A new generation of technology is transforming the world of computing. Advances in Internet-based data storage, processing, and services—collectively known as "cloud computing"—have emerged to complement the traditional model of running software and storing data on personal devices or on-premises networks. Many familiar software programs, from email and word processing to spreadsheets, are now available as cloud services. Many of these applications have been offered over the Internet for years, so cloud computing might not feel particularly new to some users.

Still, several aspects of cloud computing differ markedly from previous computing paradigms and offer distinct benefits. Today’s cloud services are highly scalable, which enables customers to pay only for the computing storage and power they need, when they need it. Datacenters in diverse geographies allow cloud providers to store and back up information in multiple locations, which enhances reliability and increases processing speed. And significant economies of scale generated by "server farms" that can simultaneously support scores of users mean major cost savings for customers. (For more information, please see the Microsoft whitepaper).

Learn more about cloud and the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)