Understanding Bare Metal-as-a-Service

Bare Metal-as-a-Service (BMaaS) leverages automation technology to increase the operational efficiency of on-site data centers. Sometimes called metal-as-a-service (MAAS), this technology allows a vendor to deploy bare metal resources directly to your on-site data center. 

BMaaS enables organizations to experience all the benefits of bare metal IT infrastructure with the scalability, agility, and convenience of the cloud.

Bare Metal-as-a-Service, by definition, leverages the pooling of bare metal resources to streamline the efficiency of an organization’s data center. A controlling software platform allows a third-party vendor to automatically provision servers within the resource pool. Once a customer no longer needs those resources, the servers are automatically released back into the resource pool to be used again.

This server architecture works well for big data use cases and high-traffic scenarios that struggle with latency or lag issues. In these instances, companies enjoy bare metal server advantages like cost reductions, flexibility, and scalability. However, disadvantages like the noisy neighbor issue and security risks that arise from the incomplete isolation of resources also come with the territory.

Now that you understand what Bare Metal-as-a-Service is, let’s take an in-depth look at how it works. 

Provisioning

The provisioning process for BMaaS typically starts with you submitting a request to the BMaaS provider. The request will include the server type, the amount of resources you need, and the server’s location. The BMaaS provider will then provision the bare metal server and install the operating system (OS). Once the provider installs the operating system, you can connect to the bare metal server and configure it for your specific needs.

Configuration

The configuration process typically involves installing software, configuring security settings, and setting up networking. The software you install will depend on your specific needs. For example, if you are deploying a web application, you will need to install a web server and a database. You must also configure security settings to protect your server from unauthorized access. Finally, you will need to set up networking so your server can communicate with other servers and the internet.

Deployment

The deployment process for BMaaS typically involves using a containerization platform, such as Docker or Kubernetes, or deploying your applications directly to the bare metal server. If you are using a containerization platform, you will need to create containers for your applications and then deploy those containers to the bare metal server. If you are deploying your applications directly to the bare metal server, you will need to copy the application files to the server and then configure the application to run.

Management

The management process for BMaaS typically involves monitoring the server, performing updates, and troubleshooting problems. You will need to monitor the server to ensure it performs as expected and is not under attack. You will also need to update the operating system and software on the server. Finally, you may need to troubleshoot problems if they occur.

So, what is Bare Metal-as-a-Service going to do to transform your business? Here are a few key areas where organizations can expect to see improvements after implementing BMaaS. 

Performance

When we compare bare metal vs virtual server hosting, bare metal offers significantly more performance benefits. Naturally, those benefits translate to Bare Metal-as-a-Service. They include:

  • Higher throughput and lower latency — BMaaS servers are dedicated to a single customer, so there is no resource contention with other tenants, creating a higher throughput and lower latency environment for applications.
  • Improved performance for resource-intensive applications — BMaaS servers offer more CPU, memory, and storage resources than traditional virtual machines. This makes them ideal for running resource-intensive applications such as high-performance computing (HPC), big data analytics, and real-time applications.
  • More predictable performance — Other tenants don’t affect BMaaS servers, so you can be confident that your applications will perform consistently. This is important for mission-critical applications and applications that require high availability.
  • Greater control over the hardware and software — With BMaaS, you have complete control over the hardware and software on your server. This allows you to optimize your server for your specific needs and applications.

Security

BMaaS architecture affords companies greater security in several ways. The nature of BMaaS servers isolates them, meaning customers don’t need to share resources with a provider’s other customers. That alone greatly increases the security and reliability of BMaaS hosting, as it limits hackers’ entry points into the system. Further, these isolated environments help prevent attackers from moving too far laterally once inside the system. 

But there are more security features to consider with BMaaS infrastructure. 

Bare metal-as-a-service also offers businesses more control. Since you’re operating in a dedicated environment, you can configure hardware or OS parameters to improve security measures. And all these added features exist on top of the natural BMaaS security features like firewalls, intrusion detection, and data encryption.

