Your Ultimate Guide to Bare Metal Servers

For those that need more than what a basic shared server provides, bare metal servers can represent a powerful, secure and stable way to manage a website, application or any kind of workload — and it also means that without random neighbors on your server, you don’t have to worry about some runaway script taking everything down with it.

That can make for a more responsive and more resource rich environment with better performance and the power to do whatever you’d like. Because of this, a bare metal server is often seen as ideal for mission critical projects and rigorous uptime demands because no one else can stress or inadvertently drain server resources without your prior knowledge and permission.

What Are Bare Metal Servers?

Also called a dedicated server or single-tenant server, bare metal servers offer a stable and reliable environment over an extended period of time. Without any neighbors to drain resources, uptime and performance is much more predictable, making it ideal for the large-scale storage and processing of data.

While a host may set up a dedicated server or provide some level of support, a bare metal server is yours to use. You’ll have direct access to the server itself, and also get the ability to provision virtual machines on top that can host other programs and processes, kind of like your own virtualized environment.

If a shared server is like renting where you can’t make drastic changes to your living space, bare metal servers are like owning your own home and having the free reign to do just about anything you’d like.

Advantages of Bare Metal Environments

If you take enough steps back, any virtualized or physical environment is based on physical hardware. But most hosting solutions are some kind of virtual environment on top of a physical one, meaning that they may share resources with other clients depending on the number of virtual environments that exist on the physical layer.

When it comes to bare metal servers, “bare metal” often refers to the physical distinction — that it’s a dedicated server without anyone else siphoning off resources. That’s different from a virtual server where you may have an allotment of resources, but that may merely be a piece of a much larger pie and an equal number of other clients. 

Managing a bare metal server can be more involved since it’s on you to keep your server’s software and operating system up to date and patched, as well as monitoring for threats and other resource issues that can take you offline. But when you can build a system to your exact specifications according to your precise need, it can really make a difference.

A bare metal server will also come with root-level access, an elevated access level that gives you the power to install any kind of software and configure your server however you see fit. 

Benefits of Bare Metal Servers

For the ultimate in scalability, there’s nothing quite like a bare metal server. Since you’re the only client on the server, you can fully utilize the server’s resources in a way that you could never do on a shared server, and that’s why many industries trust dedicated servers to do the job. 

Compared to cloud-based hosting, you also get more bang for your buck if you have strong resource demands, such as those required by heavy database apps and projects. Government, health care, banking and other industries all value the performance and security that bare metal servers give, and many others continue to use dedicated servers to test various initiatives.

Those that want less hands-on responsibility of their bare metal servers can go with a managed option that gives both the benefits of a dedicated server with the ease of management of a shared environment. Instead of making the changes yourself, you’d communicate your need to your host and they’ll get your environment up to speed. Since the day-to-day management of a bare metal server can be a burden, a managed server is sometimes a more cost effective solution than doing it all in house, but ultimately it depends on your need.

How To Deploy a Bare Metal Server

While a bare metal server does typically take longer to deploy than the average virtual environment, we’re talking about hours or days, not weeks or months. Sure, a virtualized environment may be up and running in just minutes, but regardless of the project, the timeframes here shouldn’t be much of an issue.

In fact, the reason it takes longer is because the server is being set up to your exact specifications, which should be better for your needs over the long haul. Once it’s all ready, you’ll have an environment that truly suits your needs, and the gains in productivity and other reliability concerns should more than make up for it.

Connecting to your server will be done via secure shell (SSH) or remote desktop via a VPN depending on the operating system installed. 

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