March 2009 Cloud Computing

As part of our applied research project Dviz I've been building up an understanding and appreciation of the incredibly over-hyped area of cloud computing. However, for Dviz it is important as it allows us to develop a scaleable approach to the delivery of the infrastructure. Dviz is a collaborative digital technology research project between Twelve Horses, IADT and UCD, and is funded by the NDRC. This project brings together a diverse skill set from both its commercial partner and university research teams to realise an innovative visualisation platform with strong commercial potential.

Cloud computing refers to a style of computing in which resources are provided as a service over the Internet to users who need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure. The canonical example is Google Docs, a functional word processing office app delivered entirely via one's web browser [1]. The level of interest in Cloud Computing as an accessible service for the realisation of new web based applications has been growing over the past year with both academic research [6] and is also leaking into mainstream discussion [5]. Discussion on how the cloud will impact high performance computing [4] and other areas such as its use in Green IT are also ongoing.

Quote: "Cloud Computing, the long-held dream of computing as a utility, has the potential to transform a large part of the IT industry, making software even more attractive as a service and shaping the way IT hardware is designed and purchased. Developers with innovative ideas for new Internet services no longer require the large capital outlays in hardware to deploy their service or the human expense to operate it. They need not be concerned about overprovisioning for a service whose popularity does not meet their predictions, thus wasting costly resources, or underprovisioning for one that becomes wildly popular, thus missing potential customers and revenue. Moreover, companies with large batch-oriented tasks can get results as quickly as their programs can scale, since using 1000 servers for one hour costs no more than using one server for 1000 hours. This elasticity of resources, without paying a premium for large scale, is unprecedented in the history of IT." [4]

Some of the different application areas where cloud computing might make an impact include [2]:

UCSB & IBM T.J. Watson Research five-layer grouping.

Discussions on cloud ontologies have come to light that provide a great starting point for taxonomy discussions [3].


  1. Cloud computing: Threat or Menace?
  2. A crack in the madness of clouds
  3. A better way to understand cloud computing
  4. Berkeley Releases Cloud Computing Study Detailed Report [ PDF ]
  5. Cloud computing ascends the mainstream
  6. Tech Titans Building Boom
  7. Cloud Computing Journal

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