What are cloud service providers?

Cloud service providers are companies that establish public clouds, manage private clouds, or offer on-demand cloud computing components (also known as cloud computing services) like Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service(SaaS). Cloud services can reduce business process costs when compared to on-premise IT. These clouds aren’t usually deployed as a standalone infrastructure solution, but rather as part of a hybrid cloud.

Using a cloud provider is a helpful way to access computing services that you would otherwise have to provide on your own, such as:

  • Infrastructure: The foundation of every computing environment. This infrastructure could include networks, database services, data management, data storage (known in this context as cloud storage), servers (cloud is the basis for serverless computing), and virtualization.
  • Platforms: The tools needed to create and deploy applications. These platforms could include operating systems like Linux®, middleware, and runtime environments.
  • Software: Ready-to-use applications. This software could be custom or standard applications provided by independent service providers.

Public cloud providers virtualize their own infrastructure, platforms, or applications from the hardware they own, and then pool all that into data lakes that they orchestrate with management and automation software before transmitting it across the internet to their end-users.

Managed private cloud

Also known as managed cloud service providers, private cloud providers serve customers a private cloud that’s deployed, configured, and managed by someone other than the customer. It’s a cloud delivery option that helps enterprises with understaffed or underskilled IT teams provide better private cloud services and cloud infrastructure to users.

There are a handful of well-known, major public cloud companies—such as Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and Microsoft Azure—but there are also hundreds of other cloud computing providers all over the world.

The Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program includes hundreds of cloud, system integrator, and managed service providers—along with software developers and hardware manufacturers—you can use to run Red Hat products, host physical and virtual machines, and set up private and public cloud environments.

The best cloud for your enterprise depends on your business needs, the size of your business, your current computing platform and IT infrastructure, and what your goals are for the future—among other things.

For example, the first thing you might do is evaluate whether using a particular cloud provider aligns with your enterprise strategy.

If it does, the next step is to verify what services you’ll need from your cloud to support this strategy—what cloud technologies will you be able to handle within your enterprise, and which should be delegated to a cloud service provider?

Having infrastructure, platforms, or software that is managed for you can free your business to serve your clients, be more efficient in overall operations, and allow more time to look into improving or expanding your development operations (DevOps).

Many public cloud providers have a set of standard support contracts that include validating active software subscriptions, resolving issues, maintaining security, and deploying patches. Managed cloud providers’ support could be relegated to simple cloud administration or it can serve the needs of an entire IT department.

After verifying your cloud provider starts with Linux, here are some steps to help determine which provider is right for you.


The resources, platforms, and services public cloud providers supply are usually charged by the hour or byte—meaning they can fluctuate based on how much you use. Managed private clouds might include more fixed contracts tied to individual contractors or cloud admins, with only minor spikes when enterprise activity increases.


Major public cloud providers give you data access from nearly anywhere in the world, but regional providers may help you comply with data sovereignty regulations. Support staff that’s close to your data centre means it will be easier for them to maintain the physical infrastructure holding up your cloud.


There are certain innate risks that come with not owning or managing the systems that house enterprise information, services, and functions. Hire and partner with trustworthy people and organizations who understand the complexities of your unique security risks and compliance requirements.


Many public cloud providers guarantee certain uptimes—like 99.9%. There are also various service-level agreements that dictate change requests and service restoration. Managed private cloud providers’ reliability mirrors that of public cloud providers, but it may be tied to the condition of the physical hardware your cloud runs on.

Technical specifications

The right public cloud provider should be certified to run operating systems, storage, middleware, and management systems that integrate with your existing systems. Every contractor’s skill set is unique. Verify that each individual has the training and certification necessary to manage your cloud appropriately.

Becoming a cloud provider is as simple as setting up a cloud and letting someone else use it. There are other constraints to consider—security, routes of access, self-service, and more—but letting someone else use the cloud is the fundamental concept of being a cloud provider.

Becoming a cloud provider can also be more effective when your environments are certified to run the products customers already use in their datacenters. That’s the premise of the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program.

Because making the decision to add a public cloud is difficult enough. Once you’ve made that decision, you shouldn’t have to worry whether or not the operating system your applications rely on will work as expected once you get there.

That’s why we created the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program. More than 800 cloud providers will help you get to the public cloud. And you can rest easy knowing that Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat JBoss Middleware will run as they should, giving you a consistent foundation that’s connected across all environments.

If you want to deploy some type of cloud to improve your business but are worried about moving existing apps, aren’t sure if you should take a tiered approach, or don’t know how deep shadow IT is embedded across the enterprise, our experienced teams can help you establish a plan.

We help you develop a roadmap to take you from where you are to where you want to be. You get direct support from engineering, support, and product management—a cross-functional approach to make sure people, processes, and technologies are aligned.