Cloud computing and the top 10 cloud service providers delivering these services, have brought fundamental changes to the market backdrop of IT infrastructure globally. Public cloud service providers are facilitating the inherent efficiencies of distributed cloud computing, which is enabling innovative software applications and platforms to be built, while simultaneously enhancing information security and privacy controls. As such, it is critical to understand each leading cloud service provider, as well as their varying strategies.
As a whole, the top 10 cloud service providers globally in 2023 are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Alibaba Cloud, Oracle Cloud, IBM Cloud (Kyndryl), Tencent Cloud, OVHcloud, DigitalOcean, and Linode (owned by Akamai).
Dgtl Infra’s analysis focuses largely on the public cloud service providers, as opposed to private cloud technology (e.g., VMware). In addition to reviewing the top 10 cloud service providers globally, we evaluate their market share, identify smaller providers (e.g., Vultr), define the term cloud service providers, determine the 5 main benefits of cloud computing, as well as recognize which cloud service provider is the cheapest.
Top 10 Cloud Service Providers
The top 10 cloud service providers globally in 2023 are ranked in the following table, which includes the number of regions and availability zones that each vendor possesses:
|#||Cloud Service Provider||Regions||Availability Zones|
|1||Amazon Web Services (AWS)||26||84|
|3||Google Cloud Platform (GCP)||34||103|
|6||IBM Cloud (Kyndryl)||11||29|
Additionally, all of the top 10 cloud service providers are outlined in greater detail below:
1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing service of Amazon.com, is the largest cloud service provider globally. From its data centers, the business provides over 200 fully featured services including compute, storage, and database.
AWS currently has 26 regions and 84 availability zones in operation. These regions and availability zones are located throughout the United States, AWS GovCloud (US), Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, as well as in the Middle East & Africa.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has grown net sales from ~$8 billion in 2015, to more than $17 billion for 2017, reaching $35 billion by 2019, and now generating almost $74 billion on an annual basis. This staggering growth has been driven by the expansion of AWS from 32 availability zones in 2015, to 52 availability zones in 2017, and now reaching 84 availability zones at present. In parallel, the company has launched thousands of new AWS services which has also fueled its expansion.
2. Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Corporation’s Intelligent Cloud segment contains Azure, the second largest cloud service provider globally. Through Microsoft Azure, the company delivers a consistent hybrid cloud experience, developer productivity, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and security & compliance.
Microsoft Azure presently has 60 regions and 116 availability zones in operation. These regions and availability zones are distributed throughout the United States, Azure Government (U.S.), Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, as well as in the Middle East & Africa.
Over 200 physical Microsoft Azure data centers are located worldwide, which house computer servers, each fitted-out with independent power, cooling, and networking. The company connects this data center infrastructure with more than 175,000 miles of fiber lines across 140 countries.
Microsoft Cloud revenue, which includes revenue from Azure and other cloud services, Office 365 Commercial, the commercial portion of LinkedIn, and Dynamics 365, reached $23.4 billion for the latest quarter, an increase of 32% year-over-year. As such, on an annualized basis, Microsoft Cloud revenue currently stands at $93.6 billion. However, Microsoft does not explicitly disclose Azure revenues, meaning that Azure is only a subset of total Microsoft Cloud revenue.
READ MORE: Microsoft Azure’s Data Center Locations
3. Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
Google Cloud Platform (GCP), part of Alphabet Inc, is the third largest cloud service provider globally, providing enterprise-ready cloud services. GCP enables developers to build, test, and deploy applications on its distributed and scalable infrastructure, while utilizing the service’s capabilities in security, data management, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Google Cloud today has 34 regions and 103 availability zones in operation. These regions and availability zones are situated throughout the United States, Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
Alphabet Inc’s Google Cloud unit earns revenue from the fees it charges for its infrastructure, platform, and other services. For the latest quarter, Google Cloud generated $5.8 billion in revenue, an increase of almost 44% year-over-year. Therefore, on an annualized basis, Google Cloud produces $23.3 billion of revenue.
READ MORE: Google Cloud’s Data Center Locations
4. Alibaba Cloud
Alibaba Group’s cloud computing unit, known as Alibaba Cloud, is the fourth largest cloud service provider globally, the primary cloud vendor in Asia Pacific, and the largest cloud service provider in China. Through Alibaba Cloud, the business offers cloud services, including elastic computing, database, storage, network virtualization, large-scale computing, security, management & application services, big data analytics, and machine learning.
Alibaba Cloud currently has 27 regions and 84 availability zones in operation. In Mainland China, Alibaba is the dominant cloud service provider, with over 10 regions across the country. Outside of Mainland China, Alibaba Cloud operates in the United States, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.
Alibaba Group primarily generates cloud computing revenue from enterprise customers based on the duration and usage of their services. The company’s Cloud segment yielded $2.99 billion (RMB18,971 million) of revenue for the latest quarter, an increase of 12% year-over-year. Thus, on an annualized basis, Alibaba Cloud revenue currently stands at nearly $12 billion.
