The Cloud" is very much a buzz word in both the technology and business worlds at the moment, but it really does offer many advantages over more traditional service offerings. Services delivered from "the Cloud" simply mean services that live on the Internet and are delivered to you as a service over your Internet connection. This could be anything from email, to databases, to finance and customer management applications. The benefit of this kind of provision is that your data and applications live in highly secure data centre environments, with sophisticated fire suppression systems and multiple power connections to the national grid etc. All you need to access your data and applications is an Internet connection and you can work from the office, home or on the go and get the same access and user experience everywhere.
Virtualisation and virtual computing is now a well established technology, whereby the operating system (Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 etc) is separated from the hardware (pc/server etc). These Virtual machines (VM's) can then be strategically placed to maximise the performance of the hardware. This allows for much more efficiency when it comes to power consumption and resource useage, which in turn keeps your costs down. Additionally, once implemented, management, troubleshooting and disaster recovery of the VM's becomes a lot quicker and more reliable compared to more traditional services, saving you time and money, not to mention the headaches, of service down time.