When deciding to move on to the cloud, you typically will not have control over the infrastructure that the service provider (Azure, EC2, etc) use. However, typically the infrastructure (including hardware, network, etc.) are pretty homogeneous (at least
for Windows Azure). This is mentioned by Mark Russinovich (http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/SAC-853T).
Moving to the cloud could literally reduce CAPEX and OPEX, as compared you start or invest your own data center / hardware. Whereby, after you've invested on the hardware, you will need to hire bunch of engineer to maintain them.
Regards, Wely Lau http://wely-lau.net (Wordpress on Windows Azure)