Cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online that are accessed from another Web service or software like a Web browser, while the software and data are stored on servers.
The term “cloud” is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on the cloud drawing used in the past to represent the telephone network, and later to depict the Internet in computer network diagrams as an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it represents. It is a computation, software, data access, and storage services that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the system that delivers the services.
Cloud computing for small businesses is a new supplement, consumption, and delivery model for IT services based on Internet protocols, and it typically involves provisioning of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources. It is a byproduct and consequence of the ease-of-access to remote computing sites provided by the Internet. This frequently takes the form of web-based tools or applications that users can access and use through a web browser as if it were a program installed locally on their own computer.
Cloud computing is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualization, service-oriented architecture, autonomic and utility computing. Details are abstracted from end-users, who no longer have need for expertise in, or control over, the technology infrastructure “in the cloud” that supports them.
Most cloud computing infrastructures consist of services delivered through common centers and built on servers. Clouds often appear as single points of access for consumers’ computing needs.