Bare-Metal vs. Virtual Environments - Part 1

In the past few years, we’ve seen a number of new terms emerge in the industry. Two of which, pertaining to cloud computing, are ‘Bare Metal’ and ‘Virtual’ environments. One is not necessarily better than the other; however, the benefits of each can be weighed depending on the needs of your business. Before delving into which is right for you, let’s define and differentiate the two.


The term ‘Bare Metal’ refers to a traditional, single tenant, physical server…with a fancy new name. In a Bare Metal environment, the resources utilized can only go as far as what is physically installed on the machine. Having said that, it is possible to create a Virtual environment within a single Bare Metal server; although, hosting firms will typically have a far more elaborate virtual infrastructure. For some businesses, a bare-metal solution is sufficient. However, this option has its limitations. Bare Metal environments generally come with a minimum amount of resources that must be met and it is not possible to quickly adjust resources on the fly. When hosting your server in a Virtual environment, things get a bit more flexible.


A Virtual environment can be more of a multi-tenant type of environment, meaning there can be several different users, servers, and businesses present. Each will typically have their own virtual machine, which can run independently from other virtual machines hosted on the same physical infrastructure. This is referred to as a Virtual Private Server (VPS). In many cases, an environment like this is made up of various pieces of hardware to handle the networking, resources, and storage. A hypervisor is an operating system that runs on a physical server which can create and administer a large number of virtual machines as well as their dependencies. This gives a systems administrator the ability to customize, build, and maintain a virtual data center in whichever way they see fit.