Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the term used when users such as businesses and public administrations, using networks such as the internet, access data and software stored on a service provider’s computers in another location. Cloud computing is a key enabling information technologies that can help European businesses, particularly SMEs, to drastically reduce IT costs, help governments provide services at a lower cost to citizens and make computing much more energy efficient.
Cost savings potentially stem from businesses and public administrations no longer needing to install and maintain software and computing equipment of their own, nor manage data storage facilities in-house.

While definitions of cloud computing vary, some of the essential characteristics can be summarised as:

  • Rapid elasticity: ability to scale resources both up and down as needed. To the end-user or consumer this means as much or as little computing power can be purchased as and when needed.
  • On-demand self-service: consumers can use cloud computing services as needed without the need for human interaction with the provider.

There are three main delivery models:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Key computing resources are used by the end-user/consumer for processing power, storage, networking components or middleware. End-users/consumers have control over the operating system, storage, deployed applications, and possibly networking components (firewalls, load balancers) but not the underlying cloud infrastructure beneath them.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) – PaaS is normally an application framework. The end-user/consumer applications are on a hosting environment. The end-user/consumer has control over their application, and possibly also some control over the hosting environment. The end-user/consumer does not have control over the operating system, hardware or network infrastructure on which the applications run.

Software as a Service (SaaS) – The end-user uses an application but does not control the operating system, hardware or network infrastructure on which it is running.

RESERVOIR’s Contribution to Cloud computing

The framework developed is a blue print to build a RESERVOIR Cloud with the codes and architecture specifications needed. Cloud providers can now build an even bigger cloud with the balancing of workloads, lowering costs, moving workloads across geogrpahic locations through a federation of Clouds.

There is a clear value-add for end-users and companies that are new, more cost-effective services based on RESERVOIR technologies. Industry has provided a clear route to gain revenue from spin-out technologies. European companies and academic institutions are now enabling all sorts of organizations with new products, know-how and training. RESERVOIR has also brought expertise in risk assessment frameworks by working in synergy with the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

Europe has gained from the set of artefacts that have ben produced and distributed in open source code. RESERVOIR has also committed to open standards, which are crucial to avoid vendor lock-in and level the playing field for all. It is this combination of open source software and open standards that is helping businesses particularly in a slow market, while also assisting future research on Cloud computing.