manage the health and deployment of your applications across data centers to centralize operations and make them more efficient. Anthos on bare metal allows you to use virtually any hardware you have as well as specialized hardware like GPUs to meet specific application requirements.

Optimize for Your Environment

Because Anthos on bare metal uses a “bring your own operating system” model, your network, hardware, and applications can be optimized based on your infrastructure requirements without worrying about software compatibility.  

Monitor Environment Health & Performance with Advanced Features

Anthos on bare metal monitors changes to your environment as workload and network traffic fluctuate so that you can scale applications easily. Anthos on bare metal also integrates into the Google Cloud Console’s Kubernetes dashboard which provides a Single Pane of Glass view into all of your Anthos and GKE clusters and workloads.

Optimize for Lower Latency

With greater control of your environment, you can optimize for low latency and drive better performance of your applications.

Increase Both Transparency & Control

You can customize your infrastructure security based on your requirements without adding any more VM complexity when deploying security systems. You maintain complete OS transparency when interacting with existing security systems. 

How to Install Anthos on Bare Metal

For a smooth installation of Anthos on bare metal, it’s important to understand the process and prerequisites. This walkthrough covers how to disable or uninstall App Armor, install Docker in “non-root” mode, and more. 

Ready to dive deeper and learn how you can make the most of your existing infrastructure? Talk to one of our cloud experts and start building anywhere with Google Cloud Anthos.