Abstract Cloud computing is an emerging and fast-growing computing paradigm that has gained great interest from both industry and academia. Consequently, many researchers are actively involved in cloud computing research projects. One major challenge facing cloud computing researchers is the lack of a comprehensive cloud computing experimental tool to use in their studies. This paper introduces CloudExp, a modeling and simulation environment for cloud computing. CloudExp can be used to evaluate a wide spectrum of cloud components such as processing elements, data centers, storage, networking, Service Level Agreement (SLA) constraints, web-based applications, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), virtualization, management and automation, and Business Process Management (BPM). Moreover, CloudExp introduces the Rain workload generator which emulates real workloads in cloud environments. Also, MapReduce processing model is integrated in CloudExp in order to handle the processing of big data problems.