PerspectiveComputer Science

Building an Open Cloud

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Science  26 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5935, pp. 1656-1657
DOI: 10.1126/science.1174225

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The Internet is entering an exciting, third phase, as important as its second phase, the World Wide Web. Thanks to paradigms for distributed computing such as Web 2.0, Web Services, and Software as a Service, the Internet is becoming a platform for computing as well as communications. This new platform, the Cloud (1), is a many-to-many medium that can link millions of users to thousands of computers simultaneously (see the figure). It represents a fundamental shift in how computing is done. To quote Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, “We're moving into the era of ‘cloud’ computing, with information and applications hosted in the diffuse atmosphere of cyberspace rather than on specific processors and silicon racks. The network will truly be the computer” (2).