For those looking to host their online businesses, there are many options available, and you can choose any of them. Your website’s performance and your business’ credibility are closely related to your server’s performance. A variety of server options are available, including dedicated servers, cloud servers, VPS servers, and bare metal servers.
Here in this article, I have discussed the bare metal server and why you must consider it for your online business?
A bare-metal server is a single-tenant physical server that creates a robust, secure, and steady digital framework.
When compared to shared virtual settings, a bare metal server framework does have many potential disadvantages. The bare metal server framework offers excellent resource availability, good network performance, and root access to tenants and owners.
Additionally, you can customize the bare metal servers, and the tenant improves the server based on their needs.
What is a Bare Metal Server?
A bare-metal server is a physical computer server that only one consumer or tenant can use. Each server offered to the consumer is a distinct physical piece of hardware that is a functional server by itself. Please note that bare metal servers are not virtual servers running in multiple pieces of shared hardware.
The term bare-metal server is used to differentiate between the different servers that host multiple users/tenants and utilize virtualization and cloud hosting. Unlike bare metal servers, cloud servers are shared between multiple tenants.
Each bare-metal server can run any amount of work and at the same time run more than one worker simultaneously, but they belong entirely to the organization renting them.
Did you know that with a bare-metal server, you can directly install the OS to the server? It removes layers and offers better performance. An online business can run the dedicated server in its colocation center or own data center, or rent it from a managed service provider on a monthly or hourly basis?
Bare Metal Server Structure
The bare metal server’s structure focuses on the specific requirement of the user. The bare metal framework is separated from all servers in the public cloud and hosting company. However, they also offer a private cloud infrastructure that provides the same features as that of the public cloud for workers.
Additionally, bare-metal servers do not have any resources taken up by a cloud operating system. The data isolation feature in bare metal servers automatically improves safety.
Basically, bare-metal servers have two variables: Bare metal servers with hypervisor and traditional bare-metal servers.
- Traditional bare metal servers, or dedicated servers, run user-administered operating systems like Ubuntu, Windows Server, Red Hat, SUSE, CentOS, or Debian on the hardware. Afterward, all the applications of the user run on the OS. These servers can be either self-hosted or rented out to many companies.
- Hypervisor Bare Metal Server: In a cloud setup, you can use bare-metal servers with hypervisors. This model is based on the hardware and offers a management interface for controlling virtual machines.
In a virtualized guest operating system, the user applications run on a hypervisor. Some common hypervisors are Citrix XenServer, the native virtualization Linux kernel feature, vSphere from Microsoft, Hyper-V, VMware, or KVM. A bare-metal hypervisor server allows many guest system operations.
Why Use Bare Metal Server?
Bare metal servers are the best choice for small and medium businesses because they offer low-cost hosting that ensures scalability and automates the allocation of resources quickly.
Many server experts say that the use of bare metal servers is declining compared to the other hosting options.
Nevertheless, there is no denying that in some industries, bare metal servers are the most popular choice.
According to the statistics by Grandview Research, in 2016, the value of the bare metal servers was almost $1.3 billion, and it is anticipated that by 2025, it will reach up to $26.21 billion.
Some industries like financial services, banking, government sector, and health care depend on dedicated hosting and colocation.
Additionally, bare metal is recommended for high-intensity jobs like database applications and business intelligence. Media coding operations and render farms are a few projects that use bare-metal servers instead of virtualized servers because they offer high-level performance.
Do you know that today the most reasonable way for many software development companies to test and launch their products is through bare metal servers?
In simple words, industries looking for high-end data security and precise data operations with first-class performance are likely to opt for bare-metal machines.
With a high demand for big data, this market is expected to grow fast. In these sectors, many enterprises are expected to drive more usage.
Until 2016, small and medium businesses were the potential customers for the bare metal server infrastructure. Technological advancements and advertising are expected to drive the market’s growth in time.
Benefits of Using Bare Metal Server
1. High website performance
Bare metal servers are known for offering high-performance computing, where any overhead needs to be evaded, and the hardware components are tuned and selected for best performance, for example, computing clusters for designing silicon chips.
The best part is that you can optimize the single-tenant physical server’s resources for unique workloads to perform according to your needs.
Therefore, bare-metal servers improve the performance of your website by making your resources more secure and scalable. A bare-metal cloud allows for high-performance computing.
2. Server access
You can access the bare metal server via a private network and the tenant users remote desktop access that connects with the device. You can form a private network connection with the help of a VPN by linking to an end-point.
However, if you want a connection with a Linux-based server, you can do it with the help of Secure Shell tunnel. By doing this, you can access the server as it physically exists in the workstation.
