A cloud application platform is quite a bit different from typical cloud software. Rather than individual pieces of software already configured and run from an invisible operating system that you do not see or control, a cloud platform is designed to give you maximum flexibility to create your own web applications and fully utilize the power of the server.
In many ways, a cloud application platform is just a fancy word for a manage server, but the idea is to give the customer an all-in-one server package that essentially functions right out of the box. This package may include some pre-installed software along with the platform itself, and it usually includes development tools to help the customer build upon the currently software or create their own. Ultimately, the goal is streamlined, fast deployment that you can easily replicate.
This cloud model is especially useful if you intend to run a “stack” on your server, one that may include several pieces of software, including an operating system, web server, development tools, and more. Platforms that are offered as part of a service agreement are called PaaS (platform as a service), and there are also some free and open source cloud platforms.