University of California, Berkeley professors David Patterson and Armando Fox, researchers at Berkeley's Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems Laboratory, have co-authored "Above the Clouds," a paper that analyzes the emerging cloud computing model. In this interview, the professors discuss the impact that cloud computing will have on high-performance computing (HPC).
Fox says the presence of massive data centers comprised of tens of thousands of commodity computers is the single most important technological element supporting the viability of cloud computing. Patterson says this and other innovations are accompanied by a business model that delivers the semblance of unlimited computing resources available on demand, the removal of an up-front commitment by cloud users, and the ability to pay for using computing resources on a short-term basis as needed and to let them go when not needed. Fox acknowledges that the adoption of cloud computing could be potentially hindered by the uncertainty of having one's data and applications "locked in the cloud," and Patterson notes that dependence on a single cloud computing provider carries a risk to business continuity. Fox says the provision of standardized application programming interfaces with cross-vendor functionality would help solve two challenges to cloud computing
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