Most IT managers do not understand what is meant by 'the cloud', according to research from hosting company Rackspace.

The company said that its research showed that despite the large amount of press coverage that cloud computing has garnered in the past year, 57 percent of UK companies hadn't heard of the term 'cloud hosting'.

Lew Moorman, Rackspace's chief strategy officer said that there had been a lot of talk about cloud computing but this hadn't necessarily filtered down to those running large enterprises' infrastructures. "You'll find that most of the people using the cloud have been hard-core developers, there hasn't been the interest from enterprises up to now."

"That's set to change," added Moorman.

The company has just launched what it calls the Cloud Clinic, a website that it claimed will answer many enterprises' queries about cloud computing as the company looked to bring cloud computing to the UK.

Moorman said that the current financial downturn would make it an increasingly attractive option for enterprises. "What we're offering is contract free, totally pay-as-you-go," he said. "It's going to be really easy to try."

According to Moorman, companies looking to save money would start looking to the cloud, although, he warned it wasn't the answer for everybody.

"What was important," he said, "was to realise that some applications are suitable for cloud hosting and some are not." As an example, he said that the hosting of large images was perfect for cloud while the running of large databases was not. He also said that companies who had customisable applications would also not find it easy to adopt cloud computing. "That will change, but it's not really easy to do right now," he said.

There is a branding issue for Rackspace to address: its cloud offerings in the US are under the name of Mosso, a name not used in the UK. Moorman said that Mosso would come over to the UK and in time would be used to provide cloud services. For the moment, pricing is in dollars although Moorman said this would change too. He said that prices in the US were of the order of 15 cents per Gigabyte of storage, with servers starting from $20 (£14.56) a month.

He didn't envisage the need to construct a new facility for UK cloud users. "We opened a new data centre last year and don't see any current need to expand that."