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To better understand cloud computing, it is best to look at the characteristics of cloud computing. The principal characteristic that defines a cloud computing environment is the fact that the application being utilized is delivered over the network, instead of being locally processed. An example would be using a browser to connect to a service over the internet to create a written document, such as this paper. Traditionally the authors have used word processing applications running on a local compute resource to achieve this capability. In the cloud model, this local processing is pushed to a compute resource located in the "Cloud", whose location and underlying infrastructure is of little to no interest to the user of this resource.
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