1 Shamsul Anuar Mokhtar Cloud Computing in Academic Institutions Siti Haryani Shaikh Ali Abdulkarem Al-Sharafi Abdulaziz Aborujilah ABSTRACT IT plays important role in education. Cloud Computing is a new technology in the world of IT which emerged recently and began to spread rapidly. Cloud computing is an Internet-based computing services on-demand. The main goal of this paper is to highlight the implications of cloud computing in academic institutions. This paper presents the cloud computing paradigm, historical view, concept, layers, types and the characteristics. During reviewing of many instances of using cloud computing in academic institutions, this paper emphasizes that the adoption of cloud computing in academic institutions is useful and sometimes necessary to overcome many of challenges and barriers. The presentation shows that the cloud computing technology enhances the performance in academic institutions as well as cloud computing plays significant role to reduction of costs. As the adoption of cloud computing in academic institutions is still low, this paper provides the factors that affect the adoption of cloud computing in the academic institutions. Successful transition to cloud computing in academic institutions depends on well definition for transition strategies. This paper provides suggestion for transition strategies into cloud computing in academic institutions. Categories and Subject Descriptors K.3.1 [Computer s in Education]: Computer-assisted instruction, Computer-managed instruction. General Terms Documentation, Performance, Human Factors. Keywords, Cloud Computing, Academic Institutions. Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. ICUIMC (IMCOM) 2013, January 17 19, 2013, Kota Kinabalu,Sabah, Malaysia. Copyright 2013 ACM $ INTRODUCTION 1.1 in Education (IT) has become common in our life. IT plays an important role in education. In teaching and learning, IT provides new means of delivery, more diverse elements of the content, improved management of teaching processes and flexibility of learning (anytime/anywhere). In academic research, IT provides huge of amount of information and references and enables data to be easily and quickly collected, analysed and shared with others. In communication, IT offers high flexibility and easy and fast communication. In administrative processes, IT gives the ability to manage and control tens of thousands of students through accurate systems and applications. The development of IT reflects dramatically on the modes of educational delivery. Whenever emerged new technology, emerged new educational mode. Education by correspondence was the first non-traditional education (using audio and video tapes). After that, emerged new form of education represented in open and distance learning partially using computers and Internet. Then, emerged a new mode of learning, namely e-learning and virtual learning, where the computers and the Internet are fully used. Usually, this mode based on wire network technology for connection Internet. There is another mode of learning called m- learning where mobile devices are used. This mode of learning based on wireless network technology for connection Internet. Recently, a new technology has emerged in the world of IT which began to spread rapidly. This new technology is called Cloud Computing. In this paper we try to highlight how this new technology and the factors that affect on adoption of this new technology in academic institutions. 1.2 Historical milestones in cloud computing The historical review in this section is not focusing on the stages of the evolution of the cloud computing technologies, but it is a historical review in terms of cloud computing services. Cloud computing did not emerge suddenly. It s a result of advancement of many technologies, such as Internet technologies (e.g., service-oriented, web services architectures, Web 2.0), hardware technologies (e.g., multi-core chips, virtualization),
2 systems management (e.g., data center automation, autonomic computing) and distributed computing (e.g., grids, clusters) . The nucleus of cloud computing idea dates back to 1961 when John McCarthy a professor at Stanford University said computation may someday be organized as a public utility ; similar to how public electricity and telephone services are delivered to consumer. A consumer doesn t care about what happen beyond the wall socket. He just pays a bill according to his consumption. In 1964, Martin Greenberger supported this idea in his article the computers of tomorrow . At that time, the Internet was still non- existence where it only emerged in The first step of real application of cloud computing was when the indexing of the Internet was being implemented, and this led to search service . W3Catalog was the first completed web search engine in 1993 . This service allowed users to interact with the Internet and to get information which was found in the cloud (Internet websites). So, we can say that the information on demand service or search engine service was the first simple form of cloud computing. W3Catalog search engine is not active now. There were other search engines still active till now such as Yahoo (1995), Google (1998) and MSN-Microsoft (1998). cloud computing, that enables users (companies or developers) to create personalized social experiences for global audience . In 2008, Google launched Google Apps Engine (GAE) which allows users to create and host web applications on the same Google s infrastructure . In the same year (2008), Microsoft started to compete in the cloud