When you look for options for hosting our SaaS, business applications, or computational workloads, you often might see bare metal cloud as a popular option.
This article will answer the questions you have in your mind about bare metal cloud and how this option adds value to your operations. Starting with an introduction, we’ll go into the pros and cons of bare metal cloud hosting solutions. Finally, we cover some popular use cases where bare-metal cloud is used in various industries.
Let’s start with the introduction.
Table Of Contents
- What is Bare Metal Cloud??
- What are the Characteristics of a Bare Metal Cloud?
- Benefits of Bare Metal Cloud Hosting
- Drawbacks of bare-metal clouds
- Drawbacks of bare-metal clouds
- Applications of Bare-Metal-Cloud
- How Bare Metal Cloud Differs From Conventional Cloud Services?
- Bare Metal Cloud vs. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?
- Virtualization on Bare-metal
- How to Choose a Bare Metal Cloud Provider
What is Bare Metal Cloud?
Bare metal cloud is a kind of cloud computing infrastructure that provides access to physical servers (also known as bare-metal servers) rather than virtualized servers or instances. This is very different from a traditional cloud computing environment, where virtual machines run on top of a hypervisor layer that abstracts the underlying physical hardware.
However, in a bare-metal cloud environment, users are given direct access to physical servers without any virtualization layer. This allows for increased performance, better control over the hardware, and more customization options compared to virtualized cloud environments.
As a result, a bare-metal cloud can be especially useful for applications that require high performance or access to specific hardware configurations that may not be available in a virtualized environment.
What are the Characteristics of a Bare Metal Cloud?
The following characteristics set bare-metal cloud hosting solutions apart from all other options on the market:
Dedicated Hardware Resources
Unlike traditional cloud servers, which may share hardware resources among the users, bare metal cloud instances are generally dedicated to a single user. This means the user has complete control over the server’s hardware resources, including CPU, RAM, storage, and network connectivity.
When a customer requests a bare-metal cloud instance, the cloud provider provisions a physical server from their inventory and prepares it for use. This includes adding the requested hardware components, installing the operating system, and any other required applications.
Isolation and Security
Since bare metal cloud instances are dedicated to a single customer, they offer a high degree of isolation and security. Customers can configure their server environment to meet their specific security and compliance requirements, and they don’t have to worry about other tenants on the same hardware configuration impacting the performance or security.
Billing and Pricing
Bare metal cloud instances pricing is typically based on usage, often similar to traditional cloud instances. However, because customers have dedicated hardware resources, the pricing can be higher than shared cloud instances.
Now that you have an understanding of bare-metal hosting solutions, it’s time to go into the benefits and potential drawbacks that you should carefully consider when considering a bare-metal cloud for your projects.
Benefits of Bare Metal Cloud Hosting
Bare metal cloud hosting solutions are often preferred because of the following reasons:
Bare-metal clouds offer higher performance than virtualized cloud environments because there is no overhead from a hypervisor layer or shared resources. Additionally, the user can utilize all server resources without worrying about performance drops and running out of resources during traffic spikes.
A bare-metal cloud provides full control over the physical server resources. This allows users to customize hardware configurations and software environments to meet their specific needs. This is an important benefit of bare-metal servers because the users can opt to install more resources (for instance, more storage and RAM) at the time of building the server. This initial investment will continue to perform as the hosted applications start to demand more server resources.
The bare metal cloud offers higher security and isolation because customers have exclusive access to their dedicated physical server. In addition, customers can deploy multiple security mechanisms, including access control, TFA, SSO, firewalls, and IDS, to protect the bare-metal server infrastructure from attacks.
Bare-metal clouds are well-suited for organizations that have strict compliance requirements. Since the users get exclusive and complete control over the server, they can customize the hardware and software requirements to meet the requirements of the various regulations and data protection agreements.
If the user has to pay for third-party licenses, bare metal cloud solutions can be more cost-effective because customers can use their own licenses rather than paying the cloud vendor for licensing based on usage.
Drawbacks of bare-metal clouds
While bare-metal cloud hosting solutions bring a lot of benefits to any organization, you should know that bare-metal cloud servers aren’t for everybody. The following are some reasons these solutions might not be a good fit for your organization.
Bare metal cloud hosting servers can be more expensive than virtualized cloud environments due to the dedicated nature of the hardware resources.
Bare metal clouds are less flexible than virtualized cloud environments, as scaling bare-metal servers involves adding additional physical resources rather than simply increasing virtual resources.
More Management Requirements
Bare metal clouds require more management and maintenance than virtualized cloud environments, as customers are responsible for managing the entire physical server environment. This often necessitates dedicating resources to monitoring server conditions and following preventive maintenance procedures.
Availability of Additional Units
This point is connected to the scalability of bare-metal servers. When an organization needs to add additional units to the infrastructure, provisioning a new server or adding resources to existing bare-metal cloud servers can take significantly longer than scaling virtualized servers.
Now that you know the benefits of bare-metal cloud infrastructure and some reasons why they mightn’t be a good fit for your operations, let’s discuss the broad areas where bare-metal servers are used to add value to businesses.
Applications of Bare-Metal Cloud
Here are some specific applications and use cases for the bare-metal cloud.
Bare-metal cloud servers are the best option for high-performance computationally-intensive applications, such as scientific simulations and engineering design. For example, a bare-metal cloud is used to run simulations of fluid dynamics to optimize the design of an aircraft.
