Contrary to popular belief, cloud based computing and virtualization is not the same thing. Instead, cloud computing is a set of technologies that can build on top of virtualization in order to make better use of virtualized resources. At its heart, the adoption of a cloud-based architecture allows IT services to be provisioned across business networks on an as needed basis. When such services and resources are not needed by one user in a business, they can be allocated to others since the essence of cloud computing is shared resources.
Cloud based computing is most often linked in the public imagination to large public entities such as Google's popular Gmail interface. All the software and resources needed to use email on the Gmail system are provided by Google itself, with users connecting to it to access and use their email accounts. This is a form of SaaS or software as a service.
However, businesses who want to explore IT solutions that include cloud computing are not limited to such large public cloud offerings as Google or other services that operate on demand such as EC2 from Amazon. Businesses can actually implement their own private clouds in house in order to more efficiently distribute workload and provision employees with needed resources on demand.
Whether businesses prefer to work with a public or a private cloud, an excellent way to administer their IT systems is through a managed services model in which remote assistance and monitoring is provided 24 hours per day.