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Cloud Computing Opportunities in HPC: Market Taxonomy

by Christopher G. Willard, Ph.D., Addison Snell, Laura Segervall
for Intersect360 Research
Dec 29, 2009

as published in HPCWire

This article is excerpted from “Cloud Opportunities in HPC: Market Taxonomy,” published by InterSect360 Research. The full article was distributed to subscribers of the InterSect360 market advisory service and can also be obtained by contacting sales@intersect360.com.

In Life, the Universe, and Everything, the third book of Douglas Adams’ whimsical Hitchhiker fantasy trilogy, cosmic wayfarer Ford Prefect describes how an object, even a large object, could effectively be rendered invisible to the general populace by surrounding it with an “SEP field” that causes would-be observers to avoid recognizing Somebody Else’s Problem. “An SEP,” Ford helpfully explains, “is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem.”

If we were to reinterpret SEP to stand for “Somebody Else’s Processing,” we would be well on the way to a definition of cloud computing.

The term “cloud” comes from the engineering practice of drawing a cloud in a schematic to represent an external resource that his or her design will interact with – a part of the workflow that I will assume is working but which is not part of my design. For example, a processor designer might draw a cloud to represent a memory system, with arrows indicating the flow of data in and out of the memory cloud. Cloud computing takes this concept to an organizational level; entire sections of IT workflows can now be virtualized into a resources that are someone else’s concern.

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