“The Gaia AGIS Cloud experiment has been very successful for us. It indicates that bringing the data processing to The Cloud can provide us with savings of up 50% compared to using in house hardware. An additional advantage is that it gives us the ability to scale to far more processors that we could have in house which means essentially that we can finish the job sooner”
William O’Mullane, Gaia Science Operations Development Manager, European Space Agency
Cloud Architectures refers to the design and development of software architectures that make effective use of the cloud services. Applications that are built on Cloud Architectures are those that:
- Optimally perform the tasks to fulfill the business need.
- Only use the underlying computing infrastructure when needed.
- Scale based on current demands, assigning and provisioning/de-provisioning servers and storage as needed.
Cloud Architectures can be private
(hosted within an organization’s firewall) or public
(hosted on the Internet such as Amazon EC2/S3). These characteristics lead to a set of core value benefits:
- Scalability on Demand: All organizations have to deal with changes in their IT environments. The ability of Cloud Computing solutions to scale up and down is a major benefit (hundreds of images running in minutes). Organizations have periods of time in which their computing resource needs are much higher or lower than normal, cloud technologies (both private and public) can deal with those changes. This is the elasticity of Cloud Computing.
- Streamlining the Data Center: Organizations of any size will have a substantial investment in their data centers. This includes buying and maintaining the hardware and software, providing the facilities in which the hardware is housed and hiring the personnel who keep the data center running. Organizations can streamline its data center by taking advantage of cloud technologies internally or by offloading workload into the public Clouds.
- Improving Business Processes: Organizations and their suppliers and partners can share data and applications in the cloud, allowing everyone involved to focus on the business process instead of the infrastructure that hosts it.
- Minimizing Start-up Costs: For companies that are just starting out, organizations in emerging markets, or even “Skunk Works” groups in larger organizations, Cloud Computing greatly reduces start-up costs. The new organization starts with an infrastructure already in place, so the time and other resources that would be spent on building a data center are borne by the cloud provider, whether the cloud is private or public.
- Potential for shrinking the processing time: Depending of the scenario, parallelization can be optimally used and be cost-effective in compute-intensive or data-intensive jobs in order to drastically reduce the amount of time used to execute it.