A cloud service provider (also called a cloud provider or Cloud SP) is
|“||a person, an organization; it is the entity responsible for making a service available to interested parties. A Cloud Provider acquires and manages the computing infrastructure required for providing the services, runs the cloud software that provides the services, and makes arrangement to deliver the cloud services to the Cloud Consumers through network access.||”|
|“||[a] government or commercial entity that has offers cloud services to external organizations.||”|
For SaaS, the cloud provider deploys, configures, maintains, and updates the operation of the software applications on a cloud infrastructure. The SaaS cloud provider is mostly responsible for managing the applications, security, and the cloud infrastructure, while the SaaS cloud consumer has limited administrative control of the applications.
For PaaS, the cloud service provider manages the computing infrastructure for the platform and runs the cloud software that provides the components of the platform, such as runtime software execution stack, databases, and other middleware components. The PaaS cloud service provider typically also supports the development, deployment, and management process of the PaaS cloud consumer by providing tools such as integrated development environments (IDEs), development versions of cloud software, software development kits (SDKs), and deployment and management tools. The PaaS cloud consumer has control over the applications and possibly over some of the hosting environment settings, but has no or limited access to the infrastructure underlying the platform such as network, servers, operating systems (OSs), or storage.
For IaaS, the cloud service provider acquires the physical computing resources underlying the service, including the servers, networks, storage, and hosting infrastructure. The cloud service provider runs the cloud software necessary to render the necessary computing resources to the IaaS cloud consumer through a set of service interfaces and computing resource abstractions, such as virtual machines and virtual network interfaces. In return, the IaaS cloud consumer uses these computing resources, such as a virtual computer, for fundamental computing needs. Compared to SaaS and PaaS consumers, an IaaS consumer has access to more fundamental forms of computing resources and thus has control over more software components in an application stack, including the OS.
The IaaS cloud service provider, on the other hand, has control over the physical hardware and cloud software that make the provisioning of these infrastructure services possible, for example, the physical servers, network equipment, storage devices, host OS, and hypervisor software for virtualization.
- NIST Special Publication 500-293, at 20-21.