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Cloud Computing – Changing the Way We ‘Do’ Software

Software/Hardware Track




In 1961 at the MIT Centennial, John McCarthy opined “if computers of the kind I have advocated become the computers of the future, then computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility&. The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry.”[1] In 2006, Amazon Web Services was launched providing computing on a utility basis. Since that time the notion of cloud computing has been emerging and evolving.

Cloud computing is a paradigm that makes the notion of utility computing a reality. Instead of Information Technology (IT) organizations investing in all of the hardware, software and infrastructure necessary to meet their business needs, cloud computing makes access to hardware, software and infrastructure available through the internet, generally utilizing a pay for use model. Basically cloud computing allows an organizations to adopt a different economic model for meeting IT needs by reduction capital investments and increasing operational investments, a model which is likely to offer cost savings to many types of organizations.

There is still a great deal of hype around cloud computing, as many vendors have their marketing engines further into the cloud than their technology actually reaches. Despite this, Gartner predicts that by 2012 one in five businesses will not own their own IT assets. [2] In late 2010, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under direction from the White House told federal agencies that starting in2012 they are expected to consider “cloud first” whenever a secure, reliable, cost effective cloud option exists.[3]

Although still in its infancy, this notion of cloud computing clearly seems to have some serious legs. If this is in fact true, the potential impacts that cloud computing will have on the software industry could be phenomenal. Clearly the way applications will be sold, licensed and delivered to customers will change but there could also be significant changes to the way that those applications are actually developed, tested and sustained. The biggest changes will be around the kinds of information that will be in the hands of the software service providers. They will be granted instant feedback into how and how often their applications are being used.

This paper briefly introduces the concept of cloud computing and the benefits, risks and challenges associated with it. Following this will be a substantial discussion of the areas where cloud computing has the potential to change the software industry and how these changes will change the way we plan for and deliver software intense systems.


Arlene Minkiewicz
PRICE Systems
Ms Minkiewicz is the Chief Scientist at PRICE Systems, LLC. In this role, she leads the cost research activity for the entire suite of cost estimating products that PRICE provides. Ms. Minkiewicz has more than 26 years of experience with PRICE building cost models. Her recent accomplishments include the development of cost estimating models for complex systems and systems of systems as well as research focused on the costs and benefits associated with migration to Service Oriented Architectures (SOA)
Ms Minkiewicz has an MS in Computer Science from Drexel University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University. She has published many articles on software measurement and estimation. She frequently presents at industry conferences on many topics associated with hardware, software and systems estimation. She is a member of the International Society of Parametric Analysts (ISPA) and IEEE and has served on committees setting standards and best practices for estimation, measurement, and benchmarking with SEI, PMI and CAM-I.