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Cloud computing allows users to access data and software stored online, eliminating the need for local storage.

Virtualization gives cloud-computing vendors economies of scale enabling them to offer on-demand software, computing, or infrastructure cheaper than on-premise alternatives. Apart from lower cost, there are many benefits to using cloud computing, including the ability to work from anywhere and the option to deploy services quickly.

While many companies have played significant roles in the development of cloud computing these ten companies that really got the ball rolling.

- By Rosalie Marshall, special to CNBC.com
(Date posted: 26 May 2014)

Photographer | Collection | Getty Images