What Is A Cloud Service Provider

A cloud service provider is a company or third party that provides cloud computing products and services to other businesses and individuals and charges for their services, mostly pay per user. In this article, we will learn what a cloud service provider is, what kind of services a cloud service provider provide, and who the top cloud service providers are.

Top cloud service providers Q4, 2020

Today, we are living in an era of digital and cloud transformation. Businesses are in the midst of migrating their IT infrastructure, storage, applications, databases, and data to the cloud. As a result, Cloud computing is one of the fastest-growing technologies of 2021. The global cloud services market grew by $10 billion in Q4 2020, according to a report by Canalys. In 2020, the total cloud services market grew 33% to $142 billion, fastest than other IT sector's most prominent guest players in cloud service, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud. All grew at a much faster pace than previously. As you can see from the above chart, the growth of AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud for Q4 2020 was 28%, 50%, 58%, and 54%, respectively.

These public cloud AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud are public clouds, and their owner companies are AWS Inc., Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba, respectively. These cloud companies are called cloud service providers, and their cloud services are AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud. These four are the most significant cloud service providers in the world. As you can see from the following chart, AWS leads the market share with 31% of the total cloud services market. Microsoft Azure has 20% of the market share, followed by Google Cloud and Alibaba Cloud shares 7% and 6%, respectively.

So, what exactly is a cloud service provider?

A cloud service provider is a cloud computing company that provides cloud services for other businesses and individuals.

A managed cloud service provider is a cloud service provider that not only provides cloud services for you but also manages them for you. Managing cloud services includes routine maintenance, upgrades, fixes, and other issues. Therefore, it would be best if you often had a managed cloud service provider using cloud infrastructure services such as VMs and servers. For example, if you have your own VMs in Azure cloud, that means you buy some VMs and their configurations, but in the future, it is up to you want the applications you install on them, how you configure them, and maintenance and upgrades, etc. To do so, you will need either your team or you can hire managed cloud service providers to take care of the above services.

Whose cloud is it?

When you select a cloud, do you wonder whose it is anyway? Think of the cloud as leasing IT resources from a cloud service provider, and you pay per use or based on the resources you lease from the provider. So while the applications and data hosted on cloud are yours, the cloud is still owned by the cloud service provider.

For example, if you lease a virtual machine (VM) and hard drive from Microsoft Azure, the VM, and hard drive are owned by Microsoft, but you can use them for your leasing period. However, you stop paying for the resources once you finish the lease term.

Cloud services and their types

So, what kind of services do cloud service providers provide? Here is a list of major cloud service providers that provide Microsoft Azure in this case.

Cloud services and their types

As you can see from the above list, there are more than 200 categories and thousands of services cloud service providers provide. These services include hardware servers, virtual machines, disk drives, CDN, database servers, cloud-based databases, compute services, and many more.

Cloud services are categorized into the following three categories: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. In this, “aaS” stands for “as-a-Service,” which means some other company, a third party, provides resources as a service. As a service often means, you pay as you contract for or lease or use.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

You can buy the entire infrastructure as a service. That means you can move your existing IT into a cloud and have your physical and virtual servers hosted in the cloud and managed by your team, the service provider, or both. In IaaS, you get an IT infrastructure setup that includes computers, servers, networking, storage, and virtualization. You end up managing operating systems, installation and licensing, data, middleware, applications, and routine maintenance and upgrades.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

In PaaS cloud service, in addition to hardware machines, VMs, networking, and storage, you will also get operating systems, middleware, runtime, and licensing upgrades. All you’re responsible for is applications and data.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

In the SaaS offering, you use existing applications online and pay-per-use and subscription services. The cloud service provider manages everything, including the application and data. Examples of SaaS applications are Microsoft Office 365, Teams, and Azure SQL.

Why do you need a managed cloud service provider?

It would be best if you often had a managed cloud service provider when you do not have full-time IT resources. IT resources (cloud admin, architect, support engineer) can be costly. The purpose of cloud computing is to reduce the cost of full-time IT resources, hardware, servers, and maintenance. A cloud costs you based on usage.

What if you do not have full-time IT resources but need help from someone to manage your cloud resources, such as VMs, databases, and storage? You can hire a managed cloud service provider that can charge you for the time they spend on your work. In addition, the managed cloud service provider ensures that your cloud services are running smoothly.

There are three types of clouds – public, private, and hybrid. A public cloud is hosted and managed by a cloud service provider and available to the public. The most popular public clouds (or cloud companies) are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Here is a list of the Top 10 Cloud Service Providers in 2021.

A private cloud is when the cloud hardware and services are leased from a cloud service provider but hosted on-premises by a company. For example, you can get an Azure stack and host Azure hardware within your company’s network. This type of cloud is available to private networks only. This is good for companies not wanting to put their data on public clouds.

The third type of cloud is the hybrid cloud, a combination of public and private clouds. You may need a hybrid cloud because some of the services and apps you may want to deploy in the public cloud, and some you may want to deploy in a private cloud.

Top cloud service providers

There are dozens of popular cloud service providers, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba, IBM, Oracle, and several others. More aIn addition, large corporations are building their own private and public clouds. But if we must look at the top cloud service providers, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are the top 3 leading. AWS and Azure are the only public clouds that are considered to be complete.

Here is a list of the Top 10 Cloud Service Providers in 2021.

How to choose a cloud service provider

So, how do you know which cloud service provider is best for you? Here are some points to consider when choosing a cloud service provider.

  1. Cloud service type
  2. Capabilities and product offerings
  3. Technical expertise
  4. Cost
  5. Security and Compliance
  6. Support
  7. Location

Continue reading: How to Choose the Best Cloud Service Provider for Your Business.


In this article, we learned about cloud service providers and understood what a cloud service provider is and who is the top cloud service provider.

In my next article, let us look at how to choose a cloud service provider.

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