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A bare-metal server is a physical computer server that is used by one consumer, or tenant, only. Each server offered for rental is a distinct physical piece of hardware that is a functional server on its own. They are not virtual servers running in multiple pieces of shared hardware.
The term is used for distinguishing between servers that can host multiple tenants and which use virtualisation and cloud hosting. Unlike bare-metal servers, cloud servers are shared between multiple tenants. Each bare-metal server may run any amount of work for a user, or have multiple simultaneous users, but they are dedicated entirely to the entity who is renting them.