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May 5, 2023

What is Cloud Management vs. Bare Metal Server Management?

Table of Contents

Key takeaway

There are a variety of options for managing and deploying computing resources. Among these, cloud management and bare metal server management are both excellent choices. In this blog, we will explore the differences between these two management systems, their advantages and disadvantages, and factors to consider when making a decision about what to use.

What is Cloud Management?

Cloud management is a critical component of modern computing infrastructure. It refers to the administration of computing, storage, and networking resources hosted on a remote infrastructure. This type of management system enables businesses to deploy, monitor, and control applications and data in a virtual environment. With cloud management, businesses can take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of cloud computing without having to worry about managing the underlying infrastructure.

Cloud management primarily involves infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) offerings. IaaS provides businesses with access to virtualized computing resources, such as servers, storage, and networking components. PaaS provides developers with a platform for building, testing, and deploying applications. Finally, SaaS provides businesses with access to software applications that are hosted on the cloud and can be accessed through a web browser or other client applications.

What is Serverless Architecture?

Serverless architecture is a type of cloud management in which developers build and run applications without the need to manage the underlying infrastructure. This approach is gaining popularity because it allows developers to focus on building features and functionalities rather than worrying about the underlying infrastructure. The cloud provider takes care of scaling, maintaining, and patching the servers, allowing developers to focus on building new products and features. This results in faster development cycles and lower operational costs.

Serverless architecture is particularly useful for applications that have unpredictable traffic patterns or require rapid scaling. With a serverless architecture, businesses can take advantage of the elasticity of cloud computing for scalability. This approach to cloud computing is also well-suited for microservices architectures, where applications are broken down into small, independent components that can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently.

What is a Bare Metal Server?

Bare metal servers are physical computer servers that are not shared with other tenants. Also known as a single-tenant server, organizations can choose to own these servers and manage them in their data center or rent them from a service provider. As a result, this style of hosting doesn’t allow for virtualization. However, users have total control over the server’s performance, storage, and scalability since they own the physical machine.

Understanding the Difference between Cloud Management and Bare Metal Server Management

Given their varying characteristics, it's essential to understand the fundamental differences between these two management systems. While there is some feature overlap, the key distinction lies in the degree of control and responsibility placed on the user. Let's dive further into these categories.

Resource Control

One of the most important factors is the level of control you require over your system resources. Cloud management provides a hands-off approach to managing infrastructure, allowing for greater flexibility and ease of use. The cloud vendor is responsible for managing and maintaining the infrastructure.

Bare metal server management, on the other hand, requires a deeper level of involvement in resource allocation and hardware maintenance, which may be appealing to users who value customization and control. If you need full control over your hardware and want to manage it yourself, bare metal server management might be your best option. This type of management allows you to customize your hardware and software to meet your specific needs, which can be especially important for businesses with unique requirements.


If your business values flexibility, scalability, and pay-as-you-go pricing models, cloud management may be the ideal choice. Cloud management allows you to easily scale your resources up or down as needed, without having to worry about managing the hardware yourself. This can be especially useful for businesses that experience fluctuations in demand, as it allows you to quickly adjust your resources to meet changing needs.

Application Types

Another important factor to consider is the type of applications you run. If you run applications that require low latency and high performance, bare metal server management may be the better option. This is because bare metal servers typically offer higher performance than cloud servers, which can be important for applications that require fast processing speeds.

However, if your applications are less performance-critical and you value flexibility and scalability, cloud management may be a better fit. Cloud platforms are designed to be highly scalable, which means you can easily add or remove resources as needed to meet changing demands. Additionally, many cloud providers offer a range of services and tools that can help you manage your applications more efficiently, such as load balancers, auto-scaling, and monitoring tools.

What to Consider When Deciding Between Cloud Management and Bare Metal Server Management

Ultimately, the choice between cloud management and bare metal server management will depend on your unique needs and requirements. It's important to carefully evaluate your options and consider all the factors important to your business before making a decision. To weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each system, several factors need to be considered:

  1. Cost: Consider the pricing model of each service, including subscription fees, hardware expenses, and any hidden costs that may be associated with the selected management system.
  2. Scalability: Evaluate the flexibility of each system in terms of resource allocation, response to rapid changes in workload demand, and the ability to expand or reduce capacity quickly.
  3. Control: Determine the level of control you desire over the computing environment, from managing hardware resources to customizing configurations and software stack.
  4. Security: Assess the security measures provided by each management system, including compliance, data protection, and data-at-rest encryption.
  5. Performance: Examine the potential impact of each system on application performance and latency, especially for mission-critical software that requires maximum uptime and minimal response times.

Advantages of Cloud Management over Bare Metal Server Management

Cloud management offers several noticeable advantages over its bare metal server counterpart:

  1. Ease of management: The cloud provider handles infrastructure maintenance, reducing the administrative burden on your IT team.
  2. Scalability: Cloud services allow for seamless scaling of resources in response to evolving business needs.
  3. Cost savings: Cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go pricing models, eliminating the need for upfront investments in expensive hardware.
  4. Availability and redundancy: Cloud providers ensure high availability through redundancy measures, reducing the risk of data loss during outages.
  5. Innovation: Cloud management allows for faster innovation by providing access to the latest technologies and services.

Disadvantages of Bare Metal Server Management

Likewise, there are several disadvantages to using bare metal server management:

  1. Less scalability: Scaling resources may require manual intervention and additional investments in hardware to accommodate growth.
  2. Higher management overhead: You're responsible for handling hardware maintenance, software updates, and other administrative tasks.
  3. Greater cost commitment: Initial hardware costs and ongoing maintenance expenses may be higher than the costs of a cloud-based solution.
  4. Increased risk of downtime: With no built-in redundancy, bare metal servers are more vulnerable to outages that could lead to data loss or interrupted service.

Understanding Storage and Performance Capabilities of Each System

Storage and performance capabilities frequently become a deciding factor for businesses. Cloud management offers nearly unlimited storage options, allowing for easy expansion as your needs grow. However, in some cases, data sharing between virtual systems may introduce latency issues that can affect application performance. Conversely, bare metal servers provide raw, unshared resources, leading to improved performance and reliability for high-demand applications.

In conclusion, cloud management and bare metal server management each have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on your individual requirements and preferences. By understanding their core differences, weighing their pros and cons, and considering your unique requirements, you can make an informed decision to support your business technology strategy.

A Software Delivery Platform for DevOps Processes

Cloud management and serverless architecture are two critical components of modern computing infrastructure. Cloud management enables businesses to deploy, monitor, and control applications and data in a virtual environment, while serverless architecture allows developers to build and run applications without the need to manage the underlying infrastructure. By leveraging these technologies, businesses can take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of cloud computing, while reducing operational costs and accelerating development cycles.

Harness is the industry’s first Software Delivery Platform to use AI to simplify your DevOps processes - CI, CD & GitOps, Feature Flags, Cloud Costs, and much more. Learn how Harness can help your organization move faster to meet end-use demands by increasing velocity while improving the reliability, governance, and efficiency of your applications. Learn more today!

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