Cloud Computing: Clear skies ahead
3 | March 1, 2012 E-conomics
Cloud computing is a very broad term which, despite various attempts at precisedefinition (see box 1), often remains nebulous
, floating somewhere in the wideexpanse between the flexible delivery of IT software and capacities through tointernet applications, collaboration software, video conferencing andSETI@home
. This hazy interpretation gives rise to often-overblown businessexpectations of cloud computing. Companies are told, for example, that cloudcomputing can save them nearly 80% of their IT energy costs.With all these positive expectations, however, the actual concept behind thebuzzword often gets lost. Basically, cloud computing takes the idea of IToutsourcing a stage further. The intention is to enable users to concentrate ontheir core competences and farm out peripheral parts of their operations tospecialised service providers. Cloud vendors advertise with the argument thatthey can make memory capacity and software available, for a charge, via the
Web whatever the user‘s location and equipment and that they can rapidly
adapt their services to requirements. They like to subsume these offers under
the heading ―Internet of services‖. Cloud users are motivated chiefly by
considerations of reducing their IT capacities, which are designed for the fewmoments of peak demand, and of converting some of this fixed expenditure intovariable costs.This study analyses the economic potential of cloud computing. The first partexamines the theory forming the basis of cloud technologies. Besides explainingthe most important terms and concepts, it identifies the main drivers andobstacles. The second section goes on to present empirical insights into cloud
computing at Germany‘s SME Mittelstand businesses. For an empirically
underpinned investigation, techconsult und HP Deutschland have designed a
Mittelstand‖, whose periodic waves of data collection also make it
possible to deliver an analysis over time. The concluding section of the studyevaluates the analytical and empirical findings and discusses the prospects forfurther development of the cloud computing market.
More than just a cloud formation
Depending on their deployment model, cloud computing services are divided asfollows into the two pure forms Public Cloud and Private Cloud and a compositeform, the Hybrid Cloud (see chart 2):
In the case of apublic cloudIT resources or software are provided by an
external supplier via the Web. Users‘ data and applications are all located
on the same physical infrastructure but with separate individual allocation. Inthis instance several users therefore share the cloud infrastructure.
private cloudIT resources or software are customised to therequirements of a single user and provided exclusively to that user by anexternal provider or even from within the user company. In this case onesingle user therefore has exclusive use of the special cloud infrastructure.The distinction between this and traditional hosting is somewhat blurred.
See Heng, Stefan and Florian Schüler (2011). Cloud Computing: The term will disappear, but theidea will continue to catch on. Deutsche Bank Research. Talking Point. Frankfurt am Main.
One of the cloud computing projects to have captured considerable public interest isSETI@home. This is an internet-based public volunteer computing project with the aim ofidentifying signs of extraterrestrial intelligence from the overwhelming volume of data receivedfrom space.
See National Institute of Standards and Technology (2011). The NIST Definition of CloudComputing. Draft. And: Berlecon (2010). Das wirtschaftliche Potenzial des Internets der Dienste.Berlin.BITKOM definition of cloud computing
Germany‘s Federal Association for Information
Technology, Telecommunications and NewMedia, BITKOM, gives the following definition ofcloud computing in its cloud computing manual
―Leitfaden Cloud Computing: Was Entscheider wissen müssen‖ (Berlin 2010):
―Cloud computing is a way of delivering shared,
flexible and scalable IT services through non-firmly allocated IT resources over a network.Typical characteristics are real-time, metereddelivery as a self-service on the basis of internettechnologies charged according to use. Cloudcomputing thus enables users to reallocateinvestment expenditure to operating expenses.The IT services can cover applications,application development and operating
platforms and basic infrastructure.‖