Head in the clouds…

by Alistair

For those of you who, like me, find themselves scratching their head when people talk about cloud computing, worry no longer. We have a definition:

…we define cloud computing as: a set of web-based tools and services which permit users to acquire computing resources and development capabilities to build or support applications, or perform specific IT functions on a pay-as-you-go basis.

So there you have it. Hope that clears things up for you.

Or is it still a bit…cloudy? (Thanks, I’m here all week!).

No, in all seriousness, some of the new technologies and applications coming out which are categorised under the umbrella term ‘cloud computing’ are impressive in their own right. Simple online storage, Google Docs and so on.

I do have a bit of a gripe with these vague marketing terms that people are compelled to attach to any minor advance in technology, as though they are something revolutionary, when in fact they are only evolutionary. But it always happens, and hey, the whole Web 2.0 thing seems to have died down.

Really, any service delivered over the Internet (or other network) can be classified as cloud computing. It’s really not a useful definition for anyone, other than the marketing bozos.

So let’s call a spade a spade: cloud computing is simply a shift back towards client/server applications, made possible by increased Internet bandwidth availability.

I think another of the qualities shared by successful cloud technologies will be transparency, especially for data storage.

Anyway I’m only just starting to explore this area after being 100% focussed on PhD research in recent times. I’m sure there are plenty of potential research topics brought up by cloud computing. Does the tuple space metaphor have any relevance here? I’ll have to give it some thought.