What Are Bare Metal Servers? A Comprehensive Guide

Learn about bare metal servers and see if they’re a good fit for improving the performance of your business.

Bojan Jovanovic Image
Updated:

November 14,2022

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These days, most servers are running some kind of virtualization software, which lets you run multiple operating systems on one physical server. But there are still some cases where you might want a bare metal server that doesn’t have virtualization software installed. 

So, what exactly are bare metal servers, and how do they work? This article will guide you through all you need to know.

Bare Metal Servers: Definition

Bare metal servers are physical computer servers that are designed to run services specifically for one tenant without being shared, even within a data center. They’re designed to run dedicated services, so reliability, stability, and durability are essential. Users can benefit from predictable performance as these servers don’t share resources with neighbors.

With these servers, applications run directly on the server’s operating system. Moreover, you can use a hypervisor and get more control.

A hypervisor is commonly known as a virtual machine monitor, and it lets you create and run virtual machines on a bare metal server. The management suite that comes with the hypervisor helps manage the virtual machines on the server. Users get more reliability and flexibility from hypervisors because they divide the workload among several VMs.

Overall, a bare metal server will give you all the access you need and give you more options for building a platform for a service or app. Unlike with the virtual environment, you won’t need many additional layers of software solutions, making the entire process way simpler. 

Single-Tenancy vs. Multitenancy

Since one of the most important characteristics of bare metal servers is that they’re a single-tenant solution, let’s take a look at what that means and how it compares with multitenancy.

Basically, single-tenancy means that only one client is using the server. Single-tenant servers are especially reliable, stable, and long-lasting, and they can work for long periods of time with few breaks. As they stand apart from other systems, they’re able to offer predictable, consistent performance.

In contrast, “multitenant cloud architecture” is a term for a cloud infrastructure that can be used by more than one client. Multitenancy is a way for cloud services to let multiple companies use the same application on the same hardware. It is also known as “shared computing.”

When you obtain a virtual machine, you will, in most cases, also have access to a guest operating system that is running on top of a hypervisor, which in turn, is running on top of the hardware. However, you will only be able to access the guest OS and the management interface and won’t have access to the hardware. 

Why Should You Choose Bare Metal Servers?

Compared to other options like virtualized servers, bare metal servers offer greater performance, power, and security.

Bare metal servers are perfect for high-demand, critical applications like databases or business intelligence apps, as well as for media encoding and rendering farms. They are often chosen by businesses that need reliable performance all the time. 

Let’s take a closer look at the bare metal server benefits we haven’t yet mentioned:

  • You won’t need a hypervisor, which is a great save and a great performance hack as any additional software solution might affect the performance. 
  • A variety of set-up specifications allows you to customize the server based on usage and workload. 
  • As a tenant, you can choose everything based on your preference, such as the operating system.
  • You can be in charge of your own security, with an option to set up security protocols the way you want to without having to involve a third party. Additionally, the server is physically protected, which gives it additional value. 
  • No “noisy neighbor” concerns when using a bare metal server. Thanks to the fact that only you will be using this server, you won’t have to deal with anyone else popping in and out of the server and hogging all the bandwidth while you work. 

Bare Metal Servers: Uses

Bare metal servers offer a set of functionalities and benefits that attract various sorts of organizations from a wide variety of industries. Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular reasons people choose bare metal systems

Render Farms 

Bare metal servers are very helpful for businesses that use specialized apps that use a lot of resources and need real-time collaboration and communication. 

A good example is a cluster of interconnected computers whose sole purpose is to generate rendered visuals, typically employed in the production of computer-animated films, such as seen in Hollywood studios and by 3D animation companies. These types of servers work well because they offer a lot of resources without any contracts and can be leased for short periods of time.

Big Data Processing 

Bare metal servers are a great option for organizations that need to process massive amounts of data from IoT sensors. Bare metal servers have high-performance computing features that let them handle large amounts of data quickly. This makes them perfect for companies that need to analyze and process large amounts of data quickly and in real-time. 

Additionally, because bare metal services can be started and stopped on demand, they provide the flexibility required to adapt quickly to changing needs, allowing organizations to only use the resources they actually need at any given time.

High-Performance Computing

Organizations often choose bare metal servers with a GPU configuration to get the most out of the powerful processing power of HPC systems. These systems are made to be as fast and efficient as possible. This makes them perfect for a wide range of high-performance computing tasks, such as deep learning, predictive analytics, and risk modeling.

A GPU-enabled HPC setup can help you achieve your goals and stay ahead of the competition, whether you need to solve complex data problems in healthcare, finance, or another field.

