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Deploying Kubernetes on physical servers is recommended for organizations that are looking for new opportunities in infrastructure management. Let’s take a look at 6 reasons to try K8s on dedicated servers. 

Kubernetes in the public cloud is the right solution for small to medium sized applications that have predictable scaling needs. However, the bare metal cloud is the way to go for organizations looking for more control and consistent performance.

Container orchestration tools make software development easier by providing flexibility, device-to-device portability, good speed, and ease of scaling for distributed applications. As the de facto leader in orchestration, Kubernetes is backed by many popular cloud providers.

Although managed Kubernetes services provided by various service providers provide a simple mechanism for deploying and getting started, they primarily operate on top of a virtualized infrastructure. Virtual machines are convenient for providers and in most cases provide a good quality experience for their customers. However, it is worth noting that deploying Kubernetes on regular servers also provides several significant benefits.

Benefits of deploying Kubernetes on bare metal

1. Physical server simplifies the network setup and management process

Deploying Kubernetes on a physical server eliminates the hypervisor required to run virtual machines. Without a virtualization layer, network setup is greatly simplified.

The benefits of a dedicated server extend to the entire development process. The absence of a virtualization layer simplifies system management and troubleshooting. Plus, with fewer settings, the process of automating and deploying software is also much easier.

2. Bare metal servers are the most cost-effective for resource-intensive applications

Cloud VM options are a low cost solution for small to medium sized applications with basic needs. On the other hand, for more complex projects that require powerful hardware and the ability to scale quickly, the use of dedicated servers may be more cost-effective. BM configurations of such servers usually offer more power for the same money than their virtual counterparts.

Horizontal scaling is one of the most prominent benefits of Kubernetes. Dedicated server configurations that support scalability can also help grow organizations using this orchestration platform. For example, servers with 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Scalable processors provide fantastic built-in scalability, simplifying infrastructure management.

3. Bare metal provides better performance

Removing the hypervisor from the system configuration improves performance significantly. Applications can now access the CPU, RAM, and other hardware resources directly, greatly reducing latency and maximizing resource utilization.

The absence of a hypervisor means better performance for latency-sensitive applications such as media or financial applications.

It’s worth noting that it’s not just about latency – any applications and workloads that require powerful hardware benefit from direct access to server resources. These include GPU-intensive applications for 3D rendering, scientific and financial modeling, and memory-intensive database software.

Another factor that sets physical servers apart from virtual solutions is hardware sharing. One virtual machine can use the resources of another, which greatly reduces performance. By using separate servers, your Kubernetes will have full access to all dedicated resources.

4. Bare Metal configurations are more secure

Because this environment is designed for one primary client, physical servers provide superior security. The “noisy neighbor” effect present in virtual machine configurations has a higher risk of potential hacking. Physical server administrators have full control over system configuration, which reduces the potential risk of cyber attacks.

Deploying Kubernetes on bare metal is highly recommended for applications that deal with sensitive information and must comply with HIPAA, GDPR or any other industry regulations.

5. Bare metal allows you to optimize your configuration based on your workload

Virtual Machine Instances are typically used in configurations designed to meet the needs of shared workloads. This means that highly specialized hardware configurations are quite rare. Physical server configurations, in turn, are highly customizable and can be optimized to support any specific workload.

6. Bare Metal is vendor independent

Services that provide Kubernetes as a service help eliminate the complexity associated with deploying and managing cloud applications. However, for organizations that plan to expand, this can be a major hurdle. Once a company grows beyond what a Kubernetes service provider can offer, switching to another solution can become very problematic due to code dependencies on the infrastructure.

Kubernetes on a dedicated server gives administrators full control over the underlying hardware infrastructure. It is this approach that allows organizations to avoid being tied to a vendor/vendor.

On-Premises or Cloud Bare metal

Physical servers can be deployed locally (On-Premises), meaning administrators have full control over hardware, networking, and cooling. However, with On-Premises deployment, scaling is directly dependent on the amount of physical space available to accommodate devices. Also, locating servers in one location can cause performance issues in geographically dispersed locations.

Bare Metal cloud solutions, in turn, provide virtually unlimited scalability while offering dedicated servers with scalable configurations. The cloud approach makes it easy to set up high-availability failover clusters by creating multiple master nodes and placing them in strategic locations. Deploying a server in this case should take only a few minutes, and new resources are added to the cluster easily and quickly.

Guidelines for setting up bare metal Kubernetes

To summarize, here are a few quick tips for successfully deploying Kubernetes on a bare metal server:

  • Use bare metal cloud. This facilitates scaling and eliminates the need to find new resources.
  • Reduce latency by deploying clusters in close proximity to your customers
  • Use a Kubernetes Controller to Simplify Infrastructure Management
  • Keep your nodes small to create a robust system, even if that means you have to increase the number of nodes overall
  • Automate your deployments with solutions like SUSE Rancher. Rancher is a popular open source Kubernetes management platform that greatly simplifies the deployment of clusters.