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Cloud Computing

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years ago

page director: Brian D. Butler

contributors:   Randall Minter

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see also:  tech trends to watch



Cloud Computing


Computing is increasingly being offered as a service over the internet.


Its called a cloud" because its often shown in graphs as a cloud in many charts.  But, this description is misleading in that it implies that the infrastructure is less important.  In fact, in cloud computing, there is more of a requirement for (bigger) data centers.



What is the impact?


Cloud Computing facilitates is going to affect everyone in pretty big ways. Developers no longer have to worry about scaling the hardware and can focus on software.*  This movement will enable the smallest companies to compete with the largest infrastructure. It will drive the new internet economy.



Who Uses them?


internet companies such as google, Yahoo and Microsoft






Trend:  computing becomes a utility, with services that can be consumed anywhere, by any device


More and more data centers needed:  Why?  increased computing capacity needed (google for example);  new data-retention regulations;  energy costs have climbed;  space has become tighter....so, many companies are looking to economize,and consolidate...to save money, and to simplify the infrastructure.


The location selection of data centers is becoming more centralized.


Virtualisation:  technology that allows software running on individual servers to be moved from one data center to another.   The virtual machines may then move from data center to data center looking for where computing power is the cheapest (or greenest).  Making computing a utility. 



More processing moving away from the user and into the ‘Cloud’, along the lines of Nick Carr’s new book The Big Switch, where he argues that computing power becomes a utility. However, Bill says “Moving everything onto the network may appeal in the rich countries of the industrialised world but offers little to rural India or sub-Saharan African countries. And there are massive security and data management issues to be solved.” But the potential benefits are “too great to be ignored.”






More and more, people are using the Internet for storage


Photos, videos, files...people are beginning to actually store their stuff on the internet.  This is largely due to an increase in the broadband, fast access internet, but is also due to the popularity of sites such as YouTube (for videos), Flickr (for photos), and others for data and file storage.   What is the impact of this trend?  Look for more consumer and business solutions as companies look to offer storage solutions.   On the infrastructure side, look for more investment needs to beef up the transfer speeds, and additional storage capacity.   Read more here




Environment issues


data centers are huge energy hogs.  In the USA alone, the data centers are taking 1.5% of all energy consumption (according to the EPA).  According to McKinsey, data centers globally account for more CO2 emissions than entire countries such as Argentina or the Netherlands. 


If todays trends continue, by 2020 there will be a 4x increase in emissions from data centers, reaching 670 tonnes, making it a bigger polluter than even the Airlines industry.



New Technologies (to solve the energy problem)

multi-core processing chips, and more efficient power supplies, and smart cooling systems.  Also, software to allocate computing resources more efficiently.   New metric = performance per watt.  Virtualise.



Calls for regulations:

One fear is that data centers are risking a rise in regulations.  If this happened, then it would benefit vendors...as it would spur sales.


see also Cap and trade systems



"Enabling Effect" considered:

On the other hand, perhaps cloud computing should consider including in its energy consumption data some relavent issues:   Not only does it consume energy, but it also helps us save energy in other places.  One study says that "information & computing technologies" (ICT) helps to reduce emissions in other areas by up to 7.8 billion tons by 2020 (more than 5 x what it uses).   


Using computers helps to plan logistics more efficiently, and to use "smart" electrical grids, and "smart" appliances that use less energy, and "smart buildings" that can turn off lights when nobody is using them.







Examples of Cloud computing


































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