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What is Cloud Computing?

Advances in computer hardware, the advent of high-speed wide-area communication and the
development of sophisticated virtualisation technologies has led to the adoption of alternative
models for the provision of computational resources. This trend, which is often characterised by
the popular tag Cloud Computing, has the potential to revolutionise the way that organisations
and individuals engage with computer systems across the world.
Established provisioning models, such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-
Service (PaaS), are giving organisations access to computational resources that can invariably
help to improve the quality of their products and services - from shopping online to the design
of jet engines. You might be familiar with the concept of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), not
least because you may have used software that was provided as a service. The principle here
is that an application can be made available to customers, whether it be an individual or an
organisation, without the need for that individual to own or host that application themselves.
Hot Topics in Computer Science
Cloud Computing - A revolution in everyday computing?
What does Cloud Computing mean for me?
Researchers are only beginning to appreciate the true potential of Cloud Computing. Whether
youre an individual, a small business or a large corporation, developments in this exciting area
will impact you in the near future, though its hard to pin down exactly what the impact might be!
For individuals, a popular belief is that we will be using low-power, always-online devices that
merely display the results of computation done somewhere in The Cloud. Through this is
interesting, and may be appealing to some, the idea presents a number of key questions for us
to answer - Would you be happy having all your music in The Cloud? How can we guarantee
that a device will always be online? Who is paying for the storage in The Cloud?
For the next generation of software engineers and computing professionals it will be crucial to
understand the models, software usage patterns, expectations and practicalities that go along
with the design, implementation and testing of cloud-based systems. When its hard to predict
the impact and direction of future technologies, how can universities help?
Computer Science at Warwick - Cloud Computing?
At Warwick we believe that analytical skills, scientic rigour and independent thinking,
combined with a solid understanding of fundamentals, are the best tools with which to
face the ever-changing landscape of modern computing. For this reason, the focus of
our courses is on capitalising on the expertise of our internationally excellent research
staff - working in exciting areas such as Cloud Computing - to equip students with the
understanding, skills and condence to work at the forefront of computing.
Cloud Computing Links
Performance Computing and Visualisation at Warwick
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/dcs/research/pcav/
Cloud Computing in the Media
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/cloud-computing
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/
Current and future applications of Cloud Computing
Currently The Cloud is considered by many to be a grand vision for the future of resource
provisioning and service consumption, though there are many concrete examples of how
Cloud Computing is impacting out daily lives, even outside the world of work!
Where are your les and friends? If you use services provided by the likes of Dropbox or
Facebook for then its likely that youll have some set of les stored in The Cloud. In fact, in
many ways there is a strong link between the rise of social network technologies and
developments in Cloud Computing. Can you think why this might be?
Got to get something done? Want to play a game? Many individuals regularly engage in
activities that demand intensive computation, whether it be playing games or editing home
movies. Traditionally desktop computers have been relied on for such tasks, which meant
that people have regularly had to buy new hardware. What if your computationally intensive
tasks were handled by a cluster of computers? Pay-as-you-go gaming?
Department of Computer Science CS@Warwick