Why Developers Should Care About Bare Metal

1 Dec 2022 by Michael Price

There's no doubt that cloud computing has transformed industries and perhaps even the future of internet technology. And while cloud computing is no longer new, that doesn't make it any less revolutionary. The cloud revolution took us away from rigid sets of services into iterative, scalable environments that continually evolve to meet the needs of businesses and consumers.

In today's fast-paced and fiercely competitive business world, companies must strive for increased agility, business continuity, scalability, and profitability. And make no mistake, cloud computing plays a vital role in meeting these ends.

However, the way we look at cloud computing is starting to shift. With Big Data, IoT, and Docker offering powerful new possibilities, industry leaders are now looking for better ways to scale their environments. Much focus here has been on moving away from multi-tenant environments and toward single-tenant, high-performance machines for specific use cases. Or, in other words, embracing bare metal.

What is Bare Metal, Exactly?

Unlike the traditional cloud model, where multiple users reside on the same physical server, a bare metal server is a single-tenant server. Moreover, bare metal servers allow direct access to the underlying architecture and don't require the use of several layers of software like hypervisors. Bare metal servers offer numerous benefits, including:

Customizability: Bare metal servers are highly customizable because the owner has root access to the server for fine-tuning.

Performance: Bare metal servers allow for higher resource utilization and lower latency. They also facilitate robust workload type optimizations (memory, heavy I/O, maximum compute). In addition, single tenancy eliminates the 'noisy neighbor' effect.

Security: By physically isolating data, applications, and other resources, bare metal servers offer a higher level of privacy and security.

Essentially, anything that is data-intensive or processor intensive is an excellent candidate for bare metal. For example, some prominent use cases include:

Multiplayer gaming servers: Server response time is critical in multiplayer gaming, making bare metal's low latency highly attractive.

AdTech and FinTech applications: Applications in these industries demand high speeds, efficiency, and stringent security.

Render farms: 3D animation studios and similar companies use specialized resource-intensive apps that demand real-time communication and collaboration.

Enterprise apps not well-suited to virtualization: Some enterprise applications can be challenging to virtualize or carry compute-intensive workloads, as is the case with SAP, Grid Compute, and Oracle.

High-Performance computing (HPC): HPC tasks like deep learning, predictive analytics, and risk modeling

Increasingly, organizations undergoing digital transformation are looking to bare metal cloud to meet their evolving IT needs. Bare metal cloud is a subset of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and is sold monthly as an OpEx.

Top Reasons Developers Should Care About Bare Metal

Bare Metal Cloud is Growing

Organizations today are generating truly colossal amounts of data. And companies are increasingly intent on leveraging this data for artificial intelligence applications and data analysis. As a result, the bare metal cloud industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. One industry analysis and forecast predicts that the global bare metal cloud market will grow from $5.61 billion in 2021 to 31.15 billion in 2029.

Running Containers on Bare Metal

Containers on bare metal servers get many of the same advantages VMs provide, but without the drawbacks of virtualization. For example, developers can gain access to bare metal hardware in apps without depending on pass-through techniques. This is because the application processes run on the same operating system as the host server. Moreover, you can achieve optimal use of system resources and achieve bare metal performance for apps because there's no hardware emulation layer getting in the way.

At the same time, you can experience the benefits that have traditionally only been possible with VMs. For example, running containers on bare metal allows you to deploy apps inside portable environments that can move comfortably between host servers.

Easier Coding and Administration

Here's the bottom line. One of the primary benefits of bare metal for developers is more straightforward coding. Put simply, unlike in multi-tenancy environments, developers don't have to account for countless uncertainties and complexities like the 'noisy neighbor' effect and others. In addition, with fewer hosts, network connections, and disks to manage, bare metal allows for easier administration.

Robust Security Is Needed More Than Ever

The total damage caused by cyberattacks reached an eye-watering $6 trillion in 2022. With cyberattacks happening every 39 seconds and our IT environments becoming ever more complex, the need for robust security has never been greater. As the cyber threat landscape continues to increase in both severity and volume, more and more organizations will look to bare metal hosting for their most critical workloads. This is likely to be particularly true for organizations in highly regulated industries like finance, government, and healthcare.

Reducing Time of Scaling

When companies face exponential growth, they often encounter issues scaling their applications in the public cloud. If this friction is significant enough, the company might revert back to co-location hosting. Scaling a multi-tenant cloud environment can be challenging. For example, engineers may face performance and reliability inconsistencies related to compute, storage, and network. But when this happens, developers typically have to make it work, often leading to over-provisioning and increased application complexity.

By implementing bare metal servers, developers are freed from dedicating time to the 'noisy neighbor' problem as well as managing the many issues in the scaling process. As a result, they can scale applications much faster.

Wrapping Up

While the debate over the pros and cons of bare-metal servers vs. virtualized hosting environments is nothing new (it's been ongoing since the 2000s), it has heated up in recent years. With the advent of Big Data and intensely resource-hungry workloads, the use cases for bare metal cloud are quickly expanding. With this in mind, developers should care about bare metal for one simple reason - IT decision-makers in leading organizations care about bare metal.

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Author

Michael Price

Michael Price serves as the Chief Technology Officer at Datacenters.com. Mike’s role is to lead a team of developers to execute on the vision of Datacenters.com. Mike has over 15 years of experience in technology and strategic communications. Mike is a full-stack developer and has built a reputation for creating lasting brand identities from the ground-up and increasing market penetration.

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