When it comes to setting up an IT infrastructure, servers are an essential element that needs attention. This is because it could act as the foundation for the smooth running of the entire infrastructure. In recent times, bare metal servers have seen massive growth, but many often get confused between bare metal and dedicated servers, since the terms are interchangeable. With bare metal servers, the overhead visor that enables virtualisation with cloud computing services is removed. This leads to an increase in the performance of applications.
The paragraph mentioned above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discussing bare metal servers. There is a host of other content related to bare metal servers that need to be discussed. What follows in the article is a definitive guide to bare metal servers.
What is Bare Metal Server?
Considered as highly stable, durable, and reliable – bare metal server is a physical computer that has been designed to run for an extended period of time to provide dedicated services. Since it is a single-tenant environment, it does not allow a single server’s resources between two or more tenants. This division enables a bare metal server to be free from noises that usually have a poor effect on the virtual environment. This division also allows the server to act as a stable environment, which is ideal for processing a vast amount of data.
Bare metal servers also provide direct access to the server and enable enterprises to leverage underlying hardware architecture. This allows them to have more options while creating a platform that will host a service or an application. In short, the layer of software and the reduction of physical hardware leads to better performance.
Bare Metal Environments
Any environment, be it virtualized or bare metal, consists of physical hardware underneath, but the term bare metal differentiates itself from a physically dedicated server to a virtualized environment. When it comes to bare metal, they are not shared with multiple clients within a data center. As mentioned above, a virtualized environment consists of physical hardware, but the shared hosting deployment model of a virtualized environment works differently. The end-user lacks access to bare metal level since they work with virtual resources. The single-tenant of a bare metal server is capable of accessing the root level for additional software options, which is not the same scenario with a bare metal hypervisor.
Why Go For A Bare Metal Server?
Bare metal servers can be considered an ideal choice for small and medium scale enterprises. This is because they are a cost-effective hosting solution, capable of automating and scaling allocated resources rapidly. Bare metal servers are perfect for industries, such as banking, healthcare, and government since they are designed to carry high-intensity workloads, as is the case with business intelligence and database apps. Render farms, and media encoding operations are a great example of entities that prefer bare metal servers more than virtualized servers due to the heightened performance availability.
These days, organisations are experimenting with ML and AI to a greater extent, which comprises big data, mathematics, analytics, and visualization. Since GPUs are the engine to run deep learning, the data crunching and GPU capabilities of bare metal servers make it a perfect platform for such tasks. Furthermore, enterprises can also run bare metal servers from in-house data centers, or can lease a server provided by a managed service provider.
Managing The Server
Bare metal servers indeed require a large team of IT professionals to manage the server adequately, but the responsibility can be shrugged off by leasing a server. Once leased, the entire responsibility of managing the server falls on the shoulders of the managed provider who offers a wide range of services to streamline the system. In short, the managing responsibility can be outsourced while one focuses more on the business goals. However, for those who are wondering how to manage it without outsourcing, here are a few pointers that may help:
- Updates: It is highly recommended that enterprises regularly update the OS and perform a software patch, which will protect the server from malicious attacks. Furthermore, one must run chkrootkit, rkhunter, and clamav server application tools at regular intervals.
- Monitoring: It is imperative for an enterprise to monitor the operational metric server of the server, switches, and firewalls. It is essential to fix firewall guidelines to restrict traffic by service port and destination IP address.
- Operation management: Several tasks fall under this point, such as replacement of hardware, domain name services, migration of data, and bare metal recovery and backup.
The first thing an enterprise needs to do is to ask itself for what purpose do they require bare metal servers. It could be used for dev/QA or production, so every case requires a different configuration. Once an enterprise knows what the purpose is, they can go for self-configuration or can ask a managed provider service who often offers pre-configured servers for data crunching, heavy graphical process, and other operations. An enterprise also has the option to select the underlying database software, operating system, control panels, and root access to gain full control. The options do not end there as one can custom install or set up a hypervisor for a virtualized environment.
Bare metal service has proved to be an essential component for the IT infrastructure of many companies and offers the best of existing technology. From hybridising infrastructure by putting together bare metal and virtual assets, to finding a long-term solution for data storage and transfer, a bare metal server offers customisation capability along with flexible structure.