Cloud Computing

Similar to:

·Utility Computing

·On-Demand Computing


The history of cloud computing as a concept that would deliver computing resources to different locations through a global network can be said to have originally been introduced in the sixties by Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider often shortened to J.C.R Licklider. J.C.R Licklider’s idea of an “intergalactic computer network” seems to be quite similar to what we are now calling cloud computing. Licklider was responsible for enabling the development of ARPANET. Another pioneer of cloud computing is John McCarthy who envisioned in the beginning of the 1960s that computation may someday be organized as a public utility like water or electricity.  Cloud computing has developed since the 1960s and since the offer of a significant bandwidth in the 1990s; it could be developed to serve the masses. The evolution of cloud computing has gone through many phases such as gird and utility computing, application service provision (ASP), and Software as a Service (SaaS) (Mohammed 2009, Dikaiakos et al 2009).

Application Areas/Examples

Cloud computing application examples and their areas are multiple. Basically it means that all the services one can apply via the Internet could be situated in cloud.  Below are some application examples which on one hand refer to the already existing applications and on the other hand try to describe more future-oriented scenarios for cloud computing applications. Besides the presented scenarios we also give two use cases that simplify the system from two perspectives presented in the scenarios: For example, a company can opt to no longer use purchased accounting software but use an accounting service by another company offering cloud services. Another example is a consumer oriented scenario where a user utilizes cloud services to store very personal data such as videos. This is something that is already happening. In many cases a user does not have to pay for services with any money, but payment of the service is based on commercial messages one has to accept to view when using cloud services.


“A simple example of cloud computing is webmail. Anyone can access their webmail from anywhere in the world simply by knowing the web address of the webmail service, there’s no need to know the name of the server or an IP address or anything else. The webmail provider takes on the job of making sure that there’s enough disk space and processing power to allow all their customers to store and retrieve their mail on demand. The user doesn’t have to worry about maintaining web clients on their PC or, in the case of companies, local email servers.”[1]

ii. Smart Shopping

“A woman is walking down the street of her local town centre. The RFID tag in her jacket is contacted by a local reader. The reader sends the tag’s data to a localization service. The localization service sends this data to a meta-CRM-system that handles consumer related data for that particular area. The CRM system recognizes the consumer, looks up her preferences and offers her via an SMS to her mobile phone – a 20% SALE reduction a nearby shop, if she orders immediately (via WAP/mobile phone), which she does after having had a look at the item in the shop. The payment is processed by a payment service provider, who knows the consumer’s details who charges her credit card. For security purposes, an alert is sent (via a web service) to a credit card clearance agency, who checks the credit card number against recent fraud. Unfortunately, there has been a fraudulent action using this credit card, so the agency informs the police (again via web service). The police management system accesses the location service to get the location of the consumer and sends two policemen from the closest office to speak to the consumer.”[2] (The Think-Trust project).

iii.Nomadic Business Organisation

“A network of business people is spread across the world, but they are working as if they were one company. They do not have any specific physical office space and meetings are held by using online conferencing tools provided by the Cloud. They use on-line storage for documents, a service-based customer relationship management (CRM) system, and service-based financial performance management software.  The membership of the network is highly dynamic, i.e. people join and leave on a very short-notice basis. The software components are used by this organization via the Cloud, i.e. without knowing where these services actually run. So not only are the consumers of the services “nomadic”, but the services that this organization consumes have no physical location themselves either.”[3] (The Think-Trust project).

iv.Cloud-delivered environments being used within various organizations the federal government

“The Air Force deployed MyBase, a 3-D virtual recruiting and training platform deployed in Second Life in December, 2008. It was made available to the public, and includes the ability to model base configurations, deploy on-line conferences, and welcome civilians and soldiers to its representation of real physical bases. Similarly, the National Guard has developed U.S. Nexus to provide the same capabilities and is scheduled be deployed in November, 2009”….“Second Life figures in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mission of sharing real-life health alerts through avatars in the on-line community. It is also finding that its presence is felt through outreach and community building”…..“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAA Virtual World allows the agency to share its laboratories, classes, research discussions, and conference spaces with students, citizens, policymakers, and scientists worldwide. A key initiative is this environment’s ability to test data virtualization, or collaborative geographic information systems” (Paquette et al 2010, p.248).

v.Medical practice/patient information sharing

“Sharing patient data, particularly medical images, across the multiple institutions from which patients receive health care services is a problem for which no good solution currently exists. Some institutions provide images and reports on portable media such as compact discs, while some continue to print film. Multisite institutions with business relationships may invest in network connections and virtual private networks to perform electronic data transfers. Each of these approaches is problematic and costly and adversely affects the quality of care. In a cloud computing environment, patients’ images and other medical data could be stored in a virtual generic archive and accessed by health care providers as needed through the cloud. This could facilitate the sharing of data and significantly reduce local storage requirements.” (Andriole & Khorasani 2010).

