Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the internet. These services are divided into three main categories or types of cloud computing: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).
A cloud can be private or public. A public cloud sells services to anyone on the internet. A private cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people, with certain access and permissions settings. Private or public, the goal of cloud computing is to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services.
Cloud infrastructure involves the hardware and software components required for proper implementation of a cloud computing model. Cloud computing can also be thought of as utility computing or on-demand computing.
The name cloud computing was inspired by the cloud symbol that's often used to represent the internet in flowcharts and diagrams.