When you are looking to set up your IT infrastructure, especially for hosting your applications or your website, you will have to make a choice about whether you want to have a dedicated server or just a shared space on a server or a virtual machine.
But which one is actually better for you? It will be difficult to generalize the workings of servers into good or bad and would be challenging to think about the nitty gritty as each would have its own advantages and disadvantages.
However, there are a few elements that could be taken into account while comparing the two.
These are the following aspects to be taken into consideration before deciding which solution is better for your requirements:
Bare metal servers win hands down for businesses with intensive computing and processing requirements. They provide you with the flexibility to choose hardware to meet your application needs and to add processing capacity as your needs change. Also, since they don’t have to run a virtual machine, they have one less layer of applications running on the server which contributes to better performance.
With a virtual machine, you are sharing space on the server with other businesses and will have limited options to optimize your performance requirements.
Business and Cost Considerations
If you have an expanded business, you are likely to have a big number of applications running. It is also likely that your website or applications will have a larger number of users demand more resources from your server.
In such a scenario bare metal servers will be a better solution as they will have the necessary processing power to meet the demands on your website and applications. The size of your business will also make the bare metal server a more cost-effective solution for your intensive computing needs.
On the other hand, if you are running a smaller business, you are likely to have fewer applications and lesser user demand on those applications.
In this scenario, virtual servers are just the right solution for your business as they can easily meet your application needs and are also cost-effective for your limited requirements.
Server management and control
With virtualization, server management and the associated activities such as hardware upgrades, server service, operating systems, scaling, and server security remain within the scope of the vendor.
This leaves businesses to focus on their core applications without worrying about such considerations or having to invest in people to manage these activities.
On the other hand, a dedicated bare metal server will require server management. However, you do have the option to outsource this activity to your vendor if they have the server management services and 24/7 phone support available.
Having a dedicated bare metal server also gives you much more control as you can decide upon several things such as which operating system to use and when to make enhancements and upgrades, etc.
Both bare metal servers and virtualization can provide scalability, depending on your needs. While virtual or cloud servers provide rapid, seamless, and almost unlimited scalability; it is possible to have reasonable scalability on bare metal servers through either changing to a more powerful server or through adding capacity (e.g. extra RAM) to your existing server or simply adding additional servers.
If you have computing intensive applications or require flexibility with respect to your hardware, operating systems etc, then you should choose bare metal servers.
However, if you have smaller applications to run or need rapid scalability without having to worry about your hardware and server management activities, then virtual servers are likely to be the ideal solution.