computing industry where it established Microsoft Data Center to scale, host and build web applications through Azure platform . Windows Azure is a cloud operating system that provides the same features of local operating system but in the cloud. rs can access from any computer and any Internet browser through user name and password and perform their work normally. Microsoft has provided SQL Azure as a cloud computing service database . In 2009, Google provided enterprises applications based on cloud computing such as Google Docs  which is an online office tools allowing users to create, manage and store their documents remotely from any computer. Below is a figure demonstrating the most important milestones in application of cloud computing. Another early application of cloud computing services is the services such as Hotmail (1996) and Yahoo mail (1997). service in addition to the communication service is a form of cloud services represented in "storage on the cloud". Hundreds of millions of users use services everyday (sending, receiving and storage). The users don t know what happen beyond the e- mail interface such as networks, storage, hardware and applications. In 1990s, with the spread of computers and Internet, emerged new concept on how computer could be used and how information could be disseminated. That led some companies such as Sun Microsystems to promote new market concept called network is the computer . In 2002, Amazon provided a new form of cloud computing service that included human intelligent, computation and storage; this service was called Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). This service helped programmers to co-ordinate the use of human intelligence to conduct the tasks that computers were unable to do yet. However, this service was insufficient for individuals and small businesses . In 2006, a company called Salesforce has provided another form of cloud computing application, in which applications were not installed on the user's computers. Instead, users accessed the applications remotely from the cloud (on the Salesforce servers) . In the same year (2006), a new form of cloud computing was provided by Amazon called Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service). This service allowed users to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere, anytime through the Internet. This service gave developers access to the same Amazon infrastructure environment. It was fast, secure, reliable, highly scalable and inexpensive . Also in the same year (2006), Amazon launched EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), a cloud service that enables developers to control their computing resources and to provide web-scale computing through the use of the same strong infrastructure environment that Amazon use to run their own business . In 2007, Facebook provided powerful tools based on Figure1: The most important milestones in application of cloud computing services. Due to the spread of cloud computing benefits and advantages, many competent companies emerge to provide cloud computing services and these companies continue to increase. 1.3 Definition of cloud computing National Institute of Standards and Technology-NIST defines Cloud Computing as a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction . Cloud computing is an Internet based distributed computing technology which provides Storage, Software, Computational platform, Computational infrastructures on demand as a service to the intended users in reusable fashion and users have to pay according to their consumption of those services . Term of Cloud Computing sometimes refers to the applications delivered as services via the Internet and sometimes refers to the hardware and systems software in the data centers that provide those services . Actually, there are many definitions for cloud computing but the idea revolves around enabling users or customers to get the computing services with overcome the complexities of computing resources (e.g. software, hardware, storage and infrastructure). In simple words, we can say
3 that the cloud computing is easier computing services with less infrastructure complexity. 2. CLOUD COMPUTING LAYERS AND TYPES In term of the delivery of service, cloud computing divided into three main layers, Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In terms of deployment of cloud computing, it is divided into four types: private cloud, public cloud, community cloud and hybrid cloud . The layers and types of cloud computing are further explained in subsequent sections. 2.1 Cloud computing layers Software as a Service (SaaS) Software as a Product is the traditional way for distribution of software (the applications are installed in the computer or company server and license often must be renewed periodically). SaaS delivery model has changed the concept of software as a product to software as service. The software or applications run on the cloud (in provider s servers) and the consumer can access via the Internet to work on this application normally. Consumer does not need to know about the infrastructure that runs this application. He just access to work and pay for his consumption . Customer Relationship Management (CRM) from Salesforce.com is an example for this service Platform as a Service (PaaS) PaaS provides affective environment and powerful tools for developers to create and deploy the applications. Developers do not need to know any details about infrastructure underlying this service such as networks, operating systems, storage. Thus, the developers or company focus on innovation instead of worrying about the infrastructure problems. Google AppEngine is a good example for this service  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) IaaS considered the basic layer of computing resources. It provides on demand and scalable full infrastructure resources (e.g. servers, software, network equipment and storage). IaaS enables consumer to manage and configure the cloud servers similar to the ordinary physical servers. With IaaS, consumer will get rid of problems of purchasing the latest technology, maintenance, upgrading of software and software licenses. