Illustration detailing the relationship between Hivelocity, the cloud, and bare metal

As more organizations seek an alternative to the outrageous data egress fees and inherent risks of the cloud, many forward-thinking companies are turning to dedicated server hardware and bare metal clouds as their digital infrastructure solution. With increased processing power, improved reliability, greater customization opportunities, and thousands of dollars in potential savings, bare metal offers the best of both worlds: cloud-like convenience plus the dependability of dedicated hardware.

But what really is a bare metal cloud? Is it that different from public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud? Is “bare metal” just the next buzzword?

In this article we’ll analyze bare metal as it compares to more traditional cloud infrastructure, take an in-depth look at its many benefits, and help you build your case for making the move to a bare metal cloud solution with Hivelocity.

Bare Metal Cloud vs. Public & Private Cloud

To understand the performance and cost benefits of a bare metal cloud compared to more traditional cloud solutions, it’s essential to first understand the differences between public cloud, private cloud, and a bare metal cloud operating with dedicated server hardware.

Bare metal offers the best of both worlds: cloud-like convenience plus the dependability of dedicated hardware.

What is the Public Cloud?

The public cloud, otherwise known as “the cloud”, is a digital infrastructure solution that utilizes public internet lines to move and store data for users around the world. Emphasizing scalability and convenience, the cloud’s decentralized infrastructure allows for ease-of-access to crucial data, leading to highly collaborative working environments across vast physical distances. Regardless of location, users around the world can simultaneously access and edit data, ensuring an organization’s critical applications are always available.

But while the cloud has many immediate advantages, as those who have come to rely on it will often tell you, it has its disadvantages as well. This is especially true when it comes to security, performance, and long-term cost.

In reality, the cloud is just a newer version of shared hosting. Utilizing massive, hyperscale data centers, services like AWS and Azure build their cloud infrastructure over networks of interconnected servers. These dedicated servers act as pooled resources which are then partitioned into virtual machines (VMs) and sold to customers as cloud instances. Because these VMs represent only fractions of the actual dedicated servers powering them, their performance is limited and their security isn’t as tight as non-internet-based solutions. Users can increase their system’s performance by adding more VMs, but as their reliance on the cloud grows, the cost of their data transfer grows as well. In the end, these data transfer fees can cost organizations thousands of dollars each month.

As costs skyrocket, many businesses seek out alternatives to the public cloud. It’s only then that too many realize they’re stuck. With their company’s infrastructure built entirely with proprietary software, it can become incredibly time-consuming and expensive for an organization to switch from one cloud provider to another. This leads to vendor lock-in, the concept that a company is too reliant on its service provider to even have the option to leave.

The end result? Many organizations find themselves forced to stay with the cloud, even as it proves increasingly expensive, their larger business decisions now guided by the financial consequences of their digital infrastructure.

So, what’s the solution?

What is Private Cloud?

Rows of server cages standing inside a Hivelocity data center

For many, the most compelling alternative to the public cloud is a private cloud solution. Like the public cloud, private cloud solutions are built from networks of interconnected dedicated servers sharing resources and linked via the internet. The key difference is, rather than utilizing public internet to connect these devices, a private cloud is linked together with a single organization’s, or group of organizations’, internal network. In other words, rather than a loose network of servers supporting thousands of unassociated users across the world, private clouds are operated independently by organizations for the exclusive usage of their own members. This leads to greater control and much higher security.

In this way, private cloud networks offer users the same system-wide benefits as the public cloud while minimizing its downsides. In return for a higher initial investment, organizations can reduce external risks by keeping their data secure within a controlled environment.

Now, private cloud still has its drawbacks. Managing a private network requires a higher degree of technical skill than simply signing up with a public cloud provider. Depending on existing in-house resources, your organization may already have an IT department capable of handling this. For those that don’t, it’s an important extra consideration.

Additionally, unless your organization already owns a significant number of dedicated servers, the process of building your private cloud network from the ground up is financially equivalent to constructing your own data center. For these reasons, making the switch to a private cloud can have a large financial impact on your organization’s IT budget, depending on what resources you already have available.