Fintech and Adtech

Adtech and fintech are both growing industries that rely on fast and safe data processing to run their services. Bare metal is a popular choice for these industries because it can offer high speeds, efficiency, and resources. These industries use it to create user profiles and manage assets. Additionally, the security features of bare metal make it ideal for handling sensitive data.

Creating Bare Metal Environments

A type of virtualization environment where the hypervisor is executed and directly installed on the hardware is called a “bare metal environment.” It directly interfaces with the hardware in order to enable processes that are typical of virtual machines, so that you won’t need a host operating system. 

You have full control over your server's hardware, network, and other resources in these environments. This makes them perfect for mission-critical applications that must strictly follow legal or regulatory rules. 

A dedicated bare metal environment is a good way to meet certain performance standards or keep private data from being accessed by people who shouldn’t be able to.

Bare Metal Infrastructure: Server Management 

What follows are the important points of server management that you need to handle when using a bare metal server. If you believe you’re not up to the task, you can alternatively outsource server management. This will allow you to focus on running your business while letting a specialized service provider manage the server for you.

Monitoring 

You should monitor firewalls, switches, the metrics of the server, and similar elements. One way to do this efficiently is to set reminders and check everything on a regular basis. 

Operational Management 

Operational management can sometimes be very demanding as it involves a lot of tasks that need to be taken care of carefully and on time. These are domain name services, backup and recovery, hardware replacement, and migration of data

Patches and Updates

The main tasks you’ll have to perform regularly with your bare metal system are software patches and updates to the operating system. This is particularly important in terms of cyberattack prevention.

Password Management

Make sure to regularly change server passwords, especially your root password and those of administrative and other users. It’s wise to occasionally check for password leaks.

Bare Metal Servers vs. Virtual Servers

By using virtual servers, companies can save money on hardware they don't need and have more rental options and faster provisioning. This allows for a more cost-effective approach, as the hardware costs are shared among multiple customers.

Additionally, virtual servers can be turned off when not in use, allowing for a more efficient and cost-effective use of resources. When considering whether to use a bare metal server or a virtual server for a specific workload, it is important to weigh the factors of cost, performance, and security. 

While virtual servers may be more affordable and convenient, they also run on shared hardware, which can potentially impact their performance and jeopardize security, while bare metal servers offer higher performance and enhanced security but come at a higher cost. 

But if you can’t compromise on performance and security, investing in a bare metal service may be your best bet. As technology keeps getting better, the price of hardware keeps going down, making it possible for more companies to use bare metal servers.

Should You Buy or Lease a Bare Metal Server? 

Depending on your specific requirements, you can either decide to buy or lease a bare metal server. Purchasing will give you full access to physical hardware. After making the necessary investments, there will be costs for running and maintaining the server, too.

You should think about the total cost of ownership, which includes your initial investments, operational costs, technical support, redundancy, and uptime. Moreover, you’ll need to decide whether you want to lease racks at a colocation center or run everything on-premise. The latter is more expensive as there will be more maintenance required.

On the other hand, if you need to rent a bare metal server for your business, leasing is the most straightforward and convenient option. This type of server offers fast deployment, high network uptime, and reliable hardware performance.

Many bare metal server providers offer fast deployment times, so you can get your server up and running within a couple of hours without any special instructions. Additionally, they offer 100% uptime, so you don’t have to worry about hardware failures or other issues affecting your server’s performance.

Bottom Line

The number of organizations that employ bare metal servers is on the rise again, and there are many satisfied users, especially among small and medium businesses. This service offers a stable, scalable, and long-term solution for keeping your data optimal and secure. 

So, whether you decide to lease or buy a bare metal server, work on planning how best to manage the bare metal hardware and software and make the most of this effective way to maintain your data.

FAQ
Why use bare metal servers?

One of the main reasons why you should use bare metal servers is that they’ll offer you better performance, improved applications, and more security. With a physical server, there’s not much room for your data to be compromised, and you’ll be the only one in charge. 

Who uses bare metal servers?

There are many use cases for bare metal servers, most commonly 3D animation companies and Hollywood studios that do a lot of rendering work. Bare metal servers are especially helpful for these companies because they provide great tools for businesses that need to work together and talk to each other as they work. 

Another advantage of bare metal servers is that they don’t require a long-term commitment.

What is a bare metal cloud?

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What are bare metal servers?” let’s move on to the bare metal cloud. 

The bare metal cloud is a public cloud service in which the user rents specialized hardware resources from an off-site service provider. It means you’ll gain access to the hardware resources of a bare metal server, but without any operating systems or virtualization infrastructure already installed.

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