Cloud computing is typically defined as a type of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.
In cloud computing, the word cloud (also phrased as "the cloud") is used as a metaphor for "the Internet," so the phrase cloud computing means "a type of Internet-based computing," where different services -- such as servers, storage and applications --are delivered to an organization's computers and devices through the Internet.
Cloud computing is comparable to grid computing, a type of computing where unused processing cycles of all computers in a network are harnesses to solve problems too intensive for any stand-alone machine.
The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing, or high-performance computing power, normally used by military and research facilities, to perform tens of trillions of computations per second, in consumer-oriented applications such as financial portfolios, to deliver personalized information, to provide data storage or to power large, immersive computer games.
To do this, cloud computing uses networks of large groups of servers typically running low-cost consumer PC technology with specialized connections to spread data-processing chores across them. This shared ITinfrastructure contains large pools of systems that are linked together. Often, virtualization techniques are used to maximize the power of cloud computing.