What is a Dedicated Server?
A Bare Metal server also known as a dedicated server is a physical computer in a datacentre that is allocated to one customer, with each one able to configure and manage the server to match their specific needs. Unlike virtual servers, which share the underlying hardware with other virtual servers, a dedicated server exclusively delivers all of its memory, processor and storage resources to a single customer.
Dedicated servers do not run a hypervisor so the customer has complete access to the full performance and hardware capacity of the server, and they can use it for any purpose. This includes hosting their own virtual servers or virtual machines, while safe in the knowledge that the server's performance cannot be affected by other users of the datacentre.
Advantages of dedicated Bare Metal servers
Users of dedicated servers don’t share their resources, which means that the underlying hardware is only used for workloads allocated by the user. Virtual servers share the hardware, which means that if one or more virtual servers experience a huge spike in traffic, it will affect the performance of other virtual servers on the same hypervisor.
When the Bare Metal server is dedicated to one user, they are able to customize it. From the operating system, the processors, the number of cores, the GPU, the RAM, the type of hard drive and more. If the workloads require specific hardware or software, then a dedicated server can deliver.
Hypervisors are secure but they still share the hardware with other virtual servers and they share the hypervisor layer. Any configurations or coding errors could make the virtual server vulnerable. Dedicated servers avoid all these potential threats because they are not shared.
Disadvantages of Bare Metal servers
Bare Metal servers dedicate all their resources to one user, whether that user utilizes all those resources or not, they still cost money. This makes dedicated servers far more expensive than virtual servers, where the costs are shared between several users.
Bare Metal servers are controlled by the user. To make use of a dedicated server the user needs sufficient technical knowledge to now only configure it, set up the applications and software, technical knowledge is also required to ensure the specifications match the requirements of the workload.
Dedicated server usage
Dedicated servers provide customers with complete control over the applications and services they can run and are commonly used to build the backbone of most large companies’ IT infrastructures.
Typically, dedicated servers are required to build private networks and database services, as these types of applications require special tools that cannot run on virtual servers.
Dedicated servers provide maximum performance and control
Dedicated servers are usually based on high-end components, use high bandwidth connections and advanced network and security features. Using the dedicated server model, companies can meet specific performance, security, and compliance requirements. Customers that have built their infrastructure using dedicated servers are able to change configurations and add customisations that would be impossible in a virtual server environment.
Companies can use dedicated servers to build their own private cloud that stretches over geographic boundaries. This means if an organisation wanted to build an application that provided local content in different cities around the world, it would be able to provision dedicated servers located in datacentres close to its target cities, and then connect them all together. This would allow users of that application to access relevant information from their local server, minimising latency while providing the best possible user experience.
Service level agreements (SLAs) and support
SLAs are the contracts that cloud providers offer customers to indicate the guaranteed uptime and availability of their infrastructure. Different cloud providers offer varying SLAs for their server offerings, but dedicated servers generally come with higher guaranteed service levels than virtual servers. Dedicated servers also attract higher levels of support than virtual servers.
Do I need a dedicated server for my website?
When choosing a server to host a website or web application, customers have a choice of sharing hardware resources with other users, called shared hosting, or reserving the entire server for their own use which is, in effect, hosting on a dedicated server.
Shared hosting is popular because it’s less expensive than hosting on a dedicated Bare Metal server. Generally, several applications and/or websites can happily share one server without any performance issues. However, if one or more of the websites suddenly experiences a huge spike in traffic, it can hog a larger proportion of the shared server’s resources and affect the performance for all users. Dedicated hosting avoids this problem because the hardware resources are exclusive to each user.
Dedicated Bare Metal server hosting - your choice
Customers deciding whether a dedicated server or shared hosting is right for them need to consider the importance of the workloads being processed. For example, if a small company is running a website to advertise its services, then shared hosting will most likely suffice. However, if a mid-sized or large company is looking for somewhere to host its critical e-commerce application or database, a dedicated server will provide more stability and reliability.
Dedicated server vs managed server
A managed server is a dedicated server that is managed by the datacentre provider. This solution is ideal for organisations that require the performance and security of dedicated servers but don’t want the overhead of managing and maintaining hardware resources themselves.
