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The Rise of RaaS: The Resource-as-a-Service Cloud

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The Rise of RaaS: The Resource-as-a-Service Cloud, illustration

Credit: Andrij Borys Associates

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Cloud computing is taking the computer world by storm. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds (such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, and EC2) allow anyone with a credit card to tap into a seemingly unlimited fountain of computing resources by renting virtual machines for several cents or dollars per hour. Forrester Research30 predicted the cloud computing market could top $241 billion in 2020, compared to $40.7 billion in 2010, a sixfold increase. What will the 2020 clouds look like? Given the pace of innovation in cloud computing and other utilities (such as smart grids and wireless spectra), substantial shifts are bound to occur in the way providers design, operate, and sell cloud computing resources and how clients purchase and use them.

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IaaS cloud providers sell fixed bundles of CPU, memory, and I/O resources packaged as server-equivalent virtual machines called guest machines. We foresee providers will continuously update the price and quantity of the individual resources in time granularity as fine as seconds and the software stack within the virtual machines will evolve accordingly to operate in this dynamic environment. We call this new model of cloud computing the Resource-as-a-Service (RaaS) cloud. In it, provider-governed economic mechanisms will control clients' access to resources. Clients will thus deploy economic software agents that will continuously buy and sell computing resources in accordance with the provider's current supplies and other clients' demands.


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