Author's note with contact information and more details on collegiate affiliation, etc.
This paper will define cloud computing and mobile cloud computing even while there is no current consensus on their definitions as it is a newly forming field of study and technology. The paper will additionally describe the utility and the structure of mobile cloud and cloud computing. Furthermore, the paper will address topics within the area of mobile cloud and cloud computing that are ripe for intensive research and elucidation. The paper will conclude by offering a sort of philosophical and economical cost-benefit analysis of mobile cloud and cloud computing, as well as select an area of research within this field -- specifically security and privacy issues in mobile and cloud computing use.
The Internet is a piece of technology that has forever changed society. Within its short history, the Internet has changed the experience of computing, as well as the methods in which business is conducted globally. Mobile and cloud computing is a burgeoning technology and a fresh area of research in the academic and professional communities. There are advantages and disadvantages to this technology. There are persistent issues and questions that need to be answered. There are concerns that must be addressed for this technology to sustain profitability and fulfill its potential. The paper will clarify what mobile and clouding computing are and make known potential areas of interest for intensive research. The specific focus of my dissertation will be regarding security and privacy of data for mobile and cloud computing users.
Cloud computing requires the Internet, networks, and servers. Because this is a newly forming technology, there is not yet a consensus on the definition of "cloud computing." The paper will offer a few definitions, and at least a context within which a reader may derive her or his own definition of cloud computing. Cloud computing first requires clouds: "…clouds, or clusters of distributed computers, provide on-demand resources and services over a network, usually the Internet, with the scale and reliability of a data center." (Grossman, "The Case for Cloud Computing," 2010) Cloud computing has nearly changed the computing experience overnight in more than just a superficial way:
"Cloud computing has recently emerged as a compelling paradigm for managing and delivering services over the Internet. The rise of cloud computing is rapidly changing the landscape of information technology, and ultimately turning the long-held promise of utility computing into a reality. However, despite the significant benefits offered by cloud computing, the current technologies are not matured enough to realize its full potential. Many key challenges in this domain, including automatic resource provisioning, power management and security management, are only starting to receive attention from the research community. Therefore, we believe there is still tremendous opportunity for researchers to make groundbreaking contributions in this field, and bring significant impact to their development in the industry." (Zhang et al., "Cloud computing: state-of-the-art and research challenges," 2010)
Below is an illustration that displays some of the advantage cloud computing has over the typical data center:
(Armbrust et al., "A View of Cloud Computing," 2010)
There are a few types of clouds at this point in time, such as private clouds, public clouds, and hybrid clouds. Furthermore,
"A storage cloud provides storage services (block- or file-based); a data cloud provides data management services (record-, column-, or object-based); and a compute cloud provides computational services. Often, they're layered (computer services over data services over storage services) to create a stack of cloud services that acts as a computing platform for developing cloud-based applications…" (Grossman, "The Case for Cloud Computing," 2010)
Like the clouds in the skies, clouds for computing can take several shapes and characteristics. The cloud for computing depends on the services required by the client, and the quality & the quantity of the technology available to sustain the clients' and the clouds' needs:
"The management, cost, and security of clouds depend on whether an organization chooses to buy and operate its own cloud or to obtain cloud services from a third party. A private cloud is devoted to a single organization's internal use; it might be run by the organization itself or outsourced to a third party to operate. Similarly, a private cloud might be owned by the organization itself or leased by the organization. In contrast, a public or hosted cloud is managed by another organization that provides cloud services to a variety of third-party clients using the same cloud resources." (Grossman, "The Case for Cloud Computing," 2010)
Cloud computing is new it of itself, but the kind of pass-as-you-go and pay-only-for-what-you-use technologies have been in existence for some time. Grossman explains:
"On-demand services and resources have been available over the Internet for some time, but today's increased focus on cloud computing is due to three important differences:
• Scale. Some companies that rely on cloud computing have infrastructures that scale over several (or more) data centers.
• Simplicity. Prior to cloud-based computing services, writing code for high-performance and distributed computing was relatively complicated and usually required working with grid-based services, developing code that explicitly passed messages between nodes, and employing other specialized methods. Although simplicity is in the eye of the beholder, most people feel that the cloud-based storage service APIs and MapReduce-style computing APIs are relatively simple compared to previous methods.
• Pricing. Cloud computing is often offered with a pricing model that lets you pay as you go and for just the services that you need. For example, if you need an additional 1,000 computing instances for an hour, you pay just for these 1,000 computing instances and just for the hour that you use them. No capital expenditure is required. The impact has been revolutionary -- by using the Google File System (GFS) and MapReduce, or the Hadoop Distributed File System with its implementation of MapReduce, it's relatively easy for a project to perform a computation over 10 Tbytes of data using 1,000 nodes. Until recently, this would have been out of reach for most projects." (Grossman, "The Case for Cloud Computing," 2010)
Just as mobile phone users have the option to only pay for the minutes they require and use, the same trend appears in regards to computing. This is a primary characteristic of cloud computing.
"Cloud computing is usually offered with a usage-based model in which you pay for just the cloud resources that a particular computation requires. Computations that require additional resources simply request them from the cloud (up to the cloud's overall capacity). Sometimes, the terms elastic or utility computing are used to describe this ability of a cloud to provide additional resources when required. Amazon's S3 and EC2 use this pricing model. Organizations, therefore, have several options for obtaining cloud services, including running their own private clouds or buying cloud services from a third party using the elastic, usage-based pricing model." (Grossman, "The Case for Cloud Computing," 2010)
There are other characteristics of cloud computing that distinguish it from other technologies. One such quality is "virtualization." Zhang explains:
"The character of cloud computing is in the virtualization, distribution, and dynamically extendibility. Virtualization is the main character. Most software and hardware have provided support to virtualization. We can virtualize many factors such as IT resource, software, hardware, operating system and net storage, and manage them in the cloud computing platform; every environment has nothing to do with the physical platform. Carries on the management, the expansion, the migration, the backup through the hypothesized platform, all sorts of operations will be completed through the virtualization level." (Zhang et al., "Cloud Computing Research and Development Trend," 2010)
The Internet, cyberspace, the digital, and the virtual have been around long enough to be taken seriously as terms and as phenomena. Cloud computing is a sort of synthesis or evolution of those combined elements. The virtual occupies space, somewhat theoretically, yet also physically. Virtualization is the plane on which cloud computing exists and operates.
Cloud computing is more than technology and the Internet. It is a system of organization and execution of ideas. It is a method of production and operation. Zhang continues:
"Integrated cloud computing is a whole dynamic computing system. It provides a mandatory application program environment. It can deploy, allocate or reallocate computing resource dynamically and monitor the usage of resources at all times. Generally speaking cloud computing has a distributed foundation establishment, and monitor the distributed system, to achieve the purpose of efficient use of the system. Cloud computing collects all the computing resources and manages them automatically through software. In the process of data analysis, it integrates the history data and present data to make the collected information more accurate and provide more intelligent service for users and enterprises. The users need not care how to buy servers, softwares, solutions and so on. Users can buy the computing resource through internet according to their own needs." (Zhang et al., "Cloud Computing Research and Development Trend," 2010)