So, if a public cloud and private cloud are really only differentiated by the networks they run on, then what’s a bare metal cloud?

What is Bare Metal?

At its core, a bare metal cloud is a single-tenant hosting solution powered by dedicated server hardware. With their own RAM and CPU, dedicated servers offer users a more powerful, stable, and customizable solution than the public cloud. Choose your preferred operating system, install any desired applications, and utilize your entire server’s resources as needed.

At the end of the day, any hosting package you use is actually a form of dedicated server hosting. Whether it’s shared web hosting, virtual private servers, or one of the major public cloud solutions, all these hosting methods are utilizing dedicated server resources to power their processes. The difference comes down to how much access you, the user, have to the underlying hardware.

Dedicated servers offer users a more powerful, stable, and customizable solution than the public cloud.

Need 100% of your system’s RAM for a resource-intensive application? Want to emphasize system efficiency for running processes seamlessly? Storing large volumes of private customer payment information?

When you own the entire server, you retain control over all this and more. Why limit yourself? If a cloud instance is just a fragmented piece of a dedicated server, why pay for a partial hosting solution when you can improve your system’s power, security, and reliability, just by taking control of the full machine?

But what do these advantages really look like? Is bare metal right for every user and organization? Most importantly, is bare metal right for your business?

The Benefits of Bare Metal Hardware

Close up photo os a server with blinking lights

There are a multitude of benefits associated with dedicated servers and bare metal clouds, ranging from higher processing power to tighter security and long-term savings. In the sections below, we’ll cover these advantages in-depth and demonstrate how a bare metal cloud solution from Hivelocity can help bring financial predictability and system-wide reliability back to your digital infrastructure.

Increased Power

Increased processing power is the most immediate benefit of bare metal hardware. When it comes to CPU-intensive processes, nothing can beat the computational speed of a dedicated server. After all, if a shared instance is only a fraction of the system’s total resources, wouldn’t access to the entire system automatically prove more powerful?

As a result of this increased processing power, dedicated servers complete tasks and queries more quickly than non-dedicated solutions. The faster your system can sort through large volumes of data, the better your customers’ user experience and the more likely they will remain loyal to your brand.

Therefore, dedicated servers not only keep companies more competitive, they also remove barriers to future growth opportunities, ensuring your organization is never limited by its digital infrastructure.

Greater Reliability

When it comes to bare metal, reliability means two things:

  1. First, reliability means the predictability of knowing your applications and instances will consistently run as intended. When you control 100% of the available resources, you avoid the risks of overlap inherent to a multi-user environment. This allows administrators to build hyper-precise systems with focused, intentional resource usage.
  2. Second, reliability also means trust. It’s knowing your system will be up and running when you and your customers need it, supported by a world-class network and a team of hosting industry veterans. Hyperscale data facilities like those used by the public cloud, aren’t focused on maintaining 100% uptime; it’s a numbers game to them. At Hivelocity, we provide exceptional service every time. Backed by our 99.99% Uptime Guarantee, you can rest easy knowing your data is in the hands of true industry experts.

Higher Security

Whether it’s meeting strict data regulations required for HIPAA and PCI compliance, or simply taking a proactive approach to data security to minimize risk, a dedicated server solution offers unbeatable protection against external threats. After all, when you control the machine, you control its security. You decide which forms of software and hardware firewalls are implemented and who has access to what. You choose who, if anyone, shares that digital space with you, and maintain control over what traffic you want coming in and out.

With cyber-attacks growing more frequent and data leaks occurring constantly, your customers want protection, not excuses. The fact is, premium security solutions are more important than ever.

Improved Flexibility

Row after row of stacked servers inside a data center

Anything that can be done on the cloud can be done on a dedicated server: it’s just a matter of having the right tools. Better yet, dedicated server solutions allow administrators the freedom to use the specific software they prefer, from the operating system to every application installed.

Prefer a certain virtual machine manager? Need a custom combination of VM and containerization? Prefer Windows-based solutions rather than running Linux?

