What’s the difference between cloud computing and hosting on a online web server?

Question by Penny: What’s the difference between cloud computing and hosting on a online web server?
Could somebody please explain to me what cloud computing is in laymen’s terms?

Best answer:

Answer by Keith M
In practical terms, there is no difference. Cloud computing is just a buzzword that means a lot of different things depending on what company is selling something. In general terms the term “cloud” means “don’t worry about how, it just happens and it just works”.

Cloud computing, to me, is simply the provision of technology-based resources (processor power, storage, networking) on demand, just like the power company provides you with electricity to the plugs in your house.

If you want to read a bit more about it check out the Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

For an example of a currently available, real-world and seemingly successful cloud computing service, check out the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) at http://aws.amazon.com/s3/ . Other examples include Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and the Google search engine. They all run “in the cloud”. They don’t run on YOUR PC, right? šŸ˜‰

If you REALLY want to read more about it go to the library and get a copy of “The Big Switch” by Nicholas Carr. I’m just starting to read it and it’s very interesting, not “techie” boring stuff, but “big-picture, history-making-and-changing innovation” kind of stuff.

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