5. Oracle Cloud
Oracle Corporation’s Cloud Services offerings include Oracle Cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Through OCI, the company is a cloud service provider, delivering infrastructure technologies as-a-service including compute, storage, and networking services.
Oracle Cloud presently has 38 regions and 46 availability zones in operation. These regions and availability zones are located throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, & Africa (EMEA), Latin America, and Asia Pacific. In addition, Oracle Cloud offers government cloud regions for the U.S. government, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and UK government.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) typically charges a prepaid fee that gradually decreases as its OCI services are consumed by the customer over a defined time period. For the latest quarter, Oracle’s Cloud Revenue, which includes IaaS and SaaS, reached $2.9 billion, an increase of 19% year-over-year. Therefore, on an annualized basis, Oracle Cloud produces $11.6 billion of revenue.
READ MORE: Oracle Cloud’s Data Center Locations
6. IBM Cloud (Kyndryl)
In late 2021, IBM spun-off its managed infrastructure services business to Kyndryl, which now designs, builds, and manages private, public, and multi-cloud environments for its customers.
IBM Cloud (Kyndryl) today has 11 regions and 29 availability zones in operation. These regions and availability zones are distributed throughout the United States, Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
Kyndryl’s Cloud Services segment helps enterprises optimize their use of cloud service providers by integrating services delivered from independent software vendors, public cloud service providers, internal platforms, and technologies such as the internet of things (IoT). To this end, Kyndryl has recently established new strategic relationships with both Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
7. Tencent Cloud
Tencent Holdings’ cloud computing unit, known as Tencent Cloud, is the second largest cloud service provider in China, behind Alibaba Cloud.
Currently, Tencent Cloud has 21 regions and 65 availability zones in operation. Also, including Tencent Cloud’s 5 partner regions, the company offers a total of 26 regions and 70 availability zones. Excluding its partner regions, Tencent Cloud operates in Mainland China, the United States, Brazil, Germany, and Asia Pacific.
OVHcloud is a Europe-focused cloud service provider offering solutions including bare metal & hosted private cloud, public cloud, and web cloud services.
Presently, OVHcloud operates in 13 locations, comprising 33 data centers with 400,000 physical servers. Notably, OVHcloud owns 30 of the 33 data centers where it operates. These data centers are situated across 8 countries, namely France, Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany, Poland, the UK, and Singapore.
OVHcloud offers domain names, web hosting plans, and cloud solutions to more than 1.6 million customers. Of this total, ~800 of the company’s customers are enterprises. In terms of value proposition, OVHcloud operates a low-cost model and generally competes on price.
DigitalOcean is a cloud service provider offering on-demand infrastructure and platform tools to smaller customers including developers, start-ups, and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Today, DigitalOcean operates 8 regions across its 14 data centers. Specifically, the company leases data centers in the New York City and San Francisco metro markets, as well as in Toronto, Canada; London, UK; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Frankfurt, Germany; Bangalore, India; and Singapore.
DigitalOcean delivers its infrastructure and software solutions to 620,000 customers in more than 185 countries. Uniquely, ~70% of DigitalOcean’s revenue derives from outside of the United States. Similar to OVHcloud, DigitalOcean competes on price, often being 50%+ more cost-effective than the largest cloud service providers.
10. Linode (Akamai)
In March 2022, Akamai Technologies, a content delivery network (CDN) and security solutions provider, acquired Linode for $900 million.
Linode currently has 11 data center regions in operation, through which it provides compute in the form of containers and virtual machines, as well as its storage services. The company’s data centers are located in the markets of Newark, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; Fremont, California; Toronto, Canada; London, UK; Frankfurt, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; Singapore; Mumbai, India; and Sydney, Australia.
Linode’s infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform serves 1 million customers and businesses worldwide with its cloud computing capabilities. The company competes on price and focuses on serving developers, as well as start-ups and enterprises.
Which Cloud Service Provider Has the Largest Market Share?
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are the cloud service providers with the largest market share, collectively capturing over 65% of spending on cloud infrastructure services. Below is a summary table of the top 10 cloud service providers by market share, highlighting AWS’ 34% market share, Microsoft Azure’s 22% market share, and Google Cloud’s 9.5% market share.
|#||Cloud Service Provider||Market Share|
|1||Amazon Web Services (AWS)||34%|
|3||Google Cloud Platform (GCP)||9.5%|
|6||IBM Cloud (Kyndryl)||2%|
Over the past 5 years, AWS has maintained its market share in the low-30% range, Microsoft Azure has been an aggressive market share gainer, rising from ~10% historically, while Google Cloud has been steadily increasing its market share from its prior base of 5%. With market share gainers, there are also corresponding market share losers over this time period, which include IBM Cloud (Kyndryl) and a number of small cloud service providers.
Who are the Small Cloud Service Providers?
