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The business model whereby a company makes money by selling computing services which are delivered through large server farms, or data centers, is becoming increasingly important. Variously referred to as Cloud Computing, or Utility Computing, or Service Provisioning, that model has been adopted by major organizations such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo. The idea is that a user avoids the capital costs of buying expensive equipment and instead relies on the infrastructure provided by the server farm to perform various tasks, paying only for the resources consumed. Those tasks may involve computation, file input/output or a mixture of both.
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