The Way Forward?
Dr. Nabil Sultan
What is cloud
• 22 possible separate definitions
of cloud!! (McKinsey study)
• Commonly used definition:
“clusters of distributed
computers (largely vast data
centers and server farms) which
provide on-demand resources
and services over a networked
medium (usually the Internet).”
Where did the word “cloud”
• In 2006 Eric Schmidt of Google
described Google Software as
“cloud computing” at a search
• The term cloud is a metaphor for
the Internet, possibly inspired by
cloud images in computing text
What can cloud computing
• Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Products offered via this mode
include the remote delivery (through the Internet) of a full
computer infrastructure (e.g., virtual computers, virtual servers,
storage devices, etc.);
• Platform as a Service (PaaS): Products offered via this mode
include the ability to develop and host software remotely. For
example, you can (remotely) develop Web solutions and host
them on Web servers running Server Operating Systems (e.g.,
Windows 2003, Apache).
• Software as a Service (SaaS): Under this layer, applications are
delivered through the medium of the Internet as a service. This
type of cloud service offers a complete application functionality
that ranges from productivity applications (e.g., office-type) to
programs such as those for Customer Relationship Management
(CRM) or enterprise-resource management (ERM).
Cloud computing: a new
• Services delivered dynamically on a
• Timesharing. Cloud computing =
Timesharing 2.0 ! (Campbell, 2009)
• Predated in the 1990s by Application
Service Provision (ASP) which was
delivered via the Internet. ASP did
not survive due to proprietary
protocols and slow and expensive
of the Cloud
• Web Services or Remote Application
• Grid Computing (the provision of compute
power through linking computers together
–in a grid- and then “pooling” their CPU
resources to achieve high performance
• Virtualization (the creation of instances of
virtual machines - e.g., virtual servers,
virtual desktops - and their software – e.g.,
operating systems, applications – that
behave exactly like the real thing).
Major Cloud Platforms
• Amazon‟s Elastic Compute
• Amazon‟s Simple Storage (S3)
• IBM‟s Smart Business portfolio
• Google‟s Google Apps
• Microsoft‟s Azure
• Saleforce.com‟s CRM clouds
(e.g., Sales Cloud, Service Cloud
Main Concerns Relating
to Cloud Computing (1)
• Vendor Lock-in (most cloud providers
produce their own proprietary Application
Programming Interfaces (APIs)
• Security of Data
• Data Protection (some regions specify
geographical limits for the movements of
• Sudden Unavailability of Service (i.e.,
• Loss of Jobs?
Main Concerns Relating
to Cloud Computing (2)
Salesforce.com left customers without service for 6 h
in February 2008
Amazon‟s S3 (simple storage service) and EC2 (Elastic
Compute Cloud) suffered a 3-h outage in the same month
a few days later and an 8-h outage in July of the same
year by S3 (Leavitt, 2009).
In early 2009, Google‟s Gmail went down for 3 h, thus
preventing its 113 million users from accessing their
emails or the documents which they store online as
“Google Docs” (Naughton, 2009).
What is being done to
address these concerns?
• Amazon is making its S3 (simple storage service) cloud
available through both SOAP and REST while Microsoft
ensured that its Azure cloud also supports REST.
• Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) :
(http://www.cloudforum.org) promoting interoperability.
• Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF)
• Hybrid-Cloud solutions: For example, a company could
use its own resources to store data securely but rely on
public cloud services (e.g., Amazon‟s EC2) for other
• Private (In-house) Cloud (some say this is not cloud
Who could benefit from
• Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
• Educational Institutions
• Organizations engaged in Scientific
• Large companies?!
SMEs and the Cloud (1)
• Survey by the European Network and
Information Security (ENISA), an EU
68% of the SME responses indicated
that avoiding capital expenditure in
hardware, software, IT support and
information security was behind their
possible engagement in cloud computing;
64% of the SME responses also
indicated that flexibility and scalability of
IT sources was the reason (ENISA, 2009).
SMEs and the Cloud (2)
• Survey conducted by Easynet Connect (a
small UK internet solution provider) has
shown that UK SMEs are increasingly
eager to adopt cloud computing (Stening,
47% planning to do so within the next five years.
