What is Bare Metal Server?

Bare Metal Server, Photo by imgix on Unsplash

Bare metal server is a term to refer a server that is not in virtualization, so the Operating System is talking directly to the hardware, not using any virtualization medium. It is just to distinguished it from Cloud or VPS. For example if one VPS is down, it will not affecting the entirety of the real computer, it will just shut down that VPS instances, but the other VPS instances in the same computer is separated and will not be affected by that.

To manage bare metal server means you talked directly to the real physical computer resources such as disk, memory, network, etc with no filter. Switching off means it will also switch off your real computer power. It shortly means straight to the hardware.

It is now common to have a cloud server rather than bare metal server. I think bare metal is something in the past but not very relevant in the future, unless you have a big company that you really need privacy of your data pool, or much control of your infrastructure. But if you just small software vendor, buying cloud is really wise choice.

Now we will compare the good and bad of bare metal server and Cloud before you choose to buy which one of them.

Advantages of having bare metal server

1. Computer resources is isolated from other tenants, so you have flexibility to manage your server,  more secure
2. Because it is not shared it will have greater processing power
3. Full control of your software stack
4. Probably more consistent disk and network I/O performance
5. Greater quality of service (QoS) by eliminating the noisy neighbor phenomenon

Now disadvantages

1. You will manage your server infrastructure directly, it can be hard and painful. Technical knowledge is required
2. Economically, it can be more expensive because you are really renting a physical computer
3. It can take a lot longer when you need new program to install, while in cloud you can simply click a button to add something
4. Imagine your server suddenly dead and you don't have backup of your data, it simply gone, while in Cloud, you still have hope

If you are a software vendor, you can either build and setup your own bare metal server, buy bare metal server from some hosting provider, or just cloud. You will need to own a server either Cloud or bare-metal.  The advantage of cloud is that it can be easier to manage it, some cloud provider usually have interface to add or manage infrastructure you need. For example installing a web server can be done just by single click of a button, while in bare-metal you need to follow and do lots of steps.

For me, Cloud computing is the future, it is more straight, easy, simple, and many more features and advantages that your cloud provider may provide in the future, in the other hand your bare metal server is only you who is responsible for adding, upgrading, maintaining your . Still, there's lot of company that can offer you what infrastructure you need, but not as wide as Cloud.

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