Cloud computing is changing the way industries and enterprises do their businesses in that dynamically scalable and virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. This model creates a brand new opportunity for enterprises. In this paper, some of the essential features of cloud computing are briefly discussed with regard to the end-users, enterprises that use the cloud as a platform, and cloud providers themselves. Cloud computing is emerging as one of the major enablers for the manufacturing industry; it can transform the traditional manufacturing business model, help it to align product innovation with business strategy, and create intelligent factory networks that encourage effective collaboration. Two types of cloud computing adoptions in the manufacturing sector have been suggested, manufacturing with direct adoption of cloud computing technologies and cloud manufacturing - the manufacturing version of cloud computing. Cloud computing has been in some of key areas of manufacturing such as IT, pay-as-you-go business models, production scaling up and down per demand, and flexibility in deploying and customizing solutions. In cloud manufacturing, distributed resources are encapsulated into cloud services and managed in a centralized way. Clients can use cloud services according to their requirements. Cloud users can request services ranging from product design, manufacturing, testing, management, and all other stages of a product life cycle. ?? 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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