The cloud computing is a computing platform for the next generation of the Internet. It defines clouds and the need for it to be virtualized, explains virtualization as the key element in any form of application or resource brokering. Also defines virtual machines and their working, types of clouds and service delivery models. Cloud computing users can avoid capital expenditure on hardware, software, and services when they pay a provider only for what they use. Consumption is usually billed on a utility or subscription basis with little or no upfront cost. Virtual machines are a fundamental building block of a much larger solution: the virtual infrastructure. Virtual Infrastructure unifies discrete hardware resources to create a shared dynamic platform, while delivering built-in availability, security and scalability to applications. It supports a wide range of operating system and application environments, as well as networking and storage infrastructure.
The applications of cloud computing are practically limitless. With the right middleware, a cloud computing system could execute all the programs a normal computer could run, potentially everything from generic word processing software to customized computer programs designed for a specific company. The front end is the side the computer user, or client, sees. The back end is the “cloud” section of the system. Applications and data can be accessed from anywhere at any time. It reduces the need for advanced hardware on the client side. The companies don’t have to buy a set of software or software licenses for every employee. It reduces the overhead costs in terms of physical space at the user end by storing their data. Cloud computing is advantageous than grid, utility and autonomic computing. The paper also discusses various risk mitigation measures.