Cloud Computing on Day Two
Cloud Computing – Marshall Breeding – Vanderbuilt University – Trends to Watch for Libraries
Marshall’s presentation helped put the concept of cloud computing into very practical terms for me since it is already becoming more and more pervasive in our library jobs and personal lives. On a very small scale, I used cloud computing when I stored this very document on Google Docs rather than on my computer. But before I mention library applications, here are a few characteristics of cloud computing as put forth by the speaker:
- Highly abstracted computing model
- On demand – pay for what you get – time, storage space, performance
- Scaled according to variable needs
- Discrete virtual machines
- Computer cycles on demand
- Storage on demand
“Elastic” is a term often used with it – consumption of resources can contract and expand according to demand.
There is a fundamental shift taking place in way technology is deployed. First, we had Mainframe Computing. Thankfully, the days of huge servers taking up entire rooms is over. Client/Server computing is now the standard, the its time is quickly dying. Cloud Computing is quickly taking its place for a variety of reasons.
Among the advantages is increasing opportunities to eliminate local servers and tech support. Many libraries cannot support the cost of systems and network administrators which command higher salaries than professional librarians. With cloud computing, you eliminate hardware replacement, operating systems, upgrades etc.
Libraries are already using hosted services with many automation systems, serial services and commercial databases. With Google Apps Education Edition of Gmail, many universities are moving their student email off-site into the Cloud while still retaining institutional domain names.
This trend continues into our personal and professional lives with the use of Google Docs, Drop Box, SlideShare and Microsoft Office 365 being used to store our documents, spreadsheets and presentations as well as share them with others.
Marshall concluded his talk with a brief discussion on security and privacy issues with cloud computing. There are private clouds as well as public clouds and depending on how secure you need your information to be, you will need to choose wisely the kind of cloud you enter!
Entry filed under: conferences.