Bare Metal Cloud: What is it?

As more organizations seek an alternative to the outrageous data egress fees and inherent risks of the cloud, many forward-thinking companies are turning to dedicated server hardware and bare metal clouds as their digital infrastructure solution. With increased processing power, improved reliability, greater customization opportunities, and thousands of dollars in potential savings, bare metal offers the best of both worlds: cloud-like convenience plus the dependability of dedicated hardware. 

What is Bare Metal Cloud?

A bare metal cloud is a form of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) where a dedicated server, housed and maintained by a managed hosting provider, is rented to the provider’s client. As a hosting framework, bare metal differs from other cloud-based services in that it doesn’t share hardware resources with other tenants. More specifically, it differs from traditional cloud deployments because it gives more flexibility, security, and control.

Although the modern IT landscape is seeing a shift toward cloud infrastructure, many organizations still want the control and security provided by dedicated servers. Bare metal cloud servers provide a comfortable middle ground for those who want the flexibility and scalability of the cloud without compromising control and security.


bare metal cloud

How does Bare Metal work in the Cloud?

Bare metal technology leverages the cloud to offer IT professionals the same flexibility, scalability, and low costs associated with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers. Expenses are kept low with less of a need for IT hardware. Bare metal’s flexibility and scalability come from its ability to operate on a leaner framework than traditional data server options.

A defining factor is its lack of other virtual machines (VMs) on the same hardware. Unlike traditional cloud offerings, the bare metal cloud takes all of the parent machine’s hardware resources (after subtracting a small portion to run an OS and hypervisor) and gives it to the sole VM running on it. This arrangement avoids resource competition, as there are no other tenants to compete with.

In this case, the provider manages the parent machine’s hardware, OS, and hypervisor while the client manages the software inside of the bare metal instance (i.e., operating systems, applications, etc.).

Some benefits

  • Better performance. This includes the ability to leverage dedicated resources tuned for performance, customized to match your needs for storage, processing, and memory. A simpler network setup allows reduced complexity in troubleshooting and makes it easier to automate patching and deployments.
  • More cost-effective. Running Kubernetes on a bare metal cloud can help you avoid the cost of virtualization software and the operating system (OS) running on the VM. It can also reduce labor costs (by managing less complex systems when compared to systems with a virtualization layer), and infrastructure costs, which leverage the complete server resources for running workloads.
  • Isolating workloads. A strong incentive to use distinct physical machines is reducing potential security risks from sharing multi-tenant infrastructure. Whenever an application workload is run inside a container or a virtual machine, there is a chance of escape attacks allowing the attacker unauthorized access to the host OS and other VMs running on that host. Utilizing physical resources directly might be the ideal approach when the virtual separation of software-defined solutions is not considered secure enough.
  • Compliance. At present, there are several regulated industries (and government mandates in the public sector) that require a fully distinct physical machine to run unique workloads (e.g., baselining the performance of a hosted application, cost and performance modeling, license restrictions, and security considerations). A general use case illustration is an important workload running on a piece of infrastructure that needs to be fully isolated from shared resources, ensuring the service is not impacted in case of a severe incident.

bare metal cloud

Drawbacks of Bare Metal Cloud

  • Added management overhead. The customer must configure all hardware and is responsible for installing and managing the OS, hypervisor, container stack, and all software.
  • Application performance bottlenecks. These problems may arise due to network and storage throughput and latency issues.
  • Added costs. Some services require monthly leases resulting in paying for underutilized resources with bursty or nonsustained workloads. Bare metal might be more expensive for sustained, predictable workloads that can amortize a server’s cost over three or more years.
  • Limited options. Aside from AWS and IBM Cloud, most vendors have a limited selection of bare metal systems with some configurations unavailable in particular cloud regions.
  • Security vulnerabilities. Cloud vendors may do a better job configuring, monitoring, and patching systems for security threats.
  • Legacy software issues. Legacy software often has strict hardware compatibility requirements that might not include the available bare-metal configurations.

When should you adopt Bare Metal Cloud?

If you’re already running all of your workloads happily using conventional cloud services, there is likely no need to add bare metal cloud to the mix. The exception is if you are facing particular performance shortcomings that could be addressed by moving workloads to bare metal cloud servers.

On the other hand, as noted above, a bare metal cloud is a great solution in cases where you have some workloads lingering on-prem due to dependency on bare metal servers and you want to get them into the cloud.

Choosing the best option for your business

Cloud-based services – whether bare metal cloud or IaaS – are becoming increasingly popular across all sectors, and their range of use cases is expanding. Initially, most companies primarily used these solutions to run experimental or temporary workloads.

Today, virtually all organizations are leveraging cloud solutions to support mission-critical workloads.

The decision between bare metal cloud or IaaS largely relies on the significant degree to which you want to handle power, extra security, and utilization situations.

However, regardless of whether you go for which cloud-based services, one thing remains unresolved: identity and access management (IAM) in a diversified workplace with heterogeneous endpoints.


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