services, particularly infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service, are well established, but in some cases customers demand more — more control, more access to hardware, more performance, and the ability to pick their own operating environment.

In those cases, they are looking to bare-metal services, a niche that is growing quickly.

As the name implies, bare metal means no software, just CPUs, memory, and storage. Customers provide all of the software from the operating system on up. That means a CPU, full access to the hardware, and freedom to run custom operating systems.

According to a 2016 Markets and Markets report, the bare-metal cloud market is expected to grow from $871.8 million in 2016 to $4.7 billion in 2021, at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 40.1 percent.

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