Research project to investigate cloud computing technologies
Aston University in Birmgham, UK, is involved in a £1.2m research project which is set to investigate the possibilities of next generation ‘cloud’ technologies for large scale and complex IT systems.
Engineers from Aston’s Computer Science group are collaborating with the University of Bristol and University of St Andrews to evaluate ‘cloud computing’ and associated technologies and their relevance to SME’s and large organisations in the future.
‘Cloud computing’ allows individual computers and other devices to gain access to infrastructure, platforms and software applications on demand, via a ‘utility’ service similar to accessing the electricity grid.
This new service, accessed via the internet, allows information to be stored in a ‘cloud’ by remote and large scale date centres, with individuals and organisations then able to access services to suit their own particular business requirements.
Aston University researchers will be creating maths based models to exploring the dependability, resilience and performance levels of these new large-scale IT ‘clouds’. They will be developing theory and methods which will allow both researchers to assess reliability and service quality and simple ‘toolkits’ for business users to easily assess future needs.
Pricing, resources, service speed and social, environmental and technical implications of developing cloud technologies will also be examined.
Dr Radu Calinescu, Lecturer in Computing at Aston University, said; “One vision is to see ‘cloud computing’ as the next major utility service such as gas and electricity, with perhaps a number of very large companies providing on-line services.
“‘Cloud computing’ provides new technologies that can be tailored for different customers, but likewise this also creates lots of challenges including security, power usage and cooling issues. Through the creation of maths based models we will be assess many areas including cost versus reliability and performance to satisfy user demands. Similarly we want to provide simple programs which will help users decide how many service and applications they require to suit the needs of their own customer base.”
Dr Calinescu believes small and medium enterprises in particular will benefit from the new technologies.
He added; “The ability to access a system remotely could significantly reduce equipment and running costs for SME’s. The clouds can also offer flexibility, allowing individual businesses to access different levels of services depending on their busiest times of year.
“Cloud computing technologies are really just starting out as a technology in their own right and levels of dependability and mechanisms need to be introduced and embraced to take these ideas forward.”
The three-year project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council with a studentship and research post being made available for the project.