Bare metal servers versus dedicated servers – which one is better?

In terms of getting top performance from server hosting, businesses now have a choice between traditional dedicated servers and next-generation bare metal machines. How should they choose between them, let us have a look in this article and dispel myths?

What is the main difference between these two?

From a completely technical perspective, bare metal servers and traditional servers have a lot of features in common. In obvious terms they both come as a physical box instead of being virtual hardware. The lack of virtualization raises the moniker of ‘bare metal’ meaning this idea gives users an unrestricted access to hardware lying within.

Both types of servers are single tenant machines, providing configurations of processors, storage and memory that is not shared between users. This means that whether users are using a bare metal server or a dedicated one, they can rely on the power of their own hardware and do not need to worry about performance taking a hit when there is a spike in traffic.

While bare metal and traditional servers both offer dedicated solutions, bare metal machines tend to be a hosting service provider’s flagship product.  Bare metal configurations are typically equipped with the latest & greatest hardware, from the newest generation of Intel Xeon CPUs to DDR4 RAM with error-correcting code (ECC).

Storage technology on bare metal servers is also most likely to be top notch, with solid state drives (SSDs) now providing even faster loading that is far ahead of standard SATA SSDs and hard disks. Connectivity is an additional yet vital feature of a server’s performance.

Both old and new style bare metal and dedicated servers can be rented with a high speed 1 GB per second connection which ensures all dedicated hardware can be put to good use. On the basis of their hardware, they both offer the same level of control, sophistication and security.

Time is an important factor

One of the major differences between these two is the pricing and the contract terms. A bare metal server helps businesses get all the performance a standard server has to offer but with a flexible billing on a per-hour model.

While traditional servers are often rented on monthly or yearly contracts, businesses can use a bare metal one on demand depending whether they want it is for the short or long run, as needed and only pay for what they use. This is ideal for websites and apps experiencing higher traffic at peak times like sales or seasonal events.

The two breeds of server hence exist to serve different usage requirements. Classic dedicated servers provide hosting resources to be used consistently for months or years at a time. Bare metal servers can be launched and closed in short notice, even if dedicated performance is only needed for a short time.

Both types of server can usually be integrated with other hosting services giving businesses the best fit for their needs. A common scenario is hosting the main website on either a virtual private server or a cloud server. Then the load is transferred to dedicated hardware during busy and peak periods.

Another typical example is application testing, where virtual machines can be used to create low-performance test environments, before launching into production on a dedicated platform.

In situations like these, bare metal servers are at an advantage. They are designed to work as nodes in a wider network infrastructure, just like standalone servers. Bare metal servers help cloud integration with minimal configuration. Hence it is easy to get dedicated hardware up and running along side virtual private servers to create hybrid, load balanced setups managed by a single cloud control panel.

What businesses need?

The similarities between bare metal and traditional servers outpace the differences. The choice of businesses ultimately comes down to what they plan to do with their server, what suits their business model and how much flexibility they need.

If a business plans to develop a project demanding long term dedicated performance, a traditional server can meet their needs. But if they need a cost-effective server that can be deployed or closed at a moment’s notice, bare metal servers work well in this regard.

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