Compliance

BMaaS providers can help you to comply with industry regulations. This is particularly important for businesses that handle sensitive data. Some of the ways BMaaS can aid your compliance efforts include:

  • Dedicated resources — Complying with strict regulatory standards, such as PCI DSS for companies that handle credit card transactions or HIPAA for health care providers, is much easier in an isolated environment. No data sharing and physical isolation mean fewer access points for hackers and less chance of a data breach or significant system corruption. 
  • Full control — With BMaaS, you have complete control over the hardware and software on your server. This means you can install your own security software and configure your server to your specific needs. This aids in your compliance efforts with regulations requiring specific security measures. An example would be a company that contracts with government agencies and must meet Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) standards.
  • Compliance reporting BMaaS providers typically offer compliance reporting, which can help you track your compliance with industry regulations. Managers can use these reports to demonstrate compliance to auditors, regulators, and key company stakeholders.

It may help to look at real-world use cases to better understand how Bare Metal-as-a-Service can help businesses perform better. Here are a few popular ways industries around the globe implement BMaaS. 

High-Performance Computing (HPC)

Bare Metal-as-a-Service’s inherent setup makes it a good fit for high-performance computing (HPC) applications. Its dedicated resources and isolation lend to high performance and increased security. Any organization that requires HPC capabilities will also benefit from a bare metal environment’s increased control and security.

Let’s take a look at some specific examples of how HPC leverages BMaaS:

  • Climate research — The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) uses BMaaS to run its supercomputer, Cheyenne, which simulates climate change and other atmospheric phenomena.
  • Drug discovery — Pharmaceutical companies use HPC to run simulations of drug molecules. These simulations can help identify new drugs and improve the safety and effectiveness of existing drugs.
  • Financial modeling — Banks and other financial institutions use HPC to run complex financial models. These models can help predict market trends to inform better investment decisions.
  • Scientific research — Universities and research institutions use HPC to simulate complex physical systems. These simulations can help advance our understanding of the universe and develop new technologies.

Mission-Critical Applications

Bare Metal-as-a-Service is a fit for mission-critical applications since these applications typically can’t afford downtime. Mission-critical apps benefit from all the traditional advantages of BMaaS, like increased control, security, and scalability. But mission-critical apps also benefit from the high availability of bare metal server environments.

BMaaS servers exist in data centers with plentiful, redundant power and network resources. This setup prevents server failure and downtime and ensures the availability of your “must-have” applications. 

Web Hosting

Bare Metal-as-Service can benefit high-traffic websites that depend on a high level of performance with all its standard features (dedicated resources, isolation, control, etc.). Rather than reiterate them here, let’s explore some specific examples of how high-traffic websites use BMaaS for hosting:

  • eCommerce websites — eCommerce websites must handle a lot of concurrent requests, especially during peak shopping seasons. BMaaS helps these websites handle the load without experiencing performance degradation.
  • Media streaming websites — Media streaming websites need to be able to deliver high-quality video and audio content to users. BMaaS can help these websites deliver content without buffering or lag.
  • Gaming websites — Gaming websites must provide a smooth and responsive experience to users. Developers can leverage the dedicated resources and isolated environment of BMaaS to deliver an enjoyable, reliable, and lag-free gaming experience.
  • Content delivery networks (CDNs) — CDNs deliver content to users from servers that are located close to them. They improve the performance of websites and applications worldwide by storing cached content to increase page load speeds. Using BMaaS to host CDNs can help improve the performance of high-traffic websites.

Bare Metal-as-a-Service has been increasing in popularity in recent years for a number of reasons. Its flexibility, control, performance, security, scalability, and cost-effectiveness offer businesses exciting possibilities. But, like most server infrastructure, you must implement it properly to avoid any drawbacks or adverse effects.

Our decades of hosting experience here at Liquid Web position us perfectly to partner with you to implement BMaaS for your own infrastructure. Take a tour of our cloud bare metal servers to help you bring the power of dedicated server hosting to your business.

For any other questions — or to learn more, in general — contact us today to learn more and let our team of The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting™ find the perfect solution for you and your team. 

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