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A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing: New Report

The long dreamed vision of computing as a utility is finally emerging

Founded through the generous support of Google, Microsoft and Sun, UC Berkeley's RAD Lab has released "A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing" - a technical report arguing that the construction and operation of extremely large-scale, commodity-computer data centers at low-cost locations was the key necessary enabler of Cloud Computing, and outlining ten obstacles including Data Confidentiality and Auditability, Bugs in Large-Scale Distributed Systems, and what the report calls Reputation Fate Sharing.

"The long dreamed vision of computing as a utility is finally emerging," the report nonetheless concludes.

Among the remarks in the Executive Summary is the observation that' "companies with large batch-oriented tasks can get results as quickly as their programs can scale, since using 1000 servers for one hour costs no more than using one server for 1000 hours."

Other forthright statements by the reports' authors include the following:

On Cloud Computing's Fundamental Impact

"Cloud Computing is likely to have the same impact on software that foundries have had on the hardware industry."

On the Economic Benefits of the Cloud

"Although the economic appeal of Cloud Computing is often described as 'converting capital expenses to operating expenses' (CapEx to OpEx), we believe the phrase 'pay as you go' more directly captures the economic benefit to the buyer."

On the Opportunities for Application Developers

"While we have yet to see fundamentally new types of applications enabled by Cloud Computing, we believe that several important classes of existing applications will become even more compelling with Cloud Computing and contribute further to its momentum."

The ten potential obstacles are labeled by the report as follows:

  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
  9. Reputation Fate Sharing
  10. Software Licensing

The report, titled "Above the Clouds," is essential reading for anyone involved in Cloud Computing today and tomorrow.

Authored by Michael Armbrust, Armando Fox, Rean Griffith, Anthony D. Joseph, Randy H. Katz, Andrew Konwinski, Gunho Lee, David A. Patterson, Ariel Rabkin, Ion Stoica and Matei Zaharia. The authors request that any comments be sent to them at abovetheclouds (at) cs.berkeley.edu.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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