According to the UC Berkeley RAD Lab
We argue that the construction and operation of extremely large-scale, commodity-computer datacenters at low-cost locations was the key necessary enabler of Cloud Computing, for they uncovered the factors of 5 to 7 decrease in cost of electricity, network bandwidth, operations, software, and hardware available at these very large economies of scale. These factors, combined with statistical multiplexing to increase utilization compared a private cloud, meant that cloud computing could offer services below the costs of a medium-sized datacenter and yet still make a good profit. [More …]
An interview with two of the authors of that study is here. According to Armando Fox
The key ingredient is having tremendous computing resources instantly available on-tap with no advance arrangements needed and pay-as-you-go billing. Especially relevant is the fact that once you release unused resources, you don’t have to pay for them anymore. This property of “elasticity” shifts many risks from the users of that equipment to the provider of the equipment, creating new economic models that can change the way that startups, researchers, and even established enterprises think about IT spending. [More…]
A web site devoted to this work is http://abovetheclouds.cs.berkeley.edu/, which has a link to the following video discussion by four of the researchers.
According to Christopher Mims
The problem with mobile phones, says Allan Knies, associate director of Intel Research at Berkeley, is that everyone wants them to perform like a regular computer, despite their relatively paltry hardware. Byung-Gon Chun, a research scientist at Intel Research Berkeley, thinks that he might have the solution to that problem: create a supercharged clone of your smart phone that lives in “the cloud” and let it do all the computational heavy lifting that your phone is too wimpy to handle.
Also see “Lord of the Cloud” with computing pioneer David Gelernter.
More blog entries on Computing.