For making your website more secure, remote desktop access software encodes on the server-side and your side.
Primarily you will also have access to the server as the root user. The root user is also known as a “superuser” who can do anything on the server. If you want to restrict the hazard of unintentional changes, then you can create a non-root user for other people who should not have full control over the server.
The businesses can run bare-metal servers from colocation centers, in-house data centers or collaborate with managed hosting providers to lease a server. You can use any of these options. However, all of the above-mentioned options have their advantages and disadvantages. It is also recommended to lease a bare metal server for small to medium-sized businesses.
The deployment of a bare metal server is also straightforward. You can quickly deploy a leased server, and many IT service providers offer pre-configured dedicated servers that you can use to do any kind of work.
One of the best things about bare metal servers is that you can customize them depending on your online business needs. You can choose its features and specifications as well. Whether you need a specific GPU model, NVMe storage for high IOPS, or a unique RAID level or RAM to CPU ratio, bare metal is highly customizable. You can add or remove features as per your choice.
5. Saves more time
The main difference between a traditional dedicated servers and bare metal servers is in the contract and pricing terms. Bare metal servers offer a high-level performance of a typical dedicated server, but it has a more flexible billing model. On the other hand, traditional servers are typically borrowed through yearly or monthly contracts.
You can get a bare metal server for a short or long period based on your needs and budget. It is the best option for applications and websites with high traffic, for example, during a seasonal or festive sale. You can get more cost-effective compute resources with bare metal servers.
Two types of servers offer two different scenarios of usage. Definitive dedicated servers allow hosting resources to be used for months or years. On the other hand, bare-metal servers can be closed or launched quickly, though the dedicated server’s performance is required for a few hours or days.
Bare metal servers offer cloud integration with nominal adjustments, so it becomes simple to get dedicated hardware running via VMs or virtual private servers to generate hybrid, load-balanced systems. However, it can be managed via the simple control panel in the cloud.
6. Security and reliability
Bare metal is a single-tenant physical server that isolates your application, data, and resources for higher security and privacy when compared to a virtual server. You can eliminate the “noisy neighbor effect” with these servers because you will not share your resources with other users/tenants like the hypervisor server.
How To Manage Bare Metal Server?
It is said that you need a large team of IT professionals to operate bare metal servers. It can be true for solutions on-premise, but it is certainly not the situation for leasing and colocation. Managed service providers offer a complete bunch of services to support you in running and growing your business. It means you can reduce your processes by outsourcing IT work to a service provider and focus more on your business goals.
Here are a few aspects that help to manage your bare metal server:
1. Updates and patches
Daily update the OS and make sure you do software patches. It helps to keep your bare metal server safe and secure from cyber-attacks. Simultaneously, you need to run the rkhunter, chkrootkit, and ClamAV server tools regularly.
2. Password management
Ensure you change your server passwords regularly, including root and administrative users’ passwords.
It is important to monitor significant operational metrics of the server, firewall, switches, and more. You have to set up early alarms and thresholds to inform when the limit has been reached or overlapped.
4. Remote hands
Proper server management of the bare metal server framework can customize it internationally with no significant notification.
5. Monitoring and setting up firewalls
Firewalls are the software or hardware that controls the unwanted traffic from coming to your website. The user sets up the firewall rules to limit traffic by destination IP address, IP protocol, or other service port. The main aim is to know which port you need to open and the purpose behind each port.
6. Operational Management
This consists of task myriads like domain name services, hardware replacement, data migration, bare metal server backup, recovery, and more.
7. Role-based access
In order for large-scale corporations to access a bare metal server, you must segregate permissions and duties based on the role of the individual.
Initial Setup of Bare Metal Server
1. Identifying your business needs
First, all organizations need to be aware of how they want to use their bare metal server. You need to consider and narrow down your use case: a network device, application server, or database server. Do a proper study and find your main aim and use of the bare metal server.
Do not forget to consider the configuration while defining your business needs and goals.
2. Non-configured setups and off the shelf configuration
Many configurations need to be made for important jobs. Many managed service providers offer pre-configured servers for heavy graphical processing, data crunching, and other specialized workload types. Even if an organization needs a specific setup, the server sales team will help you choose the right bare metal server.
3. Control panels, database software, and OS
It is one of the most important advantages of bare metal servers. The main idea of “bare” suggests a clean slate, meaning you can use the server to the fullest. When you select the basic database software, such as MySQL, you also choose the operating system, the control panel extras, and the root access for the entire control panel. You can also do a custom installation or set up your hypervisor to generate a virtualized environment.
