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Cloud computing has become another buzzword after Web 2.0. However, there are dozens of different definitions for cloud computing and there seems to be no consensus on what a cloud is. On the other hand, cloud computing is not a completely new concept; it has intricate connection to the relatively new but thirteen-year established grid computing paradigm, and other relevant technologies such as utility computing, cluster computing, and distributed systems in general. This paper strives to compare and contrast cloud computing with grid computing from various angles and give insights into the essential characteristics of both.