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Cloud Computing: Principles and Paradigms

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Cloud computing has recently emerged as one of the buzzwords in the ICT industry. Numerous IT vendors are promising to offer computation, storage, and application hosting services and to provide coverage in several continents, offering service-level agreements (SLA)-backed performance and uptime promises for their services. While these “clouds” are the natural evolution of traditional data centers, they are distinguished by exposing resources (computation, data/storage, and applications) as standards-based Web services and following a “utility” pricing model where customers are charged based on their utilization of computational resources, storage, and transfer of data. They offer subscription-based access to infrastructure, platforms, and applications that are popularly referred to as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service). While these emerging services have increased interoperability and usability and reduced the cost of computation, application hosting, and content storage and delivery by several orders of magnitude, there is significant complexity involved in ensuring that applications and services can scale as needed to achieve consistent and reliable operation under peak loads.

Currently, expert developers are required to implement cloud services. Cloud vendors, researchers, and practitioners alike are working to ensure that potential users are educated about the benefits of cloud computing and the best way to harness the full potential of the cloud. However, being a new and popular paradigm, the very definition of cloud computing depends on which computing expert is asked. So, while the realization of true utility computing appears closer than ever, its acceptance is currently restricted to cloud experts due to the perceived complexities of interacting with cloud computing providers.

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