Bare Metal vs VM: Which Is A Better Performer?

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April 13, 2022

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bare metal vs virtual machines
Approx. read time : 8 min

In this era of cloud technology, there exist numerous options when you are choosing to take the service of one server. Once you decide to set up a server, you will be running it on the bare metal server or virtual machine server. Bare metal vs virtual machine – which one is better and where they are used? Sometimes this decision can make you a little puzzled as both of them offer resource efficiencies and application scalability. Let’s discuss and compare their features in this article to help you to take a judicious decision.

What Is A Bare Metal Server?

A bare-metal server is a physical computer that is designed to run dedicated services without any interruption for longer periods. This server is considered more stable, reliable, and durable. Bare metal servers are developed in a single-tenant environment, which means the users don’t need to share the resources between two or more tenants. This environment helps you to get rid of the “noisy neighbor” effect, which is a common downside of a virtual server environment. This feature gifts the users of bare metal with a significantly stable environment, making it a perfect choice for users to process large volumes of data.

Related: What Is A Bare Metal Hypervisor? A Comprehensive Guide

What Is A Virtual Machine (VM) Server?

A virtual machine server or VM creates a virtual environment to function as a virtual computer system that has its CPU, storage, memory, and network interface. This environment is created on a physical hardware system. Here, a software called hypervisor plays a major role. This hypervisor divides the resources from the hardware and equips them appropriately for being used by virtual machines. VMs allow different operating systems like Linux and Mac to run simultaneously on a single computer. The virtualization technology lets you share one single system with many virtual environments. When a user or program sends an instruction to a virtual machine for additional resources, the hypervisor performs its duty by scheduling the request to the physical system’s resources.

Features Of Bare Metal Server

Bare metal servers can help you to process a large quantity of data at an incredible speed. Some of the crucial features of this server:

Single-Tenant environment:

As a user, you can use all the resources of a bare metal server. Moreover, you have complete freedom to configure the whole server as you need.

Higher security:

The threat of cyber-attacks is very common nowadays. So, every enterprise searches for a solution to keep the sensitive data of their customers secured. Bare metal servers offer the best security with high levels of encryption.

More customization:

Bare metal servers are considered most customizable as you can configure this server as you like selecting the operating system and control panel of your choice.

Drawbacks Of Bare Metal Server

With all the advantages, bare-metal servers have some disadvantages also; like:

Less scalability:

Bare metal servers offer an excellent solution if your demands are constant, but it can be a little tough to scale these servers.

More expensive:

Another limitation of the bare metal server is its high cost. As you are the sole client of this server, you bear the full cost of its operation.

Features Of Virtual Machine (VM) Server

Virtual machines are admired by many users for many reasons; for example:

Simple to set up:

Virtual machines are very simple to set up. As a result, you can easily scale up the resources of this server.

Easy to manage:

The environment of a virtual machine is easy to manage. So, you can set up your virtual environment quickly.

More flexible and scalable:

Virtual machine servers are more flexible and scalable compared to bare metals. The admins can easily resize the virtual machines to distribute workload based on their usage.

Drawbacks Of Virtual Machine (VM) Server

Some of the drawbacks of virtual machine servers are:

Less security:

Virtual machines are not good options in the context of security as the environment is shared by many users.

Bare Metal vs VM Servers: A Decisive Comparison

The following table will offer you a better overview of the comparison of bare metal and virtual metal servers:

 Bare Metal ServerVirtual Machine Server
OverviewHigher performance with complete privacy of your data.Higher scalability and cost optimization features.
Hardware dedicationEvery server resource like CPU, memory, RAM, bandwidth is dedicated to a single user.Users share the server resources and the device also.
EfficiencyHigher performance.Less performance for shared resources.
Options of customizationThe user enjoys complete freedom while setting up both software and hardware.Lower customization for the shared nature of this server.
Deployment optionTakes a lot of time to set up a new server.New deployments take little time.
Maintenance of hardwareA complex process and needs dedicated human resource.Less maintenance of hardware required.
Scalability optionOffers good scalability.Scalability is slow but possible.
SecuritySingle user environment and higher customization options offer much higher security.Other users can cause security threats.
System recoveryServer recovery takes a lot of time – hours or even days.A few minutes are required for a server recovery.
Server portabilityMoving a physical server to a new location is a lengthy and complex task.Moving a VM across virtual environments is an easy task.
Billing methodsYou can predict your monthly bill for a rented server.Charges depend on your use; hard to predict the monthly bill.

A Detailed Comparison 

After discussing the features of bare metal and VM, a closer look at major differences will help you to make a wise decision.

Dedicated Resources

The most significant difference between bare metal and VM is resource dedication.

  • A user gets access to the entire bare metal server and its hardware resources.
  • In the case of a VM server, you have to share resources with other users.

Dedicated resources give you many benefits and eliminate the risks of:

  • Obstruction of the network.
  • More latency issues during peak traffic.
  • Higher downtime for shared resources with other users.

Performance

In a bare-metal server, you are allocated all server resources, so you are rewarded with higher performance as compared to a virtual server. Reasons for which virtual machines offer less performance:

  • Latency due to hypervisor: An automatic overhead of almost 5% to 10% is caused on server resources while installing and running a hypervisor. As a result, slight latency and delay are common in a virtual server.
  • Disturbance from other users: If another user in a VM server runs a heavy app requiring higher bandwidth, you can face a performance issue. That issue can lower your performance up to 20% – 30%.

Customization Options

A user of the bare metal server is enabled to build the setup from scratch and can customize all resources. Except for hardware resources, the user can choose:

  • Tools
  • Applications
  • Operating system
  • Security measures
  • Resource control system

This freedom of customization of a bare metal server enables you to configure it as per your needs. It is hard to do this for a VM server.

Deployment

Deploying a new bare metal server is a lengthier and more complex process than a virtual machine server. Hours of planning and efficient human resources are a must during the provisioning of a new bare metal server.

Deploying a virtual metal server takes much less time after you select the configuration.

System Recovery Capabilities

System recovery during a server disaster can take days in the case of a bare metal server, as it requires various tasks like setting up a new physical server, installation of new OS and apps, and restoring backup data. This process of recovery is much simpler in virtual machines.

Which one to choose? Bare Metal or VM Server

This is a little tricky question since both can be a top hosting choice. However:

Choose a bare metal server, if:

  • Hosting a mission-critical app
  • Running a large chunk of data that needs continuous processing
  • Strict security demands of data
  • Dedicated gaming server for multiplayer events

VM server will be best, if:

  • Hosting a non-mission-critical app
  • A system with occasional latency
  • A website with fluctuating traffic

Conclusion

Bare metal servers and virtual machines are two excellent hosting models used by businesses all over the world. However, those cloud server solutions have been designed for different use cases. After reading this article you have a clear vision of their features and how they are different from each other. To choose among them you should first identify your needs and the present infrastructure of your enterprise.

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