While the top 10 cloud service providers capture ~77% of spending on cloud infrastructure services, there is still a significant number of small vendors present in global markets. For example, these cloud service providers include those targeting a certain niche, such as small- & medium-sized businesses (SMBs) or ones that operate regionally, such as in Europe or Asia Pacific. Below are examples of these small cloud service providers:
- China: Baidu AI Cloud, Huawei Cloud, Kingsoft Cloud, JD Cloud, QingCloud, UCloud
- Europe: Bleu (Orange and Capgemini), Hetzner, Leaseweb
- Japan and Korea: Fujitsu, NTT, SoftBank, NAVER Cloud, KT Cloud
- Private Cloud / Managed Services: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Rackspace, VMware
- SaaS Partners: Salesforce, SAP
- SMBs: Heroku, UpCloud, Vultr
Within the cloud service provider market, there is an important distinction to make for managed services providers like Rackspace. Managed services providers help enterprises migrate, architect, and deploy workloads to the public cloud. Subsequently, these managed services providers ‘manage’ the IT infrastructure for their customers across multiple environments, including public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises. Through this business model, the cloud service providers still remain as the ultimate owners and providers of IT infrastructure.
What are Cloud Service Providers?
Cloud service providers offer on-demand infrastructure and tools for developers, start-ups, small- & medium-sized businesses, and large enterprises to build, deploy, and scale their software applications and databases. The two main markets which cloud service providers operate in are known as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which are comprised of the following:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): compute, storage, and networking
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): database management systems and application platforms
With this combined IaaS and PaaS infrastructure, cloud service providers enable a wide range of use cases, including web & mobile applications, website hosting, e-commerce, media & gaming, managed services, among many more. These computing and storage services rely on shared servers which offer a high degree of scalability and continuity. Typically, customers consume cloud computing services on a pay-per-use basis.
Additionally, certain public cloud service providers offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which refers to end user applications.
Cloud service providers build their digital infrastructure around what are known as regions and availability zones. A region is a physical location in the world where a cloud service provider has multiple availability zones. These availability zones consist of one or more isolated data centers, that are housed in separate buildings, each with redundant power, cooling, networking, and fiber-optic connectivity.
Regions and Availability Zones – Microsoft Azure Example
Availability zones enable end users to operate production applications and databases that are more highly available, fault tolerant, and scalable than is possible from an individual data center.
Cloud service providers differentiate themselves from the capabilities of individual servers and data centers through virtualization, which means adding an abstraction layer between hardware and applications. In turn, virtualization enables multiple workloads and operating systems to run on the same physical server. As such, virtualization facilitates the critical competitive advantages of the cloud, including scalability, maximizing resource utilization, and provisioning more workloads with lower operating expenses.
What are the 5 Benefits of Cloud Computing?
The 5 benefits of cloud computing are scalability, pay-per-use, speed & agility, outsourcing, and global reach:
- Scalability: an enterprise’s internal IT systems may not be scalable, to meet peak demand for workloads, unless they maintain excess capacity – which is costly. By using cloud computing, customers can instantly increase or decrease their hardware and software capacity needs to meet business requirements
- Pay-Per-Use: instead of investing capital expenditures into data centers and servers prior to knowing how they are going to be used, customers can pay only when they consume computing resources, and pay only for how much they consume
- Speed and Agility: new IT resources can be provisioned in a cloud computing environment with only a few clicks. Therefore, customers can reduce the time to make those resources available to developers from weeks, to just minutes
- Outsourcing: cloud computing enables customers to avoid racking, stacking, and powering servers, in addition to eschewing the ongoing maintenance of their data centers
- Global Reach: applications can be deployed in multiple regions around the world with just a few clicks. In turn, this enables applications to have lower latency and provides a better experience for end users
At the same time, a significant number of enterprises are shifting to hybrid and multi-cloud environments to avoid vendor lock-in and to preserve the flexibility to host sensitive workloads in a more secure environment. Below are definitions of hybrid and multi-cloud:
- Hybrid Cloud: application deployments in a combination of different environments including on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud
- Multi-Cloud: application deployments with several public cloud service providers, instead of only using a single public cloud service provider
Which Cloud Service Provider is Cheapest?
To answer the questions: Which is cheapest cloud provider? and How much do cloud computing services cost?, Dgtl Infra reviewed a recent comparison by Linode, which studied the cost per month of a CPU Dedicated/Optimized 2vCPU, 4GB RAM, 80GB SSD deployment. Below is a summary of the monthly costs for this deployment from the four largest public cloud service providers, namely Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Alibaba Cloud:
|#||Cloud Service Provider||Cost per Month||% Higher|
|2||Google Cloud Platform (GCP)||$63.38||31%|
|4||Amazon Web Services (AWS)||$71.47||48%|
As shown in the example above, for the CPU Dedicated/Optimized 2vCPU, 4GB RAM, 80GB SSD deployment, Alibaba Cloud was the cheapest public cloud service provider at $48.42 per month. In contrast, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the most expensive public cloud service provider, at a cost of $71.47 per month, 48% higher than Alibaba Cloud.
Although the above analysis highlights the cheapest public cloud service provider among the large vendors, in reality the smaller cloud service providers, such as OVHcloud, DigitalOcean, and Linode are the most cost-effective. These companies are generally at least 20% to 35% cheaper across the board – and often 50%+ cheaper – when compared to AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud.