“A Comparison of Physical Servers and Virtual Machines”

by | Dec 24, 2022 | Uncategorized

Over the past ten years or more, IT infrastructure has undergone a transformation. Businesses have modified how business-critical workloads are managed, provided for, and housed within the infrastructure as a result of the growth of virtualization.

With the introduction of virtualization, it is now possible to run many software programmes on a single piece of physical hardware as opposed to arranging a server’s workload 1:1, with a single workload per physical server.

Virtualization has enabled businesses to more efficiently and effectively take use of improvements in CPU processing power across all domains, as well as improvements in network, processing, and storage capacity.

However, there are some circumstances when a physical server might still be required for specific activities. Let’s look at the main differences between a virtual machine and a physical server.

How do physical servers work ?

An extremely well-known and long-standing element of the IT infrastructure is the physical server. A physical server is an item of equipment that you can touch.

One could refer to a typical server as “bare-metal.” It typically consists of all the hardware parts that make up the physical server’s chassis and enable its functionality.

An operating system can be loaded from the internal storage system, RAM, and CPU of the physical server before it is launched. It may or may not have general-purpose storage in addition to the storage needed to execute the OS.

The server is connected to you physically through the data centre. This covers storage connections, network and power connections, as well as other hardware and auxiliary gadgets.

When you consider bare-metal servers that may support a single application, they often provide the data and software needed by only one “tenant.” A tenant can be thought of as an individual customer or consumer.

A single user’s instance of software and infrastructure is represented by one tenant. Customers often have their own unique physical hardware dedicated to servicing their resources in a single-tenant system.

servers of various sorts:

Although you might think of physical servers as a piece of technology that “fits all,” there are several types, sizes, capacities, and uses that call for physical servers.

  • Tower Servers: Compared to their rackmount or modular equivalents, it is typically less expensive and less powerful. Where server racks may not be available or where there may not be another rackmount device to warrant purchasing them, they are frequently encountered in fringe or small business locations.
  • Rackmount Servers:  When you think of an enterprise data centre, standard servers come to mind. Rackmount servers are those servers, and they are housed in racks that are typical for servers.
  • Server rack HP Proliant DL580: Since they are typically able to set up or increase the capacity of the storage, compute, and network by simply placing the most recent “server blade” or “module” within the chassis of the HCI/Modular server, these servers are frequently referred to as “blade” servers or even hyper-converged forms factors.
  • Dell PowerEdge MX: Just a few of the several server kinds you can buy are those that were previously stated. The aforementioned sorts are the most typical physical forms that can be found in a company’s data centre

 What Is VMs?

The most common type of IT infrastructure employed in contemporary settings is virtual machines. Virtual machines are still in use as the technology of today’s virtualized environment, despite containers’ growing popularity.

Installing a hypervisor on top of a “bare-metal” server allows for the creation of virtual machines. Popular hypervisors today, like VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V, frequently take the method of simulating the hardware on the underlying physical server before exposing this computerised system to operating systems.

A CPU scheduler or other device that manages requests from operating systems running in guest virtual machines, which are connected to the physical CPU installed on the physical host hosting it, is often included in the hypervisor.

In terms of management, provisioning, configuration, and even automation, virtual machines have a number of advantages over physical servers. A virtual server is often set up in just a few minutes and in some circumstances, minutes, while a physical one can take weeks or days to obtain, provide, and configure the machine.

Flexibility is impossible when using real servers, but because the virtual machine is decoupled from the physical hardware, it can relocate.

When a virtual machine is running, it can be easily moved between different hosts since virtual machines are collections of shared files rather than physical hardware, which makes it simple to move them around and change who owns their computers and memory.

Physical servers are typically suited for a single consumer or tenant, as was previously indicated. By their very nature, virtual machines are better suited to multi-tenant setups, where numerous businesses may use different virtual machines located on a single physical server or group of hosts for hypervisors.

Various Types Of VMs?

The virtual machine has no actual framework that you can get your hands around. There is the theory that the VM can use “virtual hardware.”

Consider VMware vSphere as an example. You can see the virtual hardware that makes up your virtual machine when you look through the VM settings. At least one CPU, memory storage, and network will be present.