The advantage of managed servers is that customers get access to a dedicated server, or a cluster of servers, which means performance and security are not affected by other people using the same servers in the cloud provider’s datacentre. Businesses can use managed servers to deploy their web applications without having to worry about the management and maintenance of the underlying hardware.
What’s the difference between a dedicated server and a cloud server?
Dedicated servers are located in a specific datacentre and customers can choose exactly where they want that server, and their data, to be located. Cloud servers offer less granular control to the customer and their physical location is decided by the cloud provider. If an organisation needs to comply with government regulations that dictate where certain data must be stored, then they need to use a dedicated server rather than a cloud server.
Dedicated server use cases
The high performance, customisation and reliability of dedicated servers makes them popular among mid–large sized organisations for a range of applications. From building a global content delivery infrastructure to running a busy database, dedicated servers are one of the most powerful tools used by the modern digital enterprise.
Security and compliance
There are always risks associated with shared cloud environments. It’s not always possible to guarantee exactly where data is located, which is unacceptable for organisations that must comply with government regulations. Server configuration errors can cause security vulnerabilities or performance issues that could impact the bottom line of a digital business.
With a dedicated server, your organisation has exclusive access to the server and controls –including everything from the version of operating system to the choice of applications and who has administrator access. Dedicated servers provide the most secure and reliable foundation for companies that require complete control over their infrastructure.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and data science
Organisations are producing more data than ever. With the massive increase in the use of IoT sensors, artificial intelligence, data analysis systems and high-definition video, the demand for processing power has never been higher.
AI/ML workloads are resource intensive. They process vast data sets from a diverse range of sources using different types of media. Crunching numbers using sophisticated mathematical models requires the highest possible levels of performance, and different workloads or input sources can require customised hardware to operate at peak efficiency.
Dedicated servers are ideal for use in ML and data analysis workloads as they provide the highest possible performance; they can be configured with specialist components – such as additional GPUs for number crunching – and are delivered over high bandwidth connections.
Enterprise application hosting
Large companies run a variety of applications that are critical to maintain their business operations. These can include ERP, CRM, accounting systems and many more. These systems require many resources and usually contain data that is highly sensitive. In many cases, especially in finance or healthcare, companies will want to ensure data is stored in a specific geographic region.
Basic business applications like this need to run reliably and be accessible to staff and authorised third parties wherever they may be physically located. This makes it vital that they are hosted on an infrastructure that they can control completely.
Dedicated servers are a popular choice for large organisations looking for a reliable, high-performance infrastructure where they have complete control.
High Performance Computing (HPC)
High performance computing workloads demand the absolute best of the best when it comes to processors, memory, storage, and bandwidth. HPC projects used to only be accessible to government departments and research organisations with extremely deep pockets but advances in processor, storage, and networking technologies have opened HPC to the masses.
Games render high-definition animations for multiple users. They are required to create detailed 3D models and update them up to 60 times a second for players who could be in different countries – and all of this in real time, where even a few milliseconds of delay can put players at a disadvantage.
Gaming servers require the fastest possible processors and minimum possible latency. Gamers are also commonly targeted for DDoS attacks, so they require the best possible protection.
OVHcloud offers dedicated servers designed specifically for gaming. Using the AMD Ryzen platform, our game servers provide the ultimate gaming experience with 1Gbps bandwidth, anti-DDoS protection, backup storage space and a 99.9% SLA.
OVHcloud and dedicated servers
At OVHcloud you can choose from a wide range of dedicated servers. In most cases we can deliver your dedicated server in 120 seconds with unlimited bandwidth, comprehensive security, the best possible performance and a 99.95% SLA.
We work with hardware manufacturers, storage vendors and chip makers to provide cutting-edge components for our range of OVHcloud dedicated servers. Therefore, OVHcloud can offer a diverse range of configurations, with AMD or Intel processors, a choice of GPUs, SSD NVMe and SATA hard drives, RAID options, and up to 50Gbps of private bandwidth.
Our affordable dedicated servers are completely configurable using the OVHcloud Control Panel or OVHcloud API, which allows customers to choose their required operating systems, databases and virtualisation tools.