The Cloud Architectures whitepaper goes over various benefits to using a cloud provider and goes over design priciples for building a cloud application.
Business benefits to building applications using Cloud Architectures:
-Almost zero upfront infrastructure investment
-Efficient resource utilization
-Usage-based costing: Utility-style pricing allows billing the customer only for the infrastructure that has been used. The customer is not liable for the entire infrastructure that may be in place.
-Potential for shrinking the processing time: Parallelization is the one of the great ways to speed up processing.
Applications that could utilize the power of Cloud Architectures: processing pipelines, batch processing systems, websites.
This paper goes over some design principles for building a scalable application for a cloud: use scalable components that are loosely coupled, take advantage of parallelization, requisition and relinquish resources on-demand, and use resilient designs because hardware will fail. The paper uses Amazon's implementation of GrepTheWeb to highlight design lessons and principles.