The VMware virtual machine includes virtual hardware. Beyond the virtualized hardware, there are various VM types to be aware of:

  • Persistent- Usually, VDI environments are used in conjunction with it. It speaks about a virtual machine that is neither terminated or destroyed after use.
  • Non-Persistent- primarily involving VDI setups. It refers to the features of a virtual machine (VM), which exists just momentarily and is only produced when it is required.
  • Storage with thick provisioning– By having it “zeroed” off when the VM was created, the storage for the VM is described.
  • Thin Provisioned Disks- Only when more room is required may these be cancelled out. Since you can assign virtual machines (VMs) more storage space than you can access, this enables “overprovisioning” in storage.
  • Online Appliances- OVA or VF templates can be used to deploy virtual appliances that are a part of VMware vSphere. As a result, providing an appliance is incredibly quick and easy.
  • Vipps– A vSphere concept called logical grouping enables virtual machines to be managed as a single unit.
  • Hyper Generation 1– The original VM configuration is V. The “generation” often has an impact on the VM’s features and capabilities. Unlike Generation 2 VMs, Generation 1 VMs have less capabilities.
  • Generation 2 – It is the most sophisticated VM configuration that Hyper-V offers, and it includes all of the most recent features and capabilities.

Comparison of real servers VS virtual machines:

Understanding the differences between a physical server and a virtual server requires a more thorough analysis of all of their components.


When your business is dealing with a massive amount of data that needs to be processed regularly, you should take this element into account.

Physical servers are better and more effective than virtual machines (VMs), which are more likely to experience performance problems as a result of an excess of virtual servers inside the physical system.

As a result, while having similar hardware and software resources and capabilities, a physical device and a virtual computer cannot perform at the same level. The physical server is the best choice if your company engages in activities that require computers to the fullest extent.


In terms of management, VMs are significantly simpler to handle than physically based servers. It could take several days to restore the physical server to its original state if a server crashes. With the most recent software for VM backup, the restoration procedure for virtual machines may be started with just a few clicks.

The physical server should also be thoroughly checked for flaws before use, and the driver should be installed and configured if necessary.

However, since VMs are pre-built on physical hardware and ready for use, this is different from the case with them. As a result, VMs can be created and turned on in under a minute.

However, operating a server virtualization environment calls for a great deal of knowledge and particular skills. Therefore, make sure your IT team is capable of managing the virtual infrastructure.


The mobility of physical servers and virtual servers is one of their main differences. Virtual machines (VMs) can be readily moved from one physical server to another and from one virtual environment to another.

A virtual machine (VM) is hardware independent since they are isolated from one another and have their own virtual hardware. More work is required to move the physical setup of your server.


In order to expand your physical server, you must buy pricey hardware components that might be expensive and include a time-consuming installation process. However, the environment of a virtual server enables on-demand scaling.

Multiple virtual machines (VMs) can be hosted on a single virtual server, which you can add or remove with a mouse click. The virtual environment can be scaled up or down based on how your company’s demands change over time. In this case, ensuring VM deployment does not need the acquisition of any additional hardware.

This is so that computing resources can be shared equally among all VMs running on the host, which has the same resources for all VMs. This implies that you can design a flexible environment that can handle jobs of any complexity.

capacity control:

Physical servers’ 25 percent moderate production capacity requires that they be operating at full software and hardware capacity. As a result, a sizable amount of computing resources are still in use, which is not economically advantageous.

The underutilised resources will be handled by servers hosting numerous VMs by allocating them to the VMs that need them the most. By doing this, it is possible to control capacity in the best possible way.

system restoration:

Let’s say an accident or natural disaster affects the producing plant. In that circumstance, it is essential to swiftly restore information and operations that are essential to the system in order to reduce system downtime and lessen the negative effects on the organisation.

Businesses that use physically situated servers may need to wait hours or even days to resume operations. This disaster recovery (DR) technique involves the following in this case:

  • on a real machine, adding a new server.
  • Installing an OS.
  • putting the applications together.
  • restoring important data backups.

Within virtual environments, the DR process is easier. Using previously created VM backups, the entire VM may be restored using a DR site with essentially no downtime.

Continuity in business:

Nowadays, businesses must operate continually, and even a small lapse in productivity could have significant repercussions.

Thus, one of every company’s main goals should be to ensure business continuity, especially in the event of a catastrophe.

Virtual machines (VMs) are clearly more tolerant to failure as compared to actual servers. To ensure minimal downtime in the event of a disaster, the load in your virtual environment can be moved with a few clicks to another website.

You can move your workload back to your main location once the catastrophe’s effects have been mitigated and your production centre has been rebuilt.

In general, the effects are probably irreparable if a catastrophe has damaged or destroyed the physical system of your server.


In a virtual environment, security management can be modified more easily than in a physical one. If you have physical servers, you must design security mechanisms for each one in line with its resources, computing power, and the sensitivity of the data it houses.

If the IT system you’re utilising is composed of at least 10 actual servers, this task will take a while. A broad security system, however, protects a virtual environment.

As a result, the supervisor’s dashboard can be used to design, document, and apply security rules and procedures.


An actual server’s construction and upkeep might be very expensive. This is a result of regular software and hardware updates, frequent system failures, and even the failure of expensive to maintain or replace equipment and computer components.

Virtualization, however, is the ideal choice for businesses with many of servers. By distributing computing resources among the active VMs in virtual server environments, customers can get the best performance at the lowest possible cost.

But it’s crucial to remember that software licencing for virtual machines can be highly pricey as well. Your virtual environment’s size will determine the price, which can range from $1,000 to $10,000.

How may backup and replication be used to protect your virtual machines?

As we’ve already indicated, adding third-party data security software can improve the security of your virtual machines. Backup & Replication is the ideal solution to accomplish this.

It offers replication and backup that is image-based, application-aware, and compatible with VMware, Hyper-V, and AWS EC2 environments. Numerous new capabilities that are beneficial to your virtual machines have been added to Backup & Replication. Let’s examine the features in more detail.

Benefits of replication and backup:

Smaller storage space:

Backup & Replication uses native change-tracking technologies like change-based Block Tracking (CBT) for VMware and Resilient Change Tracking (RCT) for Hyper-V to significantly reduce the amount of storage space required.

These tools let you identify the information that has changed since your most recent duplicated backup and then only add the most recent data to this backup database.

Backup & Replication makes it possible to delete swap files or partitions from VM backups. Additionally, the storage space won’t be filled to the brim with duplicate copies of data thanks to the built-in tools for data compression and deduplication.

Deduplication ensures that only significant data blocks are stored, whereas compression can shrink the size of every data block. Deduplication and compression options are automatically activated when you set up a new backup repository.

Increased data transfer speed:

In addition, Backup & Replication offers LAN-free data transmission through its Hot Add and Direct SAN Access features.

You can instal virtual machine snapshots and access virtual machine files directly through the VM datastore using the Hot Add functionality, bypassing the host’s IP/TCP stack.

You can directly access VM files stored on a SAN storage device utilising an iSCSI fibre connection by employing this mode, known as Direct SAN Access mode.

You may significantly speed up data transfers and lighten the load on your production network by using these transport types.

The network can be utilised to its fullest potential through data compression and traffic reduction to promote quicker VM recovery and accelerate replication and backup processes.

Advanced bandwidth throttling is an additional tool for accelerating data transmission. You can configure speeds for tasks executing in the virtual environment with bandwidth restrictions.

As a result, LAN/WAN bandwidth usage is reduced. Additionally, you can design several timetables for the application of throttle regulations. You can manage the network traffic with this capability.

Automated recovery from disaster:

Backup & Replication now offers Site Recovery in addition to replication and backup operations.

This DR process has been greatly simplified by the site recovery feature. With the help of this functionality, you can create workflows for site recovery that could contain a variety of occurrences and circumstances and be arranged however you choose.

This enables you to develop an automated system that depends on the DR plan and may be as complicated as you like. It is possible to design site recovery procedures that can be used in a variety of situations, including data centre transfers, scheduled failovers, emergency failovers, failure backs, and more.

Once the initial settings have been made, a site-recovery job can be finished with a few clicks. Therefore, you may focus on other issues that come up during the DR event as you won’t need to maintain track of the DR process.

The Secret to Unwavering Reliability:

An efficient data protection solution, Backup & Replication has various security-related features. Self-Backup, one of these capabilities, offers automatic security for the setups you’ve already put in place.

You can rapidly install a new copy of the program that runs Backup & Replication and then restore the configuration of your system (job settings, configurations backup history, inventory, etc.) via the self-backup if, for example, the VM running the program is damaged or deleted. Daily self-backups are performed, and the data from those backups is forwarded to the backup repository.

A snapshot verification capability that will take OS screenshots of recovered VM tests of VMs can also be enabled. This will provide you with crucial VM recovery proof needed to guarantee recovery success.

Additionally, Backup & Replication will guarantee the security of your data. It uses the widely used AES 256-bit encryption technique to safeguard virtual machine data as well as files and other data.

VM data transferred over the Internet is encrypted before being transferred thanks to Backup & Replication (encryption during flight). Encryption is used to safeguard the backup repository’s data storage repository for backups against unwanted access and hacker attacks (encryption in the rest of the data).

Conclusion of the Topic:

Although choosing between physically-based machines and virtual machines might be challenging, determining your business’ needs and objectives as well as assessing your infrastructure’s capabilities will be very beneficial. The introduction of virtualization has completely changed how companies run their operations.

While physical servers are still in use, virtualization provides several advantages and has grown significantly over time.

It is safe to say that setting up a virtual server environment offers your organisations a variety of advantages and opportunities based on the analysis presented in this blog post.

However, it would be great if you made sure to pick the server environment—whether virtual or physical servers—that is most advantageous for you and your business.

Many businesses are switching to hybrid systems because they enable the combination of the benefits of strong server hardware and virtualization.

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