Cloud Computing/Media in the Cloud
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
Cloud computing refers to storage and processing that occurs in a networked environment rather than relying on personal computers. From simple storage and sharing of media (Flickr, Picasa, and other photo sharing sites; YouTube, Vimeo, and others for video; Drop.io for storing and geocaching any kind of material) to browser- based authoring applications like VuVox, VoiceThread, Prezi, and others, cloud-based media tools use remote servers to store data and provide service to users. The result is shared content that is less expensive to store, easier to manage, access and share, and often more true to the dynamic nature of knowledge that emerges from university settings.
Cloud computing also allows smaller institutions to contribute their own research data to the broader field, formerly populated only by institutions large enough to afford a privately maintained computing infrastructure. One challenge facing universities, however, is the lack of skills they currently provide students to help them meet the demand that cloud-based computing is putting on information technology specialists. Private sector companies such as IBM, Google, and Amazon have initiated relationships within universities in an effort to bridge that knowledge gap.
Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression
- Photography classes use Flickr to review student work, providing an easy way to discuss not only the final image but also camera settings used.
- Browser-based applications allow university researchers to host, share and refine findings in cooperation with one another in real time without the constraints of working with locally stored data.
- Universities use cloud-based media storage space and applications, which are often free, so that students may create web-based portfolios not subject to the limits of students’ personally owned software utilities.
- Marian College, in Indianapolis, Indiana, with a student body of 2,100, has made virtual servers available over the network on demand and created volume flexibility for its internal operations: http://www.informationweek.com/news/services/saas/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=214400399
- Oxford University professors use cloud computing to host, share and analyze information for the Malaria Atlas Project, which tracks the prevalence and spread of the disease: http://www.map.ox.ac.uk/
- The University of Melbourne addresses the issue of underdeveloped cloud computing skills among recent graduates by sponsoring research on the design and development of different cloud platforms for a range of applications: http://www.gridbus.org/megha/
For Further Reading
Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing
http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-28.html (Michael Armbrust et al., Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2009-28, February 10, 2009.)
The authors posit that cloud computing has the potential to transform the IT industry by creating computing services with less risk of over- or under-provisioning based on fluctuating demand and by creating an elasticity of storage and processing resources.
A Genomic Clue to Cloud Computing
(Gwyneth Dickey, UM Newsdesk, April, 23, 2009.) Professors at the University of Maryland are researching how cloud computing can help small labs analyze DNA sequencing data.