Big Data Processing
A bare-metal cloud is ideal for big data processing applications, such as data warehousing and analytics. Processing huge data sets requires the dedicated resources of a bare-metal server. You can imagine the cost of running big data applications on shared cloud infrastructure.
Video Streaming and Gaming
The bare metal cloud can be used to host video streaming and gaming platforms that demand low latency and consistently high performance, regardless of the traffic at the front end. For example, a gaming company may use a bare-metal cloud for their game servers to ensure the best possible gaming experience for their users.
Machine learning algorithms and applications, such as training deep learning models, require extensive resources for a considerable duration. That’s why you’ll find bare-metal cloud servers in computer vision applications that need to process a lot of data quickly to identify and match objects.
A bare-metal cloud is often an essential requirement for hosting high-availability applications, such as eCommerce websites and financial applications. You’ll find most trading platforms hosted on bare-metal cloud servers to ensure maximum uptime and performance.
How Bare Metal Cloud Differs From Conventional Cloud Services
Bare-metal cloud is often considered the same as conventional cloud services because of the “cloud” in both names. However, you should know that there are significant differences between the two. Here is a brief discussion of the differences between the two.
Conventional compute instances are virtual servers that run on top of hypervisors, which provide virtualization and resource management. Conventional compute instances are a more traditional form of cloud computing and offer the advantages, such as scalability and flexibility. However, conventional compute instances may suffer from performance overhead due to the virtualization layer. As such, they may not be suitable for applications that require sustained performance at low latency.
Compute instances use hardware virtualization to provide a more secure and isolated environment, which can be important for running applications with sensitive data. Compute instances can offer better performance than other hosting solutions, but they may still suffer from performance overhead due to the virtualization layer.
Bare Metal Cloud vs. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Bare-metal cloud and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are both types of cloud computing services, but they differ in the level of abstraction they provide to users. Here is a comparison of bare-metal cloud and IaaS.
The bare-metal cloud provides access to dedicated physical servers, without any virtualization layer. In contrast, IaaS solutions often deliver virtual servers that run on top of a hypervisor layer. This means that bare-metal cloud provides a higher level of control and customization over the hardware and software stack, while IaaS provides a more abstracted, simplified interface for managing virtual servers.
A bare-metal cloud offers better performance than IaaS since there is no virtualization layer. This makes it ideal for applications that require high performance and low latency, such as high-performance computing, online video processing, and live gaming. In these three scenarios, IaaS solutions often suffer from performance overhead.
A bare-metal cloud is generally more expensive than IaaS because users rent and use dedicated physical servers. In contrast, IaaS provides a more cost-effective solution since users are sharing physical resources and only paying for what they use.
A bare metal cloud is suitable for applications that require high performance, low latency, and dedicated resources, such as big data processing, machine learning, and gaming. In contrast, IaaS is better suitable for most general-purpose applications that require quick scalability and flexibility, such as web applications and database management.
Virtualization on Bare-metal
Virtualization on bare metal refers to the ability to run virtual machines directly on physical servers without a hypervisor layer. Bare-metal virtualization is achieved through hardware virtualization, which provides a direct interface between the virtual machines and the physical hardware, bypassing the need for any intermediate layers.
Bare-metal hypervisors, also known as type 1 hypervisors or native hypervisors, are virtualization software that runs directly on the physical server hardware, without the need for an underlying operating system. Bare-metal hypervisors provide a virtualization layer that enables the creation and management of virtual machines directly on top of the hardware, allowing for more efficient resource utilization and improved performance.
How to Choose a Bare Metal Cloud Provider
Choosing a bare metal cloud provider can be a complex task, as several factors must be considered. Here are some of the services and features that companies should provide when choosing a bare-metal cloud provider.
Availability and Reliability
Companies should look for a bare-metal cloud provider that ensures high availability and reliability. This can be achieved through redundant hardware, network connectivity, and power supplies, as well as comprehensive disaster recovery and backup procedures.
Companies should consider the performance of the bare metal cloud provider’s infrastructure, including network connectivity, storage performance, and server processing power. The provider should be able to provide the dedicated resources required by specific requirements.
Companies should choose a bare-metal cloud provider that allows easy addition (or removal) of resources. This helps reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Bare metal cloud providers offer customization options, including configuring the server hardware and software stack. This is perhaps the most important factor in opting for a specific bare-metal cloud vendor.
Since bare-metal infrastructure often hosts mission-critical applications that handle user information, you need to work with a bare metal cloud provider with multiple robust security measures to protect data and applications. This can include physical security, network-level security, and specific data encryption.
Working with bare-metal servers could mean you’d face issues in everyday operations. As a result, you should consider vendors that offer 24/7 support and proactive infrastructure monitoring. This ensures any issues are quickly identified and resolved.
A bare metal cloud is a type of cloud computing infrastructure that provides access to physical servers without any virtualization layer. This allows for increased performance, better control over the hardware, and more customization options compared to virtualized cloud environments.
While bare-metal clouds have benefits such as high performance, customization, security, and compliance, they also have drawbacks such as higher cost, less scalability, more management, and longer provisioning times.
The bare metal cloud can be used for a variety of applications, such as high-performance computing, big data processing, video streaming and gaming, machine learning, high-availability applications, and DevOps and testing.
When compared to other types of cloud services, such as conventional compute instances and compute instances, bare metal cloud provides unique advantages and disadvantages that should be carefully considered when choosing a cloud computing infrastructure.