Tech pundits and practitioners alike have spilled lots of ink to hype cloud computing. They'll encourage you to think of it as IT infrastructure on demand—like plugging into the power grid to get electricity, or turning on a faucet to get water, but getting raw computing power instead. To boot, you'll get access to storage capacity and software-based services—and it can scale infinitely, proponents point out.
If this all sounds too good to be true—like so much cold fusion, the now-debunked tabletop nuclear fusion reactor in a bottle—don't be fooled. This time, getting more for less is real. And with the economy of its currently parlous condition, businesses have never needed cloud computing more.