Recent advances in cloud computing have shifted computation, data storage, networking, and hosting of applications from local machines to virtual machines obtained via a network. Cloud providers such as Amazon Webservices, Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure, and DigitalOcean manage data centers with thousands of physical machines around the globe. These data centers act as a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly obtained and released in an on-demand fashion.
Fundamental to cloud computing are the virtual machine managers, or hypervisors, who map and schedule requested virtual machines with varying amounts of computing power onto the physical machines in the data center. This virtualization ensures that system administrators enjoy the same familiar user experience that they know from using local machines, while eliminating the burden of having to setup and maintain the actual physical hardware. This convenience, combined with the pay-per-use billing model, the high elasticity, and almost unbounded scalability makes cloud computing increasingly prevalent for both large enterprises and small companies.
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