A server provides functionality for other programs or devices, including data sharing and website hosting. But not all servers are created equal.

If you want optimal power and performance for your computing projects, you should definitely consider a bare metal server. But what exactly is a Bare Metal server, and how does it compare to dedicated servers and virtual servers? Keep reading to discover more.

What exactly is a Bare Metal server?

A Bare Metal server is a physical server that’s wholly dedicated to one client or ‘tenant’. This is why they’re also known as single-tenant physical servers.

As there’s only one tenant using the entire server, they get access to all of the server’s resources, including all of the RAM, storage and processing power. This means that a Bare Metal server offers the best possible performance, even for high-intensity or complex tasks.

Plus, since there are no other clients using the server, you can customise the server to fit your exact needs. You get complete control over the hardware and software with full root access, which means you can choose your own operating system (OS) and server configuration.

Naturally, a Bare Metal server is going to cost you a lot more than shared hosting or cloud hosting. With any type of shared server, the cost of physical server maintenance is split between multiple tenants, but this also means that you’re sharing the same resources and can suffer from the “noisy neighbour effect” if other tenants are running resource-intensive applications.

What are the benefits of a Bare Metal server?

So, why should you choose a Bare Metal server over a VPS, shared hosting or cloud hosting? Here are the main advantages of going old school with a physical Bare Metal server:

1. Superior performance and processing power

As mentioned earlier, you get access to all of the server’s resources when you opt for a Bare Metal server. This will ensure optimal performance for all of your projects, no matter how resource-intensive or complex they may be.

2. Physical isolation

Since you’re not sharing your server with anyone else, you don’t have to share resources with anyone or deal with the “noisy neighbour effect”. Plus, this physical isolation has security benefits because it’s easier for hackers to access clients on the same server, even if a hypervisor is used to divide the server into a VPS (virtual private server) that are virtually isolated.

3. Complete control over software and hardware

With a Bare Metal server, you get full root access to customise your server however you wish. This can involve choosing your preferred software, OS, hardware and server configuration. This makes Bare Metal servers ideal for clients who need an entirely bespoke solution for their projects.

4. Flexible billing

Payment plans for Bare Metal servers are typically very flexible and based on your server and its particular configuration. This means you can access pay-as-you-use billing rather than paying in increments of months or years (as you often would with a dedicated server). This gives you extra flexibility with your hosting plan.

Bare Metal server vs dedicated server

The terms “Bare Metal server” and “dedicated server” are often used interchangeably, but this isn’t entirely accurate.

While Bare Metal servers and dedicated servers are very similar, there are a few key differences. Both offer dedicated resources, physical isolation, superior security and optimal performance, but Bare Metal servers often come with the latest technologies as standard while dedicated servers may offer them as add-ons. This can make Bare Metal servers a more attractive choice for customers looking for the best possible specifications, although this can sometimes mean that more technical knowledge is required to run a Bare Metal server effectively.

Another key difference is the payment structure. Dedicated servers usually come with traditional payment plans in the form of contracts spanning months and years, whereas Bare Metal servers often have flexible pay-as-you-use billing options. However, Bare Metal servers can be more expensive overall, so dedicated servers are still more appealing to some customers.

Want to learn more about these two popular types of servers? Read our past article on Bare Metal servers vs dedicated servers to find out more about the pros and cons of each.

Bare Metal server vs virtual server

A virtual server, or virtual private server, is a virtual machine hosted on a physical server. Multiple virtual machines or compartments are hosted within the same server, which means that virtual servers are more affordable because server costs can be spread among multiple clients. But unlike traditional shared hosting, you get your own allocated resources with VPS hosting and virtual isolation between clients. This can help reduce the “noisy neighbour effect” you may experience on a shared server.

Hypervisor virtualisation

To create a virtual server, a type of software called a hypervisor or virtual machine monitor (VMM) is used to virtualise a physical server and split it into multiple virtual machines (VMs). These VMs or virtual compartments are isolated from each other and have their own allocated resources, which means you get the cost benefits of shared hosting without as much neighbour noise.

Another benefit of virtual servers is that they’re incredibly scalable. If you outgrow your current resource allocation, it's easy to upgrade your VPS via the control panel by simply adding more resources to the virtual environment. With a Bare Metal server, scaling up is more difficult because you have to add more hardware to the physical server to increase its resources. Plus, it’ll be very inconvenient to scale down and remove hardware if you no longer need as much power, which means you could end up paying for more than you need.

Many people prefer virtual server hosting due to its scalability and cheaper cost, but you can’t get the full processing power of a Bare Metal server with a VPS. Another issue is that the hypervisor software uses some resources when it’s installed on a server, which can have a slight impact on overall performance. In addition, you won’t have as much control over the hardware of a VPS, even if you have full root access to the server’s software, and the lack of physical isolation can sometimes bring security and privacy concerns.

Bare Metal server use cases

So, if you want the latest technology, ultimate control and the best performance possible, you may be interested in a Bare Metal server. But how can you know if this type of server would be the right fit for your current projects?

Here are some common use cases for Bare Metal servers to help you decide if they’re right for you:

1. High-security organisations

Due to the physical isolation of a Bare Metal server, it offers the highest level of security possible in a server. With shared hosting and even VPS hosting, hackers can find ways to access multiple clients on a server if they’re able to compromise one of them, which means that all clients can be put at risk if one tenant has poor security. Since you’ll be the only tenant on your Bare Metal server, you’ll only have to worry about your own security measures.

2. Real-time communications

To facilitate real-time audio and video communication, you need lightning-fast speeds and optimal overall performance from your server. As the most powerful type of server on the market, Bare Metal servers can ensure that your communications are as streamlined as possible.

3. Databases

Since Bare Metal servers are so powerful, they’re a natural choice for hosting large databases. These servers will be excellent at handling a high volume of data requests whilst also ensuring the security of data against cybercriminals.

4. Gaming

If you want to render complex maps in real time and banish lag from your gaming experience, a Bare Metal server is your best option. The superior performance of this game server will ensure low latency and super fast rendering speeds to make your gaming experience truly exceptional.

5. Non-standard configurations

If you need your server to fit your exact requirements, you can’t get more control and customisation than with a Bare Metal server. Although many other types of servers offer full root access, only a Bare Metal server will let you have full control over both software and hardware. Managing a Bare Metal server will require more technical know-how, but if you have the expertise, it’s worth a go.

6. Machine learning and artificial intelligence

Finally, if you need to handle vast workloads and crunch a lot of numbers, a Bare Metal server has the power you need to get the job done. This makes Bare Metal servers ideal for applications like machine learning and artificial intelligence.

How to choose a Bare Metal server

If you need the power and customisation that a Bare Metal server offers, then you need to find the right hosting plan for you, but how?

Here are the main questions you need to ask yourself before you start your search:

  • How much storage do I need?
  • What processing power do I need to complete my tasks effectively?
  • What’s my budget?
  • Will I need to scale – either up or down – in the future?
  • Which web hosting provider can offer me the best uptime guarantee?
  • Which provider offers the best technology and add-ons with their hosting plans?

To take advantage of up to 48TB storage, up to 192GB RAM, 10Gbps private bandwidth and all the latest server technology, check out our range of Bare Metal server plans. Get in touch with our sales team to arrange a quick consultation and find out what server is best for your project.