Bare metal server hosting (also called single-tenant server hosting or dedicated server hosting) is a physical server dedicated to one tenant. The main benefits of bare metal server hosting are more computing power and more control over server specifications.
Bare metal servers are typically used by companies that need to support a lot of users on their applications or have specific, intensive bandwidth and latency requirements. For example:
Web hosting providers
VPN (Virtual Private Network) applications
CDN (Content Delivery Network) applications
Virtual instances running on VMWare
The alternative is a virtualized server (sometimes casually referred to as “cloud server hosting”, although it should be noted that bare metal hosting is also technically cloud hosting) where a single physical server has multiple tenants managed by a hypervisor (i.e. software that creates and runs virtual machines).
In this post, we go into more detail on the benefits of bare metal server hosting over using a virtualized server.
The Benefits of Bare Metal Server Hosting (vs. Virtual Servers)
All bare metal server hosting has the following benefits:
Direct, physical access to the hardware (metal) provides faster response times. With virtual servers, the hypervisor separates your operating system from the server, creating additional lag. Bare metal does away with the hypervisor which results in faster communication between the server and OS.
No hypervisor updates mean potentially less downtime. Often in virtualized environments, the hypervisor running the virtualized environment will need to be updated. If the application isn’t architected correctly, it may suffer downtime. While you still have to architect your application correctly for redundancy in a Bare Metal environment (to avoid hardware failure for instance), you don’t have to worry about any underlying software supporting your workload.
As the only user on the server, you won’t have the ‘noisy neighbor’ effect. A ‘noisy neighbor’ is a co-tenant that monopolizes bandwidth, disk I/O, CPU, GPU and other server resources. This can negatively affect the performance of other tenants’ applications. If you’re the only user, all server resources will go towards your application alone.
Your application is more secure. Not only do you get to decide the specifics for security features using bare metal servers, you’re also the only one with access to the server. Even though virtual servers take extra precautions to protect individual users, they can’t completely mitigate security risks that come with multi-tenant use. Having full control makes it easier for you to stay compliant with state and federal regulations.
You can choose specific hardware resources. With virtual servers, you won’t have predictability over server specs (e.g. CPU, disk I/O, etc.). Your application could be shuffled around between different hypervisors (to install updates on the hypervisor, for example), and your customers could experience significant performance degradation if it’s switched to an underperforming hypervisor or storage. With bare metal servers, you are given an immutable piece of hardware.
Containers can be deployed faster and will run more efficiently. According to this article, running containers on bare metal servers delivers up to 30% greater compute and I/O performance, and resource utilization is at 90% (as opposed to 15% on virtual servers). You won't have to worry about debugging virtual machines or virtual machine overhead (i.e. the cost and storage space). You can cut your infrastructure in half using containers on bare metal, and your application will run the same regardless of where they’re deployed.
All of the benefits mentioned above are true for all bare metal servers — but only to a degree. As we discuss below, how effective each of the benefits are depends on your provider and factors such as customer service, network connections, and more.
Next, we’ll compare six different bare metal server hosting providers starting with our service, Latitude.sh.
Latitude.sh's Bare Metal Server Hosting
Latitude.sh is solely dedicated to offering bare metal servers with the best performance (unlike other providers that split their attention between bare metal servers, virtual servers, managed databases, storage and many other cloud services).
Here’s how we do it.
Low Latency: Strategic Locations and Network Control
Latency has to do with how far geographically the data has to travel and how quickly you can switch between networks when there's an issue.
Data Center Locations
Latitude.sh data center locations as of 2021
Our servers are located near highly populated cities — São Paulo, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, New York, Santiago, Sydney, Tokyo, and London — to reduce latency caused by the physical distance the data has to travel. Not only are these cities close to a high percentage of consumers, but there are also several network connections from these cities to less populated areas.
Additionally, we provide servers in unique locations such as Santiago and Mexico City. Most providers in areas such as these are local providers that don’t offer servers in other locations. With Latitude.sh, you can reach many different areas of the world with only one provider — namely the United States, Central America, South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific.
Direct Control over the Network
Latitude.sh servers connect directly with Tier 1 service providers via our own ASN (autonomous system number that routes data to the network).
If there’s a problem with the connection between the server and the network provider, running our own ASN and network infrastructure means we can fix the connection much quicker.
Other bare metal providers may use third-party service providers (i.e. they use the network infrastructure of the data center they are getting colocation services from, so they don’t have much control over it). If they have their own ASN, they might connect to Tier 2 and 3 providers (which then connect to Tier 1 providers), meaning multiple service providers are between you and your user. Each service provider between the server and your user creates latency.
Note: This tool lets you test latency between any of our data centers and the end-user.
Latitude.sh also connects to multiple networks for higher reliability. For example, if your user is having a latency issue with a particular network, you will automatically be switched to another network.
Server-Application Fit: New Hardware and Custom configurations
Other bare metal hosting providers usually use hardware that is two to four generations old. This may seem like a good deal from a cost perspective, but causes several issues for their customers:
The servers process less data and are less energy efficient because of outdated CPU, memory, and hard drives.
It will be more difficult to stay in compliance with company requirements and government regulations because of outdated security features.
Downtime due to hardware issues may take longer to fix because replacement parts are hard to find.
You may run into compatibility issues with your software application or OS.
At Latitude.sh, we bring in up-to-date and consistent hardware to our locations.
The server specifications (i.e. cores, GHz, memory, and disks) for instant deployment servers stay the same at each location so that you can provide a consistent online experience for all of your customers — regardless of location.
We keep our servers current by updating them before they start having the same problems as the older generations mentioned above.
Newer servers also mean you have faster CPUs, faster memory, storage that is less prone to fail, and fewer technical failures.