Definition and Defining Features


One can state, that Cloud computing is a recent trend in IT that moves computing and data away from desktop and portable PCs into large data centres. It basically means that software, different kind of services and applications are all delivered as services over the Internet as well as to the actual cloud infrastructure (Dikaiakos et al 2009, Gartner 2009). From a user point of view, it means that a  user can access their files, data, programs and other services from a Web browser via the Internet that are hosted by other service providers (Won 2009). On the other hand one can also look at Cloud computing from a more general view and define Cloud Computing as a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers using Internet technologies. As enterprises seek to consume their IT services in the most cost-effective way, interest is growing in drawing a broad range of services (for example, computational power, storage and business applications) from the “cloud,” rather than from on-premises equipment. The levels of hype around Cloud computing in the IT industry are deafening, with every vendor expounding its cloud strategy and variations, such as private Cloud computing and hybrid approaches, compounding the hype (Gartner 2009).

Defining Features

·Resource/storage virtualization: The resources and services are delivered to users and/or organizations via Internet from resource clouds where almost all information and tools are preserved.  Resources can be added or removed based on the changes in needs. The services could be provided by “pay per use pricing” model.  The storage of data may well be in multiple physical locations across many servers around the world possibly owned and administrated by various organizations. There may also be interconnections of multiple services across the cloud. At different levels functionality of different providers is connected to provide a specific service to an end-user. From a business point of view, the most important change is that Cloud computing shift software business from product business to service oriented business.

·Scalability, elasticity, efficiency of resource sharing and usage optimizing/optimized by usage: Resources from the service provider are thought to be used with maximum efficiency and serve multiple needs for multiple parties at the same time, as they are shared with other consumers or organizations. People or organizations might not know where the information or services are coming from or where their information is preserved.

·Accessibility, ease of usage, fast information sharing, delivery and control: Ease of use of cloud services is emphasized in many scenarios. The service experience is assumed to be smooth and quick with very fast and optimized connections. As one does not have to install anything on their own computer, it is assumed that one will always have the most suitable version of the software and service and that  the incompatibility with products and services will no more be a problem. On the other hand if the system or service updates automatically then service could also appear as totally different every time one uses it.


Cloud Computing is already in use for many applications (e.g. photographic storage). There is a fast growth of cloud based service business that is currently happening and there are big expectations that growth will continue in the forthcoming years. Apart from consumer targeted services which are already in existence (Facebook, Flickr, email services etc.) there is also belief that professional applications are increasing with evolution rather than revolution due to investments in current solutions (Fenn et. al. 2009).

Relation to other Technologies

Cloud Computing can be part of any kind of Internet related activity now or in the future. It is one of the enabling technologies for Future Internet and Ambient Intelligence.

Critical Issues

Issues such as trust and reliability are self-evident and possible risks for utilizing cloud computing applications. The questions of data ownership and security, quality of service or service agreements arise when scenarios for Cloud computing are presented. For example one might be forced by agreement to give away one’s ownership of data if utilizing free cloud services. Similarly, the duration of agreement may be defined to be eternal or very troublesome to dissolve.


Academic publications

Andriole, K. P., Khorasani. R. (2010). Cloud Computing: What Is It and Could It Be Useful? In Journal of the American College of Radiology. Vol. 7, No. 4, Pp. 252-254 (April 2010)

Dikaiakos, M. D., Katsaros, D., Mehra, P., Pallis, G., Vakali, A. (2009). Cloud Computing: Distributed Internet Computing for IT and Scientific Research.  In IEEE Internet Computing, Vol. 13, No. 5, Pp. 10-13, September/October, 2009.

Paquette, S., Jaeger, P.T. Wilson, S.C. (2010). Identifying the security risks associated with governmental use of cloud computing. In Government Information Quarterly

Won, Kim (2009) Cloud Computing: Today and Tomorrow. Journal of Object technology. Vol. 8, No. 1, January-February 2009.


Mohamed, A. (2009, March 27). A History of Cloud Computing. Retrieved 13 June 2010, from ComputerWeekly:

Cloud Computing. Retrieved on 8 June, 2010 from

Research groups/projects/market information

Fenn, J., Raskino, M., Gammage, B. (2009). Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. Gartner. Retrieved 13 June 2010 from:

The Think-Trust project: Think-Trust (FP7-216890) is a project funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme, within the Unit F5 ICT for Trust and Security. It is investigating Trust, Security, Dependability, Privacy and Identity from ICT and Societal Perspectives. Retrieved 8 June, 2010 from