Despite their proliferation as a dominant computing paradigm, cloud computing systems lack effective mechanisms to manage their vast amounts of resources efficiently. Resources are stranded and fragmented, ultimately limiting cloud systems' applicability to large classes of critical applications that pose non-moderate resource demands. Eliminating current technological barriers of actual fluidity and scalability of cloud resources is essential to strengthen cloud computing's role as a critical cornerstone for the digital economy. ACTiCLOUD proposes a novel cloud architecture that breaks the existing scale-up and share-nothing barriers and enables the holistic management of physical resources both at the local cloud site and at distributed levels. Specifically, it makes advancements in the cloud resource management stacks by extending state-of-the-art hypervisor technology beyond the physical server boundary and localized cloud management system to provide a holistic resource management within a rack, within a site, and across distributed cloud sites. On top of this, ACTiCLOUD will adapt and optimize system libraries and runtimes (e.g., JVM) as well as ACTiCLOUD-native applications, which are extremely demanding, and critical classes of applications that currently face severe difficulties in matching their resource requirements to state-of-the-art cloud offerings.