Note: For more information on Latitude.sh server specs, visit our pricing web page.
If our instant deployment servers don’t meet the exact CPU, memory, or storage requirements of your project, you also have the option to customize the servers and the network through our Custom Deployments.
Custom Deployments in Less than Four Weeks
Latitude.sh servers can be running globally in 10 minutes for instant deployment or in two to four weeks for custom deployments.
Instant deployment is self-service (meaning you can choose from a list of available, existing servers and operating systems) for quick and easy deployment. You can also use our Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) to install a specific OS version that isn’t offered through the self-service dashboard.
We offer helpful articles that walk you through connecting to the IPMI. Or, you can reach out to our customer support for help at any time.
Custom deployment is handled entirely by Latitude.sh staff. Because we bring in our equipment (rather than buying from local vendors), we know all the importation processes and government regulations of each location. We use this knowledge to make your custom deployments quick, easy, and cost-effective.
We set up your infrastructure according to your specifications, then you have full control to set up the OS and application through the client dashboard. Whether you choose instant or custom deployments, Latitude.sh servers are easily scalable.
In the next section, we cover how our dashboard works and the details of our on-site and remote customer support.
Fix Issues Quickly with Easy-to-use Dashboard and 24/7 Service
When something goes wrong, you need to be able to fix it yourself or be able to quickly reach someone else who can fix it right away.
Friendly Dashboard and Extensive API
Most bare metal server providers offer dashboards that either let you open a support ticket to fix problems or manage billing that combines all servers into one invoice — and that’s about it.
Latitude.sh has a fast, clean dashboard that lets you differentiate your servers according to Teams and Projects. This lets you keep billing methods for various organizations distinct.
For example, one of our customers has two teams: B2B and B2C. Each team has multiple projects that represent different clients. This way they know exactly what to charge each of those clients without trying to figure it out themselves.
The Latitude.sh dashboard also offers opportunities to manage the server directly by connecting through the IPMI. You can access your server’s IPMI through the browser or CLI which allows you to manage your server even if it’s off or unresponsive.
Latitude.sh automatically shares your bandwidth quota across all of your servers within the same project and region. Unlike other providers, this bandwidth pooling means you don’t have to monitor servers individually to see how much bandwidth has been used. Bandwidth is only pooled for servers in the same region and project because pricing for bandwidth differs between regions.
Within the dashboard, you can view bandwidth usage for the project as a whole or for individual servers. When viewing project bandwidth, you will see a separate chart for each region that has servers connected to that project. Each chart will show you inbound and outbound bandwidth for the time period you select.
Latitude.sh provides detailed DDoS attack reports. All servers are equipped with standard DDoS protection with the option to upgrade to DDos Protection Pro. Reports include details on incoming attacks including type, time, and region of the attack.
Here are a few more tools Latitude.sh offers to make managing your servers quick and easy:
SSH keys so you can control and modify your servers remotely (available for any Linux or macOS user).
Power management so you can turn your server on or off and control reboots.
IP management so you can request additional IP addresses.
Fast Onsite Maintenance
Most bare metal server providers rent their infrastructure and therefore have to rely on third-party maintenance staff to fix hardware issues. This often causes long delays between noticing an issue and actually fixing it.
Because we own our infrastructure, there is Latitude.sh staff on hand at every location. They’re able to immediately run diagnostics on the hardware or make custom physical network connections. They’re also readily available to make custom deployments go faster and assist with any other hardware-related issue.
Specialized 24/7 Customer Service
Latitude.sh customer service is available 24/7 — even on holidays. Our customer service team is specifically trained in bare metal server hosting and will answer tickets in 15 minutes or less (all requests get answered in parallel, so no request gets delayed or ignored).
Most other providers offer other services in addition to bare metal (e.g. Managed Servers, Cloud Computing, Colocation, CDN, Shared Hosting, etc.) with only one support team to answer all questions. This means their attention is split in many directions making it difficult for them to gain a comprehensive understanding of bare metal servers.
Get High Bandwidth with Transparent Pricing
While many cloud hosting providers will charge you for inbound and outbound traffic on top of a base fee, Latitude.sh provides all inbound traffic and the first 20TB of outbound traffic at no additional cost.
As we mentioned earlier, this bandwidth is pooled across servers within the same project and region. This makes Latitude.sh bare metal server hosting much more cost-effective.
*Taken from the public pricing page of each provider. The graph considers range discounts and free tiers.
Note: To see how our bandwidth prices compare against the competition, visit this page.
Additionally, ‘lock-in’ features are common among cloud hosting providers. These lock-in features are often sold as ‘additional services’ that make your life easier but also make the cost of switching to another vendor very costly.
For example, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is an add-on feature that lets you manage your database in the cloud and automates repetitive tasks such as patching and backups. The cost of removing this from your workflow in terms of employee time and effort can be so costly that you avoid switching to a different provider — even if you decide another provider is better for your application.
This article discusses how the cloud can be cheaper for companies early on, but eventually — as bandwidth and load increases — there comes a point where the cloud becomes more expensive than bare metal server hosting. Once you’ve reached this point, it can be very difficult (and costly) to switch to bare metal server hosting.
By providing unmanaged bare metal servers (meaning you control the OS and apps), there aren’t any ‘lock-in’ features with Latitude.sh servers and scaling is cost-effective long-term.
Get a Bare Metal Server Running in 10 Minutes with Latitude.sh
Latitude.sh gives you everything you need to deploy and manage single-tenant, high-performance bare metal servers.
If you are used to VMs, Latitude.sh will make you feel right at home — but with a lot more computing power. Pre-built configurations can be deployed in 10 minutes and customized setups in two to four weeks.