Troy R. Barrett
INF 103 Computer Literacy
January 6th, 2013
Cloud Computing Now and the Future
The use of cloud computing creates a growing interdependence among both public and private sector entities and the individuals served by these entities. This paper provides a snapshot of the advantages of cloud computing and the risk areas specific to cloud services which clients of cloud services should be aware of. The future of cloud computing is certainly exciting, but moving more of our lives online means we will inevitably have to consider the consequences. Cloud computing means dependence on others and that could limit our privacy because of policies to access our information, security could be a big issue and large companies like Amazon and Google could monopolize the market. The cloud is a metaphor for the space on the internet that can store your data, as well as applications to manipulate data. It is not clear when the term cloud computing was first coined. For example, Bartholomew (2009), Bogatin (2006) and several others suggested that ‘cloud computing’ terminology was perhaps first coined by Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt in 2006. Kaufman (2009: 61) suggests that cloud computing terminology ‘originates from the telecommunications world of the 1990s, when providers began using virtual private network (VPN) services for data communication’. There is however, agreement on the definition of cloud computing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction (Mell 2009: 9). A computer’s operating system, data and applications are typically installed and stored in the ‘traditional’ computer environment. In a cloud computing environment, individuals and businesses work with applications and data stored and/or maintained on shared machines in a web-based environment rather than physically located in the home of a user or a corporate environment. Lew Tucker, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Cloud Computing at Sun Microsystems, explained that cloud computing is ‘the movement of application services onto the internet and the increased use of the internet to access a wide variety of services traditionally originating from within a company’s data center’ (Creeger 2009: 52). For example, web-based applications such as Google’s Gmail™ can be accessed in real time from an Internet-connected machine anywhere in the world. Cloud computing provides an online environment that is scalable which facilitates the ability to handle an increased volume of work without impacting on the performance of the system. The Cloud also offers significant computing capability and economy of scale that might not otherwise be affordable to businesses, especially small and medium size companies that may not have the financial and human resources to invest in IT infrastructure. Advantages include capital costs and running costs. Companies can leverage the use of large scale resources from cloud service providers and ‘add or remove capacity from their IT infrastructure to meet peak or fluctuating service demands while paying only for the actual capacity used’ (Sotomayor et. Al. 2009: 14) on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ economic model. It can also be significantly cheaper to rent added server space for a few hours at a time rather than maintain your own servers. Rental prices for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), for example, are between US$0.020 and $2.970 per hour in Oregon as an example. Pay only for what you use. There is no minimum fee. On-Demand Instances let you pay for compute capacity by the hour with no long-term...