The network is becoming the computer.
Here is a short video that puts "Cloud Computing" in perspective. In it, Ellison jokes that someone decided to change the word "Internet" to "Cloud" because it was a lot easier than innovation.
Amazon also has a cloud offering worth a look.
Why Should You Care?
Basically, you can “rent” a current version Windows Server for as little as 12 cents per hour, and only pay for the hours you need it each month. That’s $12 bucks to use 100 servers for an hour. You also pay for data transfer and storage, but that is negligible. The nice thing is that you can fire up an army of servers to run a batch process ... then stop paying when they complete their work.
You can get access even cheaper under a program where you bid on unused capacity within the cloud at any given time (Spot pricing).
I still have reservations about using cloud computing for many daily business applications. However, for “crunch on demand” processes ... this model makes much more sense that investing in piles of hardware that all too soon becomes obsolete.
Most of the data from this post comes from Tim McDonald, the president of Infassure, a technology consulting and out-sourcing company in the Dallas area. They've been a big help to us on this, and many other matters.