Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cloud computing: news of the future from Brussels

(Posted on behalf of Bob Jones, Enabling Grids for E-sciencE project director)

Cloud technology continues to be on the rise and I believe in the future it will be the foundation of much scientific and business computing. We are still in the early days of this transformation. The technology is not finished developing, and regulators are a long way from hammering the details of cloud computing policy.

Cloud technologies offer enormous advantages in terms of control, performance, transparency and reliability. But they also raise questions of security and responsibly. (Whose laws apply, for example, when a company is run from one country but offers services in another?)

Yet, these issues are starting to be addressed. This week I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting in Brussels which presented a report, “The Future of Cloud Computing – Opportunities for European Cloud Computing Beyond 2010” which was distributed at the meeting and will be available via the internet for download within a few days. The report was produced by an expert group of some 30 people across Europe (from academia, research and business sectors) . This event was organised by the EC and approximately 200 hundred people attended including many EGEE-III partners and collaborating projects. The agenda for the event is here (PDF 107 KB).

The EC is seeking comments on the report until the 15th of February. Read it and send in your feedback to INFSO-ST (AT)

A summary of the day’s conversations:

  • Clouds are here today and industry is moving to embrace them.
  • Clouds build on the developments of grids but there are notable differences between grids and clouds in the eyes of the EC and the expert group.
  • US vendors have taken the lead in cloud offerings but the market will be large and is still young.
  • Still many technology issues to be addressed hence opportunities for new vendors that can overcome them.
  • Clouds are also challenging the legal frameworks. Governments should not implement regulation too early since there are still issues to be addressed but a clear international legal framework will be necessary for cloud services.
  • The expert group will continue and would like feedback on subjects to be covered.
  • Cloud Computing R&D development will be supported by the future EC work programmes (2011-2013).
  • EC sees a global approach to cloud computing as important and wants to do it together with other regions (e.g. USA).
(Thanks to Alberto Di Meglio for help compiling these notes.)

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