Bare Metal Servers vs. Virtual Servers: How to Choose?

Updated on Jun 17, 2022

FS Rack Servers

The choice between bare metal servers and virtual servers depends on the specific application requirements. Bare metal servers have better performance, while virtual servers offer good scalability and cost-effectiveness. This article has made a certain explanation and comparison of the two servers. You can read this carefully to understand the two servers first and then decide your choice.

What Are Bare Metal Servers and Virtual Servers?

Bare metal servers are physical machines with dedicated hardware resources, including CPU, RAM, storage, and network ports. It is built in a highly secure and controlled environment within a data center. In cloud services, bare metal servers can be rented for specific users and do not need to be shared with other users. Unlike virtual servers, the main purpose of bare metal servers is to provide high performance for a single user, allowing the user to enjoy full configuration rights, rationally distribute intensive workloads, and coordinate hardware and software.

Virtual servers, usually used in cloud services or hosting service providers, are software-defined virtual machines. They are equipped with hypervisors to deploy internal resources, and hardware systems are shared by physical servers. A virtual server is a temporary storage and computing space for users, which can provide higher scalability and flexibility.

Bare Metal Servers and Virtual Servers: What are the Differences?

First of all, in the aspect of performance, bare metal servers provide access to all internal resources without sharing, such as server CPU, and RAM storage performance. While virtual servers store a large number of resources, sharing the hardware from physical servers. This is the reason why bare metal servers are ideal for handling important data, which is also one of their main differences. As such, bare metal servers provide advanced data security that virtual servers cannot.

Secondly, in terms of capacity, bare metal servers cannot scale in capacity and are expensive to upgrade, while virtual servers can upgrade by adding server RAM or hardware to increase internal capacity.

In addition to that, although bare metal servers can be used for large-scale, centralized data processing, they are not as flexible as virtual servers. The flexible storage facilities are provided by virtual servers to achieve load balancing according to storage needs.


Bare Metal Servers vs. Virtual Servers: Which Is Right for You?

After understanding the definition and difference between bare metal servers and virtual servers, you also have to get a deep basis of their advantages and disadvantages in application, and then consider which one you want to apply.

Pros and Cons of Bare Metal Servers

As mentioned above, bare metal servers provide independent data storage and processing, which brings the following advantages:

  • Completely isolated operating environment. Bare metal servers have independent hardware and software facilities, allowing users to fully utilize internal resources and also reduce downtime due to incidents or resource allocation in the data center operating environment.

  • Powerful high performance. When the user selects the server, the data processing capacity of the server will be considered. Bare metal servers are equipped with high-performance processors and serve only a single user to maximize performance.

  • High security. Bare metal servers have traditional hardware firewalls attached to achieve a higher level of security than virtual servers or other servers.

  • Lowest storage cost: Bare metal servers provide data storage services just for a single user with low-cost consumption. If you have a large amount of data storage, this will be a good choice.

Here are some disadvantages:

  • Internal configuration. Bare metal servers require some configuration, planning, and management knowledge, which makes the configuration of bare metal servers more time-consuming than virtual servers.

  • Running costs are high. A single user using a bare metal server needs to bear all the operating costs, especially a bare metal server with advanced processing components will be more expensive.

  • Limited scalability. Bare metal servers cannot upgrade themselves to provide more capacity and processing performance. If you do a server migration, it will cause downtime.

Bare Metal Servers
Pros and Cons of Virtual Servers

Virtual servers also offer users some advantages in a few ways:

  • Scalability and flexibility. Virtual servers provide scalability and flexibility not possible with bare metal servers, without downtime. It can add or remove internal hardware such as CPU, RAM, etc. according to the user's needs in terms of network, memory, storage, or processing performance. Virtual servers can scale as users' computing needs change. Hence, it provides customized needs.

  • Lower costs. The virtual servers save hardware costs. They mainly apply HTTP service, divide the service unit, and appear as multiple servers externally, to realize the best utilization of server hardware resources.

  • Quick configuration. Compared with bare metal servers, virtual servers are relatively convenient and quick to configure. Users can quickly start or test application scenarios. It can even be used for temporary workloads.

Also, it has some disadvantages:

  • Server resources waste. For example, if you allocate storage space on a virtual server to create a virtual machine disk image, the storage space will be unavailable for other purposes.

  • Performance efficiency drops. Virtual servers can provide physical computing resources for multiple users or operating needs. Too many resource-intensive applications can cause other devices to perform poorly.

When choosing between bare metal servers and virtual servers, consider your specific needs first. In particular, some financial and medical industries will use bare metal servers in their data centers because of data privacy. However, the only use of bare metal servers will also bring some problems, like inflexibility or high cost. This can arise a new concept: bare metal virtualization. This combined solution is a combination of bare metal servers and virtual servers, which improves the overall performance of the server, provides high-performance processors that can handle intensive resources, offers advanced security, and perfectly meets user workload requirements.

Virtual Servers

If you are deciding to choose or rent servers for your data center or business, you can consider whether to select bare metal servers or virtual servers based on the points mentioned above. Perhaps you can consider a bare metal virtualization combination solution, because while bare metal servers give you performance and security, you also need the flexibility and scalability of virtualization to support your business.

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