Research Backs Up Current Views Over Cloud Computing

One of the major constraints of business intelligence implementation is the processing capability of the enterprise infrastructure. Cloud computing offers a feasible solution to this issue – but it doesn’t come without a number of obstacles. A recent report published by Berkeley Research Report on Cloud Computing outlines their views on cloud computing.

On the positive side, the report suggests that although cloud represents a ‘great opportunity to exploit unprecedented IT resources it has a number of obstacles to overcome”, ten according to the report.

In the report ‘Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing‘ the group ,which works in the Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems Laboratory funded by companies such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and Sun, argued that “the construction and operation of extremely large-scale, commodity-computer datacenters at low-cost locations was the key necessary enabler of Cloud Computing”.

In respect of service provision, the paper defines different types of cloud computing providers, ranging from the infrastructure end typical of Amazon EC2 to the application-specific services such as those provided by Google AppEngine. Providers must also do their bit to ensure availability by accessing massive bandwidth to insulate against the impact of DDoS attacks. And some good news. For those who fear that commoditising computing power will lead to a low-margin business model, the Berkeley team disagrees, stating “The apparently low costs offered to cloud users may still be highly profitable for cloud providers.”

Not a lot to add to that we already know. But they did highlight that “vendors need to rethink the way they build their products”. In particular they referred to the ability to both scale up and DOWN to meet the changing needs of users, and that service plans must also accomodate short term needs for computing power.

The hardware needs must also be scaled up, with larger racks, energy efficiencent servers and flash memory.

A key enabler of multi cloud computing vendors will be the development of a standard set of application APIs – it doesn’t matter what the technology, standardisation issues always rise to the top and act as a major constraint.

The 10 obstacles to cloud computing:

  1. Availability of service
  2. Data lock-in
  3. Data confidentiality and auditability
  4. Data transfer bottlenecks
  5. Performance unpredictability
  6. Scalable storage
  7. Bugs in large distributed systems
  8. Scaling quickly – up and down
  9. Reputation fate sharing – an interesting term the report elaborates on
  10. Software licensing

Not a lot the industry is not already aware of, however, the report also provides some good suggestions for customers of cloud computing, such as procuring services with several cloud providers to ensure service availability.

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