Bare metal servers: What are they and how are they used?

There are many different options for cloud computing services. In this guest post, Emily Miller discusses the advantages of one type of cloud deployment, bare metal servers. 


When it comes to virtual hosting, business owners must be familiar with the different choices in order to determine which service will be the best choice for their operations. Terms such as sharedVPS, and dedicated differentiate the various types of hosting environments where users share resources, get dedicated resources on shared servers, or maintain their own servers.

A lesser-known term in the cloud hosting world is bare metal. This option, which goes hand-in-hand with dedicated servers, is what a company should consider when it needs a server with full, absolute isolation from other servers to meet intense traffic demands.

What is a bare metal server?

For those who are familiar with servers, it’s easy to make a guess as to what “bare metal” means in terms of virtual hosting. It refers to a computer’s hard disk that’s a clean slate, without any operating system or software installed on it. This differs from dedicated instances, which require an operating system and a connection to the public cloud. Since a bare metal server has nothing on it, a company can directly install a virtual machine on it, allowing for full customization of the server.

How are bare metal environments used?

Bare metal environments are fully isolated from all other servers at a hosting company and the public cloud. They do, however, provide a private cloud environment that offers the same accessibility as the public cloud for employees. Aside from the ability to fully customize, bare metal dedicated servers don’t have any of their resources taken up by a cloud OS. They’re also not weighed down by other users, ensuring optimal performance, such as faster load times and better handling of traffic spikes. The isolation of data also automatically enhances its security.

Who needs this kind of server?

Bare metal servers require no more technical know-how than other hosting options. Although starting with the blank slate of a bare metal server gives companies the means to fully customize it, hosted managed servers are still an option on bare metal, which provides all the support companies need to get programs installed, have applications deployed, keep security updated and ensure websites stay online.

Although a managed server makes bare metal accessible to everyone, most people have no need for such dedicated hardware. Small-time websites that receive little traffic won’t need a bare metal dedicated server. Large and growing companies, however, and websites that bring in substantial traffic or run applications with huge resource demands will benefit from the unfettered resources of a bare metal environment. Companies that require top security measures in order to be compliant with industry standards and the law, such as law firms and medical offices, can often create a compliant, private cloud-based environment on bare metal that they can’t achieve with any other form of cloud computing.

All in all, bare metal is a secure, customizable hosting option that effectively handles resources while providing the same accessibility as the cloud. It’s a considerably more expensive option than cloud hosting that shares hardware, but that extra expense pays for its many advantages when they are needed.

About the author: Emily Miller is a marketing professional and small business blogger who contributes regularly to Technected. She is currently working to help startups and small businesses implement technology solutions for their companies.

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