You can customize all these options after your primary installation. However, you need to be cautious about the adjustments you make because you might have to delete some data.
Buy or lease
The decision of buying or leasing a bare metal server depends on your business requirements. Buying a server offers high-end access, but you have to pay an amount for it need a lot of onsite staff to run and maintain it..
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is the best option for you. TCO consists of your primary investments and operational expenses, such as technical support, redundancy, and system uptime.
If you choose to buy, decide if you want to run a server on-premise or lease racks at a colocation center that sets up rooms made especially for the servers. On-premise buying can affect the budget because you need to also focus on maintaining and achieving data centers.
On the other hand, private colocation offers you the redundancy, interconnectivity, electrical power, cooling, and stringent security rules of the data center. Most of all, the hardware placement is under your control. Many hosting companies offer a variety of hosting options with direct access to the cloud service of Amazon. Usually, colocation is a functional plan only if you are looking for a high-end server or many bare metal servers in the market.
As mentioned earlier, leasing a bare metal server is the most convenient and most simple option for setting up a bare metal server. Having a bare metal server in-house can be very annoying. So many large organizations lease cost-effective and straightforward alternatives.
3. Location of bare-metal server
Once you have decided whether you want to buy or lease a bare metal server, the next thing you need to do is select the location of the server. In this fast-growing environment, getting the fastest result is very important. Choosing a cheap dedicated server hosting from your nearest data center location for optimum results is recommended. Your server’s location also affects the response time, especially if you want to avoid data passing through multiple processing points before delivering the service.
However, it is very important to choose the right server company if you want to lease a bare metal server. Keep in mind the geographical location of your users.
There is an alternative to buying and managing the server on the property of the company. It is known as an on-premise setup. However, the servers need some specific environment to take up the right function. Moisture, temperature, and proximity to automatic cooling systems are examples of these conditions. When it comes to on-premise bare metal servers, physical safety is the primary concern.
Moreover, security is the main focus. Many businesses, for example, payment processing and healthcare, require high-end security.
5. Public bandwidth
You need to have a clear idea about the website traffic that you are expecting in the future. Many managed hosting companies provide bandwidth ranging from 15TB of free public bandwidth monthly. If you are getting higher traffic, then you can upgrade your hosting plan in the future.
6. RAID Setup
Hard Disk Drive (HDD) failure is the most common problem you will face when setting up a bare metal server. However, it is not your job to substitute the hard drive if you choose a managed service. You might not lose your valuable data.
A redundant array of independent disks (RAID) is a redundant system that uses many hard drives for storing your data. The data is now written to drives in the array. Therefore it allows the hard drive to fail without losing any data. RAID can be used for major workload, where the loss of data is detrimental and catastrophic to a company. You need to keep in mind the main aim of RAID is to decrease server downtime. However, it does not remove the need for backups.
There are many levels of RAID:
- RAID 0: Here, the data is split into chunks among drivers with the help of striping. It helps to increase the read and write speed. The RAID 0 setup is not secured because your entire data will be lost if one hard drive fails. The working capacity of RAID 0 is equal to an entire physical capacity.
- RAID 1: The RAID 1 setup uses a process known as “mirroring.” It writes the data to the hard disks, so none of the data is lost if the hard disc fails. This setup halves the storage volume, meaning if you have a storage space of 20 TB, you have only 10TB as usable capacity.
- RAID 5: In the RAID 5 setup, the data is written on all the drives, with added data known as “parity.” If, at any time, the hard disc fails, your data is retrieved with some additional information. The usable capacity is the entire storage minus one hard drive.
- RAID 10: RAID 10 is a mix of RAID 0 and RAID 1. Data is laid out diagonally on multiple hard drives, and then the hard drives are mirrored. Out of the entire physical capacity, it offers 50% usable capacity.
Dedicated Vs. Bare Metal Servers
The term dedicated server and bare metal servers are used interchangeably, although they are similar but not identical. There is a lot of difference between these servers.
Theoretically, dedicated servers are linked with long provisioning times, increments in billings yearly or monthly, and low-end hardware.
As a response to the negatives of dedicated hosting and servers, the idea of bare metal servers has grown. Companies that specialize in bare metal servers offer dedicated hardware similar to model clouds with quick provisioning times. Hardware is budget-friendly and comes with high-quality components. For users who don’t need a high-quality server, dedicated servers are a low-cost alternative to bare metal servers.
A bare-metal server is a single-tenant physical server that creates a robust, secure, and steady digital setup. Here in this article, we discussed bare metal servers in detail. Since these servers offer many benefits, companies use them as a potential solution for their website hosting needs.
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