The Pros and Cons of Bare Metal Servers

The Pros and Cons of Bare Metal Servers hero image

In the rapidly evolving realm of server hosting, the term “bare metal” is gaining momentum for its distinctive approach to providing computing resources. But what precisely are bare metal servers, and how do they measure up against other popular hosting options? In this comprehensive article, we delve deep into the advantages and disadvantages of harnessing the power of bare-metal servers, empowering you to make informed decisions when selecting the most suitable hosting infrastructure for your unique needs.

Advantages of Bare Metal Servers

Unparalleled Performance and Resource Allocation

At the core of bare metal servers lies an unparalleled advantage: the ability to dedicate the entirety of hardware resources to your workload. This direct allocation translates into consistent and robust performance, making bare metal servers particularly adept at handling resource-intensive applications such as data analytics, high-performance computing, and demanding gaming platforms.

Unlike bare metal servers, virtualized environments introduce a layer of abstraction that can give rise to certain challenges. Virtualization introduces overhead due to the hypervisor, the software layer responsible for managing and allocating resources among virtual machines. While hypervisors have become increasingly efficient, they still add a layer of complexity that can impact performance compared to the direct and dedicated access provided by bare metal servers. This overhead might be negligible for less resource-intensive applications, but it becomes a critical consideration for those requiring optimal utilization of hardware resources.

Isolation and Security at Its Pinnacle

Bare metal servers elevate security by providing a level of isolation that virtualized environments struggle to match. While hypervisors do a great job at securing virtual machines, they still add another layer to the hosting that needs to be updated and kept secure.

With your application residing on its own physical hardware, the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access is significantly mitigated. This feature proves invaluable to businesses handling sensitive data, adhering to compliance regulations, or safeguarding critical intellectual property.

Customization and Control Tailored to You

The realm of bare metal is one where you’re bestowed with unparalleled customization and control. From selecting the operating system that best suits your requirements to fine-tuning the network configuration, bare metal servers grant you the autonomy to tailor the server environment to your precise specifications. This level of control proves vital for applications demanding unique configurations or specialized software stacks.

Bid Farewell to “Noisy Neighbor” Woes

One of the standout advantages of bare metal servers is the absence of the infamous “noisy neighbor” effect. Unlike virtualized environments where multiple tenants share the same physical hardware, bare metal servers ensure that your application’s performance remains steadfast and uninterrupted. This eradicates resource contention concerns that can otherwise lead to unpredictable performance drops.

The “noisy neighbor” effect is a phenomenon that occurs in virtualized environments where multiple virtual machines (VMs) share the same physical hardware resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, on a single host server. In this shared environment, if one virtual machine starts to consume an excessive amount of resources, it can adversely affect the performance of other virtual machines running on the same server.

Imagine a scenario where one virtual machine is running a resource-intensive application, for example, a database query that requires a significant amount of CPU and memory. This VM, acting as the “noisy neighbor,” can monopolize the available resources, leaving fewer resources for the other VMs that share the same physical server. As a result, these other VMs may experience slowdowns, latency, or overall degraded performance.

Disadvantages of Bare Metal Servers

Higher Initial Costs: An Investment Upfront

When it comes to costs, basic bare metal servers can be more budget-friendly than traditional dedicated servers because they lack certain management features like control panels. At InMotion Hosting, both our dedicated and basic bare metal servers share the same hardware specs, but the cost difference arises from the absence of control panel licensing fees in bare metal servers.

On the flip side, if you need special features like Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) or enhanced security measures, customizing a bare metal server will lead to higher upfront costs.

So, the choice boils down to whether you want a straightforward and cost-effective solution or if your specific needs require a more customized, albeit pricier, approach.

Limited Scalability: Challenges on the Horizon

Scaling cloud solutions is more straightforward than with bare metal servers due to the ease of resource adjustments in a cloud environment. In the cloud, system administrators can easily throttle resources such as RAM and CPU to meet changing demands. This dynamic resource allocation allows for on-the-fly adjustments without the need for physical hardware modifications.

On the other hand, with bare metal servers, updating resources like RAM and CPU involves a more intricate process. It requires the installation of new hardware components and the configuration of these components on the server. This process is inherently more time-consuming and complex, often requiring downtime for the server to undergo the necessary upgrades. In contrast, the cloud’s virtualized nature enables quick and seamless scaling by adjusting resource allocations, providing a more agile solution for businesses with fluctuating workloads.

Longer Deployment Times: Patience Required

Deploying and provisioning bare metal servers is a process that involves physical setup, resulting in longer deployment times compared to the near-instantaneous spin-up of virtual instances. This characteristic might not align with applications that demand rapid scalability or quick turnaround times.

Resource Underutilization: Peaks and Valleys

An inherent challenge with bare metal servers is the potential for resource underutilization during periods of low demand. This inefficiency can lead to suboptimal hardware usage and cost concerns. Strategic workload planning and effective load balancing can help mitigate this challenge.

Choosing the Right Use Cases

Understanding when to leverage the strengths of bare metal servers is essential. They excel in scenarios where uncompromising performance, enhanced security, and granular control are prerequisites. Industries like finance, healthcare, and gaming leverage their raw processing power, while applications with stringent compliance requirements benefit from the isolated and secure environment they offer.


As the hosting landscape continues to diversify, the decision-making process becomes increasingly intricate. Bare metal servers introduce a unique spectrum of advantages and challenges, and navigating this landscape requires a balanced approach. By meticulously evaluating the pros and cons, aligning them with your specific requirements, and factoring in the long-term benefits, you can ascertain whether the raw power and control of bare metal servers are the perfect match for your hosting ambitions.

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