Deakin works to move clouds into the computing mainstream
13 May 2009
Researchers at Deakin University have started work on a project they hope will make cloud computing – where high performance computing services are provided from the Internet to multiple clients – more accessible, reliable and efficient.
Cloud computing is a field many of the big names in IT, including Google and Amazon, are already working in and it is a field Deakin's Professor Andrzej Goscinski believes has enormous potential, particularly when it comes to the problems businesses face in meeting their IT needs.
"For many businesses, providing IT capabilities is very costly. Computer systems must be bought and upgraded, new software installed, systems maintained and computer specialists hired and trained. In some instances the amount of data businesses need to collect and store is also increasing, and of course there are the energy costs of running IT equipment as well," he said.
Professor Goscinski said cloud computing was attractive to businesses on a number of levels.
"With cloud computing businesses only pay for the IT services they use. Because computing is done in a remote, unknown location – out in the Internet clouds – rather than on a private computer, business administrators can concentrate on the management of their applications rather than spending money on buying, managing and upgrading servers. Small businesses can gain access to world class IT systems that might otherwise be unaffordable to them," he said. Businesses could also make their computing resources available to other users during downtimes.
While the potential of cloud computing is impressive, Professor Goscinski said the technology was still in its infancy and a number of issues needed to be resolved before its benefits can be fully realised.
"As yet there is no easily accessible 'directory' to cloud computing resources. In general, clients cannot easily locate or configure services to meet their requirements. There are also issues that need to be addressed in regard to assessing the quality of the service being offered and how resources are managed.
"Due to these issues, cloud computing is currently the domain of a few highly experienced specialists with expertise in distributed computing and operating systems. For cloud computing to become commonly used, these problems need to be solved and this is what we are working towards at Deakin," Professor Goscinski said.
"We are starting a project that will break down these problems and provide a framework for building an infrastructure for providing cloud IT services on demand with vastly enhanced capability. The project involves developing a big-picture view of infrastructure for cloud computing. We will develop and employ the holistic approach of autonomic and service computing to understanding and synthesising a uniform vision of service provisioning, cloud virtualisation, service-oriented architecture (SOA) based software integration, transparent and efficient dynamic resource sharing, resource discovery and reliability, and quality of service and reputation.
"The expected outcomes of this project have the potential to significantly change the cloud computing marketplace and to provide a basis for cloud standardisation work. In many respects I believe clouds are the future of computing, so it is an exciting time to be working in this field," he said.
Professor Goscinski said the new project builds on Deakin's previous work in developing a Resources Via Web Instances (RVWI) framework for showing the state (static and dynamic) and characteristics, which describe the resources that they represent, of web services through their Web Services Description Language (WSDL) documents.
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