Monday, December 17, 2007

Cloud computing is the way forward rather than the Grid

[Savas Parastatidis is part of Tony Hey's Technical Computing team at Microsoft. He recently gave and excellent presentation at SC07 called "The Web as the Platform for Research" at the Grid Computing Environments (GCE) workshop.

I completely agree with his assertion that “Cloud computing is the way forward rather than the Grid. Organizations are not going to be sharing resources [where] you can definitely get resources cheaper from the cloud rather than having to maintain, and then share them with others. “

The Amazon Ec2/S3 services are a good example of this trend towards cloud computing and I expect soon many other large organizations like IBM, Microsoft and Google will be offering cloud services as well.

As I mentioned in previous postings the cost of using cloud services is often cheaper than the cost of power and cooling a typical cluster at a university, never mind the overhead and operational costs of such a facility.

As well many small commercial organizations are establishing a variety of free web services and tool for the research and education community using cloud services like Amazon. They make money whenever a third party researcher uses these free services on the compute cloud - sort of a sophisticated "click advertising" revenue model. This also frees up the researcher from worrying about the complexity and politics of using a grid or local HPC resource and can instead focus on their core competency of their research field. - BSA]