Investors increasingly expect hedge fund managers to have best-of-breed technology and applications designed to, among other things, conduct business effectively and efficiently, facilitate compliance with applicable regulations and investor demands; and safeguard the firm’s information. These expectations pose a significant challenge for many hedge fund managers because of the significant cost required to implement and maintain a robust technological infrastructure. Cloud solutions have helped to partially alleviate this burden on hedge fund managers by making numerous applications and functions available online, thus reducing or eliminating the need for a firm to establish and maintain heavy technological infrastructure, with all of the associated capital costs, personnel costs and real estate costs concomitant to such infrastructure. Cloud solutions also present benefits other than cost savings as described in more detail in this article. While particularly attractive for smaller hedge fund managers wishing to minimize the amount of launch capital spent on technology, cloud solutions have also become attractive to larger, more well-established managers seeking cost savings and other benefits. This article is the first in a two-part series discussing cloud computing solutions for hedge fund managers. This article defines cloud computing services; outlines key differences between different types of cloud computing solutions; describes the functions available through cloud solutions; and highlights the benefits and risks of using cloud solutions. The second article in this series will discuss how to evaluate the various cloud computing solutions and providers; describe best practices in creating and implementing policies and procedures for using cloud solutions; and identify common mistakes made by hedge fund managers in selecting and using cloud solutions.