With a private dedicated server, you control everything. Build your system the way you want and make updates or changes as desired to ensure your infrastructure remains cutting-edge. Hivelocity’s non-proprietary, open-source solutions, let you retain full control over your system: decide which 3rd party applications to utilize, automate your infrastructure with IaC tools like Terraform, and remain free from the trappings of vendor lock-in.

More Affordable

One of the biggest selling points of the cloud is its purported affordability. While the upfront investment of a dedicated server hosting solution can certainly prove more expensive than signing on with a public cloud offering like AWS, it doesn’t take long for hidden costs and outrageous data egress fees to tip the scales back in bare metal’s favor. The truth is, the potential savings of switching to bare metal are massive. Depending on the volume of data your organization is using on a monthly basis, you could be saving thousands of dollars every month by switching to a dedicated server hosting solution.

Curious to see what you could be saving? Read on for a side-by-side comparison of data egress fees between Hivelocity and the big three public cloud providers, as well as a few crucial customer testimonials from organizations who have saved thousands by making the switch to bare metal hardware.

Who Benefits the Most from Bare Metal?

As demonstrated above, there are many benefits to bare metal. While the initial upfront cost of a bare metal cloud may serve as a barrier to entry, the fact remains that these premium solutions have become increasingly necessary investments for enterprise-scale operations or those businesses looking to grow. Depending on the size of your organization, the volume of data you move on a monthly basis, and your intended growth trajectory, a bare metal dedicated server solution may be exactly what your organization needs to achieve its technical and fiscal objectives.

Any organization that prioritizes growth, security, and financial predictability, will benefit from using dedicated server hardware.

But what do these companies look like? Who stands to see the most benefit from bare metal?

When looking at companies with the greatest potential for savings by switching to bare metal, those who utilize or produce resource-intensive software, especially those within the Infrastructure as a Solution (IaaS) and Software as a Solution (SaaS) spaces, are some of the first that come to mind. For these companies especially, the bandwidth costs of running their services through the public cloud can accumulate quickly. If your company utilizes virtual reality, augmented reality, or artificial intelligence technologies, chances are you’re paying a lot for the cloud services necessary to run these resource-intensive tools.

But let’s say your company works in the media & entertainment industry, providing streaming services or competitive gaming experiences for users around the world. Not only do these types of services move massive amounts of data, but they do so in an environment where every millisecond of latency can put their customer’s loyalty at risk. When fast buffering times and decreased lag mean the difference between success and financial ruin, it’s imperative you place your company in the hands of a service provider you trust.

Alternatively, let’s say your organization is a hosting provider managing shared hosting instances for your customers. The more powerful and reliable your service provider is, the better the experience will be for your customers and the more likely you are to see large-scale growth. This is true of those in the retail space as well, both traditional brick-and-mortar establishments as well as large e-commerce shops.

The fact is, any organization that prioritizes growth, security, and financial predictability, will benefit from using dedicated server hardware. Scale or upgrade on your schedule, build the ideal system for your organization’s specific needs, and do it all while saving thousands of dollars on your monthly bill.

Sounds too good to be true? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Saving Thousands with Bare Metal

Hivelocity mug on a desk next to someone typing on their laptop

At first glance, it seems impossible that a dedicated server solution could be more affordable than the public cloud. After all, with package deals and rotating sign up bonuses, you can practically start using the cloud for free. Spin up an instance in minutes, access it from anywhere, and do it all for pennies: it’s part of what makes it so enticing.

The reality is though, the “affordability of the cloud” is a calculated illusion. We cover this in-depth in our article, Is Your Cloud Too Expensive?, where we show a side-by-side comparison of data egress fees charged through AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, but for the sake of convenience, we’ve copied the table from that article into the space below:

ProviderInbound Data Transfer3,000GB Out9,000GB Out15,000GB Out 30,000GB Out150,000GB Out
HivelocityFree*included w/ server price*included w/ server price*included w/ server price$100/mo*$1,300/mo*
AWSNot Free$268/month$808/month$1,457/month$2,859/month$12,410/month
AzureNot Free$260.57/month$782.56/month$1,285.53/month$2,530.53/month$11,206.13/month
Google CloudNot Free$237.49/month$712.46/month$1,112.84/month$2,020.88/month$9,285.20/month

*pricing per GB may vary by location

As you can see in the table above, the true cost of the public cloud isn’t in partitioning instances: it’s in moving data. If you’re a customer of AWS moving 150TB of data each month, your organization could be paying over $12,000 a month in additional fees on top of your expected costs. That same amount of data egress with Hivelocity would only cost you $1,300 a month. That’s thousands of dollars every month, tens of thousands of dollars every year you might be wasting.