35% of them cited cost savings as the key driver
• Another survey by Gooroo (a small UK
cloud provider) reveals similar results.
Educational Institutes &
• An increasing number of educational
establishments have opted to use cloud
• In the UK, academic institutes using cloud
Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of
Glamorgan, the University of Aberdeen, the
University of Westminster, the London
University‟s School of Oriental and African
Studies (SOAS), the Royal College of Art (RCA)
and Liverpool Hope University.
University of Westminster
(Sultan, 2010; JISC, 2009)
• Prior to using Google Apps (free version for
• 96% of students were setting up their own personal
email accounts (due to frequent problems with the
university‟s email system)
• With Google Apps (rolled out for 2008/9 academic
• the University made a saving £1,000,000 (in terms of
installation, ongoing maintenance, upgrades, staff
costs, licenses, servers, storage, etc.).
• Student got a reliable email system; were able to have
personalised email addresses; were able to keep their
email addresses (even after graduation), were able to
use Google Apps‟s other features (chat, storage,
productivity applications that support collaboration)
UK SME: Dot Net Solutions
(Sultan, 2010b, Microsoft, 2009)
• The company describes itself as: “A Microsoft-
focused SME specializing in delivering technically
complex development projects on cutting edge
• When developing its projects it used the “Scrum”
approach (pasting sticky labels on the wall). It
proved problematic (having to photo them and send
• The company then replaced this manual method with
its own software (called “Scrumwall”) using
Microsoft Silverlight technology. The software
mimics the “scrum” method but has a web-based
interface for clients to see the development of their
• The company used Microsoft‟s Azure platform to host
its software (initially free but eventually on a pay-as-
The “green” credentials
of cloud computing
• Less money to spend on electricity
(for powering machines and cooling
the rooms that house them).
• Research suggests that ICT is
responsible for 2% of global carbon
emissions (and likely to increase).
• UK‟s Carbon Reduction Commitment
and EU Energy Using Products
Directive are likely to put pressure
on companies to reduce their carbon
• Richard Stallman (creator of the GNU
operating system and founder of the Free
Software Foundation): “It‟s stupidity. It‟s
worse than stupidity: it‟s a marketing hype
campaign” (The Guardian, quoted by
• Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle) described
cloud computing as “fashion-driven” and
“complete gibberish” and commented that
it would be hard to make money in this
technology which he sees as “lacking a
clear business model”
Bill Gates & Internet
• Bill Gates (Chairman of
Microsoft) in the early 1990s did
not think much of the Internet!
• What happened then?
Dan Scarf (CEO of Do Net Solutions) &
Steve Clayton (Director, Cloud Strategy,
• Source: Financial Times:
• Campbell, S (2009), „Timesharing 2.0‟, HPCwire,
66169142.html (Accessed on: 5 April, 2010).
• Financial Times (2009), “Getting to grips with the cloud”,
http://podcast.ft.com/index.php?sid=21&pid=621 (accessed on: 15 December 2009).
• JISC (2009), „Outsourcing Email and Data Storage: Case Studies‟.
• Johnson, B. (2008), „Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman,
The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/sep/29/cloud.
computing.richard.stallman (accessed on: 5 July 2009).
• Leavitt, N. (2009). Is cloud computing really ready for prime time? Computer, 42(1),
• Microsoft (2009), “Case Studies: Do Not Solutions”,
847 (Accessed: 15 December 2009).
• Naughton, J. (2009). There‟s silver lining to Google‟s cloud computing glitch. The
computing (accessed on 21 July 2009).
• Stening, C. (2009). “Every cloud has a Silver Lining”, easynetconnect,
loud-computing-website-article-final.pdf (accessed on: 18 July 2009).
• Sultan, N (2010), „Cloud Computing for Education: A New dawn?‟, International Journal
of Information Management, Vol. 30, No. 2.
• Sultan, N (2010a), „Cloud computing: making headway with the scientific community‟,
High Performance Computing, Nova Publishing.
• Sultan, N (2010b), „The Power of the Cloud in the Hands of SMEs‟, International
Journal of Services Technology and Management, In Peer-Review Process.