April 11, 2012, 10:10 AM — Not sure what cloud computing is, or how it can benefit your business? In this article, I'll introduce you to the cloud, help you interpret the buzzwords, and explain how your business might save time and money using a cloud hosting service such as Windows Azure, Amazon EC2, or Rackspace.
Discovering the Cloud and Cloud Computing
People use "cloud" as a buzzword when describing either the Internet or an intranet in association with some type of service or application offering. When you hear the term "public cloud," think of the Internet; when you hear "private cloud," think of your company's intranet. Usually, "cloud" by itself refers to the public cloud.
The phrase "cloud computing" refers to Internet or intranet applications and services that you typically access, run, or manage via a Web browser. Such services often don't require you to install software on your computer.
Here's another way to look at it: Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than as a product. Instead of purchasing, installing, and running a program on your local computers, the program runs on the provider's computers, and you pay a monthly or yearly fee for access.
You can find three main types of cloud computing service providers.