A bare-metal server is a physical machine which lives inside a data centre. It’s a place where you’ll host your games matches and sessions. Whereas a cloud server is a virtual server which runs in a cloud computing environment.
Why use bare-metal servers?
Bare-metal servers are sturdy and have a lot of power behind them. They offer a lot more performance for heavier, more intensive games. If you have a complicated game which processes a lot of data, then bare metal is a much safer bet, and can be more cost effective.
What pitfalls can you expect?
If your players fluctuate a lot, this is where bare metal comes second to cloud. It hasn’t got the best scaling environment, which can be an issue for unexpected traffic or spikes. Keep in mind, this only happens if you don’t have enough machines ready to meet the sudden demand.
They are sometimes called ‘dedicated servers’
In both instances (so either bare-metal or dedicated), they both describe having one tenant and one machine type – meaning each physical server will only have one customer using it. While in cloud, multiple customers could be using the same machine, but each in their own virtual environment.