Introduction to Cloud Computing for Geosciences


This session will be a combination of concetual introduction of cloud computing by a NASA JPL cloud computing engineer and hands-on introduction to cloud computing using the GMU private cloud as a practice environment. 

1. Mike Gangl, Introduction to Cloud Computing

2. Phil Yang and Yongyao Jiang, Cloud Computing Hands-on

  • There are several different cloud service models.

  • Deployment models:

    • Private

      • Managed locally without shared resources.

      • Useful when security is the key issues

      • Be aware of the sustainability, maintainability, and stability.

    • Public

      • Services provided by third party.

      • Provider hosts multiple clients.

    • Hybrid

      • Could the “best of both worlds” but could also be “worst of all worlds”.

      • Leverage the public cloud to handle high source demand.

    • Community

      • “Private cloud”++

  • Storage:

    • Three key properties

      • instance, volume, and object.

    • Instance Storage

      • “Ephemeral storage,” but speed is an advantage.

    • Volume (Block) Storage

      • Most like a traditional hard drive.

    • Object Storage

      • Limitless space.

      • Backable is available, but cost is associated.

    • Several use cases are discussed:

      • Ex: Batch processing, data locality, data-as-a-service

  • Cloud Economics

    • Cost saving is more favorable with performing larger amount of tasks.

    • Different versions of pricing: on demand (pay as you go), reserve (flat), and spot (fluctuates, similar to stock market prices).

  • Caveats:

    • Not all clouds offer the same resources/databases.

      • Moving between clouds could be difficult.

    • Associated cost could be a concern.  

    • Developer paradigm shifts.

      • Will not be sensible to reinvent tools.

    • Scalability can also be challenging.

  • Questions:

    • How does cloud service deal with reliability and redundancy?

      • It is important to plan for both elements; it should not taken for granted or considered to be inherent of the cloud technology.  Making backup, redundant copies is still very important.

  • Identifying and understanding the types of users and the support resources that would be available, such as project coordination and security, are important when choosing the type of cloud services.

    • A live demo for Spatiotemporal Cloud Computing Facility was provided regarding on a team could work together to create, manage, and support cloud activities via a dashboard.

    • The ESIP cloud computing cluster will announce this fall when the Spatiotemporal Cloud Computing Facility is available as a resource.
Yang, P.; Huang, T.; Introduction to Cloud Computing for Geosciences; Summer Meeting 2015. ESIP Commons , May 2015