Getting the Right Server: The Differences between a Bare Metal Server and a Virtual Server

20 Jun 2022 by Bryan Smalley

When it comes to servers, there are several options, as with most cloud technology. It all boils down to one question: Which is the smarter choice?

When it comes to setting up a server, one of the first decisions you will have to make is using bare metal or virtual servers. In general, bare metal servers are suitable for businesses that require extreme security and are willing to undertake server maintenance. On the other hand, virtual servers are ideal for companies that want a wide range of server access options.

Continue reading to learn more about each of the servers and determine the best fit for the company.

Bare Metal Servers

In essence, a bare metal server is a tangible object that holds a server. It refers to the server's metal, circuitry, wiring, and all other physical components. Notably, every server, virtual or otherwise, is based on a bare-metal server of some kind.

However, a bare-metal server refers to a single-tenant physical server in a more developed sense. This method means that instead of sharing the server with a group, you and only you are working on it. To understand this better, consider the distinction between a single-family home and an apartment complex.

Virtual Servers

Virtual servers allow multiple operating systems to share software and hardware resources, and they relate to numerous ways that you can control server software. If you have your bare metal servers, you can utilize a virtual server to distribute power among them as needed.

The functionality of a virtual server is identical to that of a physical server. Because servers use virtual infrastructure and virtualization software to create and maintain virtual environments, you can run several virtual servers on a single bare metal server.

For example, suppose you have a virtual server with a database and an online portal. In that case, you can devote more bandwidth to the online portal during peak traffic hours and move bandwidth back to the database during the evening hours when the outlet is not as busy.

Moreover, server space leased on someone else's servers also gets referred to as virtual servers. Google and Amazon, for example, rent out space on several servers throughout the world. This option relieves them of the responsibility of maintaining the physical infrastructure of servers while still allowing them access to the servers they require.

Virtual servers provide the following advantages: they are cost-effective, provide resource isolation, and save energy and space. Conversely, the most significant difficulty that a virtual server faces is resource-hogging, which occurs when too many virtual servers overcrowd a real server, lowering overall performance.

Comparing Bare Metal Servers and Virtual Servers

At this juncture, you will see a more in-depth comparison of the servers based on three key criteria: Cost, Server Dedication, and Performance and Security.

Cost

When comparing prices, the first thing to remember is that billing for bare-metal and virtual servers differs.

Customers have invoiced a regular sum monthly for hosting on bare-metal servers, whereas virtual servers have a fixed payment period and only charge customers for the resources used. Second, bare-metal servers are often more expensive than virtual servers; however, this can vary depending on whether they get employed for enterprise-grade workloads over time.

Server Dedication

Another important distinction between a bare-metal server and a virtual server is the level of dedication with clients.

A bare-metal server is a physical server devoted to a single customer and does not share resources with other tenants. Contrarily, you can share virtual servers among different tenants thanks to the hypervisor, which can construct various operating system instances and, consequently, many isolated virtual server environments.

Performance and Security

In terms of performance, there is little doubt that bare-metal servers can handle greater processing power than virtual servers; however, the difference may not be as significant as one might assume. Virtual servers can scale up and down as needed in a matter of seconds.

Moreover, the tenancy of bare-metal servers and virtual servers is the key distinction in terms of security. As previously stated, bare-metal servers are single-tenant, but virtual servers are multi-tenant. Bare-metal servers are considered more secure and private simply because of this feature.

Choosing the Right Server

Overall, sticking to a bare metal server might be a good choice if running a small company where security is a top priority. Small server operations should be feasible for your company, and the security benefits may exceed the upkeep. This option can also work if you have someone on your team who has a lot of server management knowledge.

If you use a bare metal server, make sure you have a good data backup mechanism in place. Physical backup methods, such as daily backups to an external hard drive detached from the server every night, may be appropriate. Also, make sure you have a place to accommodate both power and cooling requirements for proper server maintenance.

On the other hand, working with a virtual server is an excellent option if you run a huge company or expect to grow rapidly. You can scale up or down your server utilization or adjust it to match your changing demands. This method is also useful for organizations without a dedicated server team to handle their server requirements.

If you are going to use a virtual server, do your homework first. Examine the company's security methods to ensure that they fit your company's requirements. Inquire about how they manage difficulties that emerge and compare server space pricing from other firms.

The bare metal versus virtual server debate, like other cloud technologies, does not have a single correct answer. In the end, the determination gets validated by your requirements.

Author

Bryan Smalley

Bryan is offering over 27+ years of progressive IT support and management. Demonstrated success in leading large scale IT projects with globally dispersed teams. He has a keen understanding of business strategy, objectives and requirements and architecting/implementing the right solutions to meet or exceed your companies needs. Highly organized and decisive, adept at leading and motivating technical professionals in team-oriented environments. Bryan is an Out-of-the-Box thinker, intuitive and always seeking ways of bettering your business while reducing overhead.

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