The cloud within us

March 27, 2013

The first tentative steps towards a peer-to-peer approach to cloud computing that enables users and removes the risks and costs of relying on industry giants to offer services are being taken by an international team of researchers.

Cloud computing is gradually becoming more and more pervasive as accessibility to broadband internet connections and always-on mobile devices rise. As a system, cloud computing takes on to remote and often distributed computers - the cloud - the software applications and data files that would normally be held on one's personal computer. Major players in the computing industry including, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle/Sun have finally weighed in on the cloud, while the Internet giants, including and Amazon, have been offering cloud services for email, web hosting, data storage, online and much more for several years. The issue from the users' point of view is that one might become entirely reliant on services that may not persist indefinitely or that may come at a rising cost.

Hajar Mousannif of Cadi Ayyad University, in Marrakech, Morocco working with Ismail Khalil and Gabriele Kotsis at University, Linz, Austria, explain that cloud computing relies on various services and systems. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the online applications, such as web-based email among well-known examples are GoogleApps and There is then the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which includes the likes of Microsoft Windows Azure and Amazon Web Services. PaaS allows users to deploy their own applications. Finally, there is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), this offers access to and/or in the cloud and examples include Rackspace, , and Eucalyptus.

"With , users can access the services based on their requirements regardless of where the services are hosted or how they are delivered," the team says. "Moreover, clients only pay for the quantity of the rented resources (, computation, etc.) they consume." But, they then ask, "Why even pay when you can simply cooperate to get the services you need?"

The collaborators are now introducing a new Peer-to-Peer (P2P) cloud architecture, which they call Cooperation as a Service (CaaS). The system, they say, provides participants with all the necessary infrastructure, platform and software services in the cloud by taking advantage of cooperation among different peers in the system rather than relying on corporate third-party systems.

The proposed CaaS cloud architecture enables computers to share information and other resources with peers on the network in large-scale distributed computing environments. The team explains that the principle relies on a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" approach of mutual assistance. This, they explain, fuels spontaneous participation among the peers, if they don't assist each other, then their own services will not function. Several challenges remain, such as creating a large enough network to sustain a CaaS and to ensure security and privacy are maintained at the level required by each user.

Explore further: Sun Microsystems to offer 'public cloud' service

More information: "The cloud is not 'there', we are the cloud!" in Int. J. Web and Grid Services, 2013, 9, 1-17.

Related Stories

Sun Microsystems to offer 'public cloud' service

March 18, 2009

(AP) -- Taking a cue from, Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to launch its own "public cloud" service, which will let everyone from big-time corporations to dorm-room entrepreneurs run their businesses on Sun's computers ...

Oracle buys 'cloud' service firm RightNow

October 24, 2011

Enterprise software giant Oracle said Monday it had struck a deal to buy RightNow Technologies, which helps companies manage their cloud computing activities, for $1.5 billion.

Final version of NIST cloud computing definition published

October 26, 2011

After years in the works and 15 drafts, the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) working definition of cloud computing, the 16th and final definition has been published as The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing ...

Head for the clouds, feet firmly on the ground

March 5, 2012

Computer engineers in the US writing in the International Journal of Communication Networks and Distributed Systems have reviewed the research literature to get a clear picture of cloud computing, its adoption, use and the ...

Virtual servers begin to intrigue smaller businesses

July 5, 2012

With the growing buzz around cloud computing - and its benefits of ramping up efficiency while cutting information technology costs - some smaller companies are beginning to weigh its pros and cons, while acknowledging it ...

Recommended for you

Roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

December 1, 2015

Babies learn about the world by exploring how their bodies move in space, grabbing toys, pushing things off tables and by watching and imitating what adults are doing.

Xbox gaming technology may improve X-ray precision

December 1, 2015

With the aim of producing high-quality X-rays with minimal radiation exposure, particularly in children, researchers have developed a new approach to imaging patients. Surprisingly, the new technology isn't a high-tech, high-dollar ...

Making 3-D imaging 1,000 times better

December 1, 2015

MIT researchers have shown that by exploiting the polarization of light—the physical phenomenon behind polarized sunglasses and most 3-D movie systems—they can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging devices ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.