Many users have trouble identifying the difference between Bare Metal Cloud and a dedicated server.

This comes as no surprise since they have many features in common. Still, Bare Metal Cloud (BMC) includes scaling and automation capabilities that traditional dedicated servers do not offer.

Key Differences Between Bare Metal Cloud and Dedicated Servers

  • Bare Metal Cloud automates server provisioning, while dedicated servers require manual provisioning.
  • Bare Metal Cloud has API-driven server provisioning, infrastructure as code capabilities, as well as integrations with IaC tools, such as Terraform, Ansible, and Pulumi.
  • Accordingly, Bare Metal Cloud servers spin up in less than two minutes. On the other hand, manually setting up a dedicated server is quite time-consuming and may take from several days to weeks depending on the complexity of the configuration. 
  • With BMC and IaC tools, it is much easier to boot up identical environments.
  • Bare Metal Cloud has flexible billing options, allowing you to pay per-hour, monthly, or reserve resources in advance. Dedicated servers, however, require signing monthly or yearly contracts.
  • Although both represent single-tenant environments, Bare Metal Cloud provides easier access to the latest generation hardware. While you can upgrade existing dedicated servers, it is much more convenient to spin up a BMC instance with the required configuration in less than 120 seconds.

What is Bare Metal Cloud?

A Bare Metal Cloud server is a single-tenant, non-virtualized environment with cloud-like scaling potential. As a single-tenant environment, it uses the full potential of the server’s physical hardware. There is no “noisy neighbors” effect as in other cloud environments since all the physical resources are dedicated to your use only.

Thanks to its processing potential, Bare Metal Cloud servers deliver maximum performance. They give you control over all physical components. Therefore, you can optimize the server to fit your workloads.

A cluster of Bare Metal Cloud servers.

One of the most important features of Bare Metal Cloud is its support for automation-driven IT infrastructure. The service provides a user-friendly API and CLI that allow you to treat the infrastructure as code and sync with open-source automation tools.

PhoenixNAP Bare Metal Cloud offers readily available integrations with Terraform, Ansible, and Pulumi.

Bare Metal Cloud vs Dedicated Servers

There are several key differences between Bare Metal Cloud and dedicated servers.

  • API and CLI Support. The main features that differentiates a BMC server from a dedicated server is its API-driven provisioning. Instead of spinning up instances manually, developers can automate server provisioning.
  • Infrastructure as code support. Bare Metal Cloud enables treating infrastructure as code. Users automatically configure environments and set up the required systems and devices using IaC tools. Reusable scripts build the required infrastructure and save time. Furthermore, using reusable scripts to build infrastructure is the easiest way to ensure environment stability and consistency across the DevOps pipeline.
  • Deployment speed. Because of its integration with automation tools, you can spin up a BMC instance in under 120 seconds. On the other hand, dedicated servers require anywhere from days to weeks to set up. Having the ability to spin up instances fast is crucial when you need to scale up resources on short notice. Without IaC, the process is not only slower but also prone to errors.
  • Billing model. Bare Metal Cloud has an hourly/monthly or reservation billing model giving you the flexibility to utilize resources as needed without a long-term commitment. Therefore, you can scale your resources on-demand or reserve resources for future use. Dedicated servers have monthly and yearly payment plans that are more suitable if you require hosting resources for an extended time.
  • Access to the latest server configurations. If you require servers with the latest technology, it is convenient to find a BMC server that fits the requirement and rent it when needed. Bare Metal Cloud servers are equipped with the newest hardware and storage solutions. Dedicated servers also have the option of upgrading resources, however, the process is time consuming and expensive.

Bare Metal Cloud Use Cases

A bare metal cloud server is used when you need the hardware control and high-performance support from a single-tenant server along with cloud-like scaling potential

Popular use cases for BMC include: 

E-commerce websites

The e-commerce business has inconsistent traffic throughout the year. In most cases, the industry experiences high spikes of traffic during the holidays. That is when businesses requires more resources to handle such a workload. Bare Metal Cloud features resource reservation and hourly billing, ideal for anticipated workload bursts.

Big data processing

If you process large amounts of data constantly or periodically, BMC is the right choice. You can scale your infrastructure and spin up additional servers for data processing only when needed by reserving resources. Using BMC in such a case is the most convenient solution and the most cost-effective one, as you can pay by the hour. Once data is processed, you simply shut down the surplus Bare Metal Cloud server.

Render farms

Movie studios that use 3D animation have to set up clusters of servers for calculating computer images. These clusters are called render farms. Instead of turning a workstation into a cluster for rendering images, designers can use a Bare Metal Cloud server. Because of its flexibility, configuring the BMC as the master node is often the best option in such use cases. It can quickly spin up rendering nodes when needed to speed up the process without a long-term or costly investment.

Application development

During application development, BMC serves as an excellent environment for DevOps teams to build, test, and deploy their application. The main advantage that Bare Metal Cloud gives them is its cloud-native architecture, allowing developers to treat the infrastructure as code. Thanks to reusable scripts, developers ensure they have the same application environment throughout the development pipeline. Such a feature plays a crucial role in optimizing the CI/CD pipeline as its testing environment mirrors production.

Take a look at phoenixNAP Bare Metal Cloud's major milestones achieved in the efforts to deliver an agile infrastructure solution.

Automated Server Provisioning for Demanding Workloads

Although there are important similarities between a BMC and a dedicated server, this article underlines all the differences between the two. Understanding the key features that differentiate these server solutions is crucial when deciding which one is right for you.

If fast, automated server provisioning without long-term commitments would improve your workloads and speed up performance, Bare Metal Cloud could be the right choice for you. The traditional dedicated servers typically better fit individuals and organizations that handle less dynamic workloads and require more customization.