Technology.am (Apr. 17, 2009) — Clouds are on the horizon and could change the way we use computers forever. Cloud computing has the potential to bring about irreversible changes in the way computers are used around the world.
“The cloud computing phenomenon is more than just another technological fad – it combines the benefits of outsourcing and pay-per-use and provides companies with a springboard for further innovation”, explains Jordi Torres, coordinator of the Cloud Computing (CC) research team at the UPC, which works under the supervision of the High Performance Computing Group, is in New York.
In general terms, cloud computing can be described as a web architecture that allows users to work and save information online.
David Carrera, one of the directors of the CC team, said “The aim is to move all of the applications installed on our computers to a remote location.” In other words, to do away with a number of standard components, including operating systems and hard disks, and make them accessible through an online desktop accessed via a standard browser.
The CC team is also researching systems for coordinating the thousands of terminals and nodes that make up the cloud, which is one of the principal concerns of companies in the IT sector.
In the opinion of Ricard Gavaldà, the real magic of cloud computing lies in the automatic and intelligent management of the software and hardware used by thousands of computers: “By applying artificial intelligence to the cloud, we are hoping to develop a system through which computers can manage themselves”. This is known as ‘autonomic computing’.
‘Virtualization’, ‘utility computing’ and ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) are key concepts in understanding the potential of the cloud. Their basic function is to create multiple virtual machines within a single physical computer to make it more efficient.
Utility computing is the provision of computational resources, such as processing or storage, as if they were traditional public utilities (electricity, water and gas). The advantage of this system is its low cost, as the hardware required is extremely cheap and the resources themselves are essentially rented.
It will also have a significant impact on the business sector and the wider community, although its specific repercussions in Catalonia are yet to be seen. While some companies are already working in this field, such as eyeOS and Abiquo, many others in the ICT sector will clearly have to adjust their business strategies to accommodate such far-reaching changes.