I've been busy for almost the last year in developing infrastructure services for cloud computing platform - mainly dispersed storage - and during that I've been working closely with cloud computing giants and have seen several cloud computing management and provisioning frameworks -- that include Q-Layer framework -- I can really see the change happening to the IT world because of the 'Cloud' and how the cloud will affect the way we think in everything, how we think in storage, how we think in application development and even how we can make business using IT.
Let me first define what cloud computing is. Cloud computing named to be the next generation of distributed systems where you use computer resources as a service and you don't have to pay attention to all of how/where/when questions related to administration and management and even technical issues. you simply use the resource -- storage as an example -- and you put your files/data over and you don't care how are they going to make sure that your data will be available at all times, how are they going to manage disk failures and even how to manage the network latency problems, this bring us to the most important point of cloud computing 'security' how can I make sure that it's only me who can actually read the data? so far, there are no good-known-standard way of storage that ensure that but you can always use the typical cryptography methods to make sure you are the only one who can read the data but that doesn't necessarily have to be applied on other types of computer resources. So the cloud is there somewhere on the internet and you can access it using -maybe- some API or protocol and that's it, no extra money for deployment, electricity, servers, management, security, etc.
Cloud computing introduced a new business model for application developers, instead of buying the software and getting it back at home where you can install and play with -- also you can simply destroy it -- you can use the software directly from the cloud and then the user saves time/effort to install and configure the software and save time/money because no additional hardware/server is needed. The application developer also is happy because he is now sure that nobody can actually copy and distribute his software illegally in most cases and he can push bug-fixes and updates immediately to all users without the hassle of having to take care of hundreds of manual installations.
Pay-As-You-Use, this is the paradigm of the newly introduced business model after cloud computing, while the paradigm itself is not new of course - you used to pay for a taxi the same way :) - but it's new to IT and it proved its efficiency and effectiveness for most types of users as you pay more when the business grows and that fits much better into a gradually increasing business size also you don't have to pay for the management of software so you get purely working service for a fraction and the developer can sell to thousands without geographical borders because no need of physical support in most of the cases.
How can this fit in the middle east?
Because in developing countries like Egypt, Sudan, etc. we still have problems in internet connectivity -- but that shouldn't stay long -- we simply cannot depend totally on the internet because of the high cost of the reliable internet (around 2000$ / month) and it's not even that reliable and the pretty old communication infrastructure that prevent internet companies from connecting to all places, so we need to rethink how can we adopt the technology of cloud computing and rethink how can it fit into our region, I have a couple of ideas but let me hear yours first :)