Kubernetes on public cloud is an adequate solution for small and medium-sized applications that have predictable scaling needs. However, bare metal cloud is the way to go for organizations that look for more control and stable performance.
Container orchestration tools facilitate software development by providing flexibility, portability, speed, and easier scaling for distributed applications. As the de facto leader in the orchestration field, Kubernetes is supported by many popular cloud vendors, who offer managed Kubernetes services.
While they provide an easy way to deploy and get started with Kubernetes, managed Kubernetes services mainly offer VM-based infrastructure. Virtual machines are convenient for the providers and, in many cases, offer good value for their customers. However, deploying Kubernetes on bare-metal servers offers several significant advantages.
Benefits of Bare Metal Kubernetes Deployment
1. Bare Metal Simplifies Network Setup and Management
Bare metal Kubernetes deployment eliminates the hypervisor that is present in VM configurations. Without a virtualization layer, setting up a network is easier.
The benefits of bare metal span across the entire development process. The lack of a virtualization layer reduces the complexity of the system, making troubleshooting easier. Managing service automation and software deployment are also easier thanks to the leaner configuration.
2. Bare Metal Servers Are More Cost-Efficient for Demanding Workloads and Applications
VM cloud instances provide a cheap solution for small and medium-sized applications that have predictable needs. On the other hand, more complex projects that require superior hardware and the ability to scale swiftly may find bare metal more cost-efficient. BM configurations tend to offer more power than their VM counterparts for the same money.
Horizontal scaling is one of the most significant selling points for Kubernetes. Bare metal configurations that simplify scaling can facilitate business growth for organizations that adopt this orchestration platform. For example, servers featuring 3rd Gen Intel Xeon scalable CPUs provide fantastic in-built scalability that simplifies infrastructure management.
3. Bare Metal Offers Better Performance
Removing the hypervisor overhead from the system configuration contributes to significant performance improvements. Applications can access CPU, RAM, and other hardware resources directly, significantly lowering latency and maximizing resource utilization.
No hypervisor tax means better performance of latency-sensitive workloads, such as vertical applications for media and finances. But it’s not just about latency – any applications and workloads that require powerful hardware benefit from direct access to bare metal. This includes GPU-intensive apps for 3D rendering and scientific and financial modeling and RAM-hungry database software.
Another factor contributing to the superior performance of bare metal compared to virtualization solutions is that VMs share hardware with other VMs on the same physical machine. A neighboring VM can drain resources, thus significantly hindering the performance. With bare metal, your Kubernetes deployment has dedicated resources at its disposal.
4. Bare Metal Configurations Are Inherently More Secure
Due to being a single-tenant environment, bare metal provides superior security. The “noisy neighbor” effect present in VM configurations has a higher risk of potential disruption. Bare metal administrators have full control of the system configuration, which decreases the risk of cyber-attacks.
Deploying Kubernetes on bare metal is strongly recommended for applications that deal with sensitive information and need to meet HIPAA, GDPR, or any other industry regulation.
5. Bare Metal Allows You to Create Configurations Optimized for Specific Workloads
VM instances are typically hosted on configurations that are designed to fit the needs of general workloads. This means that highly specific hardware configurations are rarely available. Bare metal configurations are highly customizable and can be optimized to support specific, demanding workloads.
6. Bare Metal Has No Vendor Tool Dependencies
Managed Kubernetes services offer a way to eliminate complexity related to the deployment and management of cloud-native apps. However, for organizations that need to scale out, this may present a significant obstacle. Once the company expands beyond what their managed Kubernetes service provider can offer, migrating to another solution can be very difficult due to code dependencies.
Kubernetes on bare metal gives administrators full control over the underlying hardware infrastructure. It also enables organizations to avoid vendor lock-in.
On-Premises vs. Cloud Bare Metal
Bare metal servers can be deployed on-premises, where administrators get full control of the hardware, network connectivity, and cooling. However, on-premises deployments make scaling dependent on the amount of physical space available to host the machines. Furthermore, a single location for the servers may cause performance issues in geographically distant locations.
Bare metal cloud solutions provide virtually unlimited scalability while at the same time offering dedicated servers with configurations that support scaling. The cloud aspect of BMC allows you to easily set up high-availability, fault-tolerant clusters, by creating multiple master nodes and hosting them in strategically important locations. BMC server deployment is quick and should take just a few minutes so new resources are added easily and quickly to a cluster.
Best Practices for Setting up a Bare Metal Kubernetes
To sum up, here are some quick tips for a successful Kubernetes bare metal deployment:
- Use bare metal cloud. It makes scaling easier and eliminates the need for extensive physical resources.
- Lower latency by deploying clusters in the geographical proximity of your customers.
- Use a Kubernetes controller to make infrastructure management easier.
- To create a resilient system, create smaller nodes, even if that means you will have to increase the number of nodes.
- Automate your deployments with solutions such as SUSE Rancher. Rancher is a popular open-source solution for managing Kubernetes that makes deploying clusters much easier.