The true cost of the public cloud isn’t in partitioning instances: it’s in moving data.

But this is just an extreme example, right? Surely there aren’t actual users out there moving that much data and paying that much in overage fees?

The truth is these users are a lot more common than you think. Just ask Vince Albanese, a Hivelocity customer of over 15 years who saves $15,000 a month with his hybrid cloud dedicated server solution. Or Robbie Byrd, owner and operator of the not-for-profit 9/11 in Realtime project, who was forced to shut down his AWS-hosted website after two days of data egress resulted in a $10,000 bill. Just talk to fleet management SaaS provider Fleetistics, who cut costs by over 25% by moving off Azure’s cloud and switching to Hivelocity’s bare metal. Or artificial intelligence pioneers Klink AI, who are saving 500% by running a bare metal kubernetes-based solution instead of AWS.

These customers aren’t rare. At Hivelocity we meet users and organizations like these every day: businesses making the switch to bare metal and saving hundreds of thousands as a result. Who’s to say your organization couldn’t be saving thousands too?

Making the Switch: Hybrid Cloud

Let’s just say what everyone is thinking: large-scale data migrations and infrastructure shifts are massive undertakings. The time, money, and human resources needed to pull off a successful migration can put a strain on even the most well-funded IT department. There’s a reason companies don’t switch their digital infrastructure more than they have to. The associated risks are large and the work involved can be huge. But that’s exactly what makes hybrid cloud such an enticing solution for more and more companies.

Similar to bare metal, a hybrid cloud is a cloud hosting solution that utilizes custom combinations of public cloud services and dedicated server hardware to create highly specialized environments. These hybrid clouds are built to utilize the best of both solutions allowing users to keep the public cloud services they find most useful while cutting out the rest. By offloading onto bare metal any processes which require high computational power or those most responsible for negative financial impacts, companies can improve output while reducing costs.

Hybrid cloud allows organizations to start small, offloading data and processes one server at a time until the perfect balance is achieved.

Best of all, because hybrid cloud solutions use a mix of technologies, they act as an ideal entry point for organizations considering the switch to bare metal. Simply assess which parts of your public cloud solution are the most essential and trim the fat on the resource-extensive processes draining your budget. At Hivelocity our dedicated server solutions start at less than $100 a month and can be upgraded as needed, allowing you to test the potential for a hybrid cloud solution with minimal financial risk.

In this way, hybrid cloud allows organizations to start small, offloading data and processes one server at a time until the perfect balance is achieved. Along the way you might find that an all bare metal solution is the best fit for your organization or alternatively a blended, hybrid solution may prove the best means of meeting your company’s specific goals and needs.

Either way, when the potential monthly savings could save you thousands of dollars, hybrid cloud offers a simple, affordable means of testing these advantages in a low risk, high reward environment.

So, Is Bare Metal Right for Your Business?

A Hivelocity employee inserting a server into a rack of servers

As with everything in life, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to hosting. Depending on your organization’s size, data usage, and growth trajectory, your ideal infrastructure solution may involve parts of public cloud, hybrid cloud, or bare metal in different degrees. The key is to remember that savings and performance improvement opportunities are always out there. Whether you drop the cloud entirely or augment your cloud services with bare metal hardware, your business could be one of the many in a position to save thousands on your monthly IT bill by making the switch to a bare metal cloud solution.

So if your organization relies on the cloud in any capacity, if you utilize or have ever considered resource-intensive applications like AI, or if you’ve ever looked at your hosting bill and thought “that’s just too high,” consider making the switch to Hivelocity. We’re in the business of helping others succeed. We can help you too.

Come see what the Hivelocity difference means for your organization. Call or chat now.

– Sean Kelly

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