Colin Smith| Imperial

Realising the potential of cloud computing for businesses will be the focus of research carried out by Imperial College London and partners. The partnership, which includes five other European academic institutions and technology companies, will integrate advanced new technologies into cloud computing to vastly increase the capacity and efficiency of these services.

Cloud computing means using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process information in data centres, rather than a local server. Facebook is a company that depends on cloud computing to provide their services to users. Companies such as Google and Amazon are examples of companies that offer cloud computing services.

There has been an increase in companies around the world using cloud computing to do business.  More than half of US corporations, for example, now use cloud computing to store and process information.

The requirements from clients for more advanced services are evolving quickly and companies that offer cloud computing are now keen to capitalise on this vast untapped business potential.

Professor Alexander Wolf, from the Department of Computing at Imperial, is leading the consortium. He says:

“The potential of cloud computing has not yet been fully realised and our project aims to make it more flexible and powerful for customers. Ultimately this could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of companies and open the door to a whole range of new business developments, spurring on the global economy in the process.”

The consortium will integrate new technologies seamlessly into the existing computer infrastructure in data centres. These technologies will enable more complex computations, communication and storage capabilities.

Ultimately, improvements to the computing technology will make cloud computing more energy efficient, flexible and easier to use and manage.

The name of the consortium is called HARNESS, which stands for Hardware- and Network-Enhanced Software Systems for Cloud Computing. It will run for three years.

Harness is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) for Research and Technological Development. Other universities participating in the project are École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Université de Rennes 1 and Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum für Informationstechnik Berlin. The commercial partners are Maxeler Technologies and SAP.


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