Guide to Bare-Metal-as-a-Service Providers

Searching for an infrastructure provider that offers bare metal as a service? This guide breaks BMaaS providers down by category.

Christopher Tozzi, Technology Analyst

April 11, 2024

5 Min Read
server room with racks and servers

If you want to host workloads on bare-metal servers but don't want to purchase and manage those servers yourself, there's a solution: bare metal as a service, or BMaaS. BMaaS providers offer physical servers that you can deploy and use on-demand, without having to set them up yourself or manage the hardware. And when you're done, you can simply turn off the server and stop paying.

But given that BMaaS is a less popular solution than cloud-based virtual servers, finding bare-metal-as-a-service providers can be tricky. Keep reading for a look at the top BMaaS platforms available today, along with tips on selecting the right BMaaS for your needs.

Why BMaaS?

Before comparing bare-metal-as-a-service providers, let's talk about why you should (or shouldn't) use BMaaS in the first place.

The main advantages of BMaaS include:

  • Performance: Your workloads can access bare-metal hardware resources, such as GPUs, which can boost performance in some cases. This is part of the reason why bare-metal servers have become a popular solution for AI training, for example.

  • Control: Although not all BMaaS providers offer the same level of control over server configurations (some give you more control over networking settings than others, for example), you'll almost always have more flexibility than you'd get when running cloud-based virtual machines.

  • Simplicity: With bare metal as a service, you don't need to deploy or manage physical server hardware, which can be taxing for IT teams.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Most BMaaS providers charge you only for what you use (although some offer committed-use pricing, which gives you a discount in exchange for an agreement to run a server for a set period of time). That means that, in general, you don't have to worry about paying for server capacity that you don't need.

Related:Bare-Metal Cloud Servers vs. Bare Metal in a Private Data Center

To be sure, BMaaS isn't always the right solution. Bare-metal server instances almost always cost more than virtual servers, so if you don't have a specific need for bare metal, stick with virtual machines. And if you will be using bare-metal hardware for extended periods, you may be better off setting up your own on-prem servers, rather than using a BMaaS provider.

Bare-Metal-as-a-Service Providers for 2024

Here's a guide on where to look if you're searching for an infrastructure provider that offers bare metal as a service. Rather than attempting to list each specific BMaaS vendor — which would undoubtedly result in some vendors being left off our list — we'll break BMaaS providers down by category.

Related:Four Strategies to Meet Changing Demands on Your Data Center Infrastructure

The big public clouds

Each of the Big Three public cloud providers — Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform — offers some bare-metal server instances as part of their infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) services.

In general, you'll get fewer bare-metal server configuration options and less control from one of these providers than you would from an IaaS vendor that specializes in bare-metal servers. However, if you already use one (or more) of the Big Three clouds for other workloads and your bare-metal server needs are small in scope, it may make sense to launch bare-metal servers alongside the VMs you already have running, rather than adding another IaaS provider to your mix.

Alternative cloud providers

Many so-called alternative cloud providers also offer bare-metal server instances alongside virtual machines. Unlike the Big Three clouds, however, alternative clouds tend to make bare-metal servers more of a priority. Some, like Vultr, feature it as a chief product. Others, such as IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud, don't exactly specialize in Bare metal as a service, but they place more emphasis on their offerings in this vein than AWS, Azure, and GCP.

Colocation providers

Some data center colocation companies, such as Rackspace, Equinix, and a variety of regional data center providers, offer bare-metal-as-a-service solutions inside their data centers.

These BMaaS services tend to be pricier than those from cloud providers, but they also typically offer the greatest degree of control over server configurations. They tend to offer more data center locations than cloud providers, too, making it easier to place workloads in a geographical location ideally suited to your needs.

Managed Kubernetes and OpenStack providers

In certain cases, managed Kubernetes and/or OpenStack vendors, such as Mirantis, offer bare-metal hosting options.

Opting for one of these solutions means you must run your workloads on whichever platform — Kubernetes or OpenStack — the vendor supports. You also typically don't have as much control over the underlying servers because the vendors are not selling IaaS as much as a managed software platform running on top of IaaS. But if you just want to stand up a Kubernetes or OpenStack environment on top of bare-metal hardware without deploying the hardware yourself, this is a viable option.


There are many ways to obtain bare-metal-as-a-service offerings today. The best option for you depends on factors like which IaaS platforms you're already using for other purposes, how much control you need over your servers, and what your budget is. Renting bare-metal server instances from a major public cloud vendor is often the easiest path to BMaaS, but alternative cloud providers, colocation companies, and managed platform vendors provide bare-metal server options that you can't typically find in the larger public clouds.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Technology Analyst, Fixate.IO

Christopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” was published by MIT Press.

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