What exactly is the cloud?

By HUBERT VAN MIERLO

Managing Director, McCloud Consulting

Everyone's talking about cloud computing, but what exactly does it mean?

"The Cloud" is really a series of very large and very fast computer systems located around the world on which companies can run their software and store and access their data. Some companies rent this space on which to run specialist software services which they sell to other companies. Buyers of these services don't need to purchase software in the traditional way - by installing it onto their desktop or laptop - they simply access the software and their personal files through a web site.