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) from Amazon is an sample of IaaS . From the point of view of some researchers, there are other layers of cloud services such as Communication as a Service (CaaS) and Monitoring as a Service (MaaS). CaaS provides online real time communication solutions such as a video-conference service. CaaS infrastructure (hardware and software) is fully under responsibility of CaaS providers. MaaS provides 24/7 outsourced monitoring and security protection for the consumers against potential internal or external threats. 2.2 Cloud computing types In term of the way of deployment, there are four types of cloud computing namely private cloud, public cloud, community cloud and hybrid cloud.  Private cloud type represented when cloud infrastructure is operated solely for particular organization. It does not matter if the cloud infrastructure managed by the same organization or by a third party, or wherever it exists inside the organization or outside. Public cloud type being when cloud infrastructure is available to several consumers individuals or organizations and this infrastructure is owned by the provider of service. Community cloud type represented when cloud infrastructure is shared by several organizations that have same concern with particular issues such as mission, policy or security. The cloud infrastructure maybe managed by these organizations or by third party also this infrastructure maybe exist on premise or off premise. Hybrid cloud: hybrid cloud is a mix between two or more of previous types. Organization adopts this type when the capacity of organization infrastructure does not enough and need to expand its infrastructure to meet its business. Thereupon, the organization keeps the current infrastructure (as a private cloud) and adds one or more of previous types . 3. CLOUD COMPUTING CHARACTER- ISTICS Cloud computing has many important characteristics which can be explained as follows: 3.1 Flexible scale Cloud computing industry offers huge flexible-scale capabilities to computing. For instance, Google has more than million servers  offering several services such as access,cloud document storage, text translation and web analytic. Microsoft has hundreds of thousands of servers that allow end users to move application into cloud by Microsoft SharePoint. Salesforce.com operates applications of its customers via cloud. Several applications developing platforms available to end user among Internet and allow to application developers to develop new application relying on cloud platform . Capacity of services offered by cloud computing providers can be expanded as much as the end user needs . In addition, cloud services can be accessed in several access media such as laptops, smart phones and tablets. 3.2 Virtualization Virtualization of computing resources offer a new way of getting and utilizing computing resources remotely regardless where that computing resources take place. End users can use those resources from terminal devices anywhere and anytime without knowing the physical location to those computing resources. Thus end users can accomplish much using cloud computing services. 3.3 Highly trustable A computing services resources offered by cloud provider, gives more reliability to end users more than relying on local resources. Cloud provider distributes the resources services in several locations around the world not in the same location. Therefore, in case of any bugs in any cloud location, the cloud service provider can redirect the end user request to same cloud service but in different physical location(multi-transcript fault tolerant analogy) . 3.4 Versatility Cloud services are not limited to certain applications. It can serve several sectors in different disciplines which exist in the same
4 cloud environment , such as processing pipelines systems which by thousands of word documents can be converted into PDF extension also millions of OCR documents can be converted into searchable text form. Therefore, huge of text data and information can be accessed easily among Internet. In image processing sector much more numbers of images can be processed easily using cloud infrastructure. Cloud services can be utilized in other fields such as video converting format, batching data in information system, log analysis system and in promotion sectors . 3.5 On demand service End users in the cloud are able to choose their needs of services according to their business functions. Thus, they pay according to their consumption . This kind of service gives the end user almost unlimited computing infrastructure. Therefore, the end user can utilize cloud resources automatically and no need to any human interaction . 3.6 Beginner investors cost-effective Beginner investors are facing some huge challenges in trying to fulfill IT requirements when starting their project. Therefore, if renting cloud computing services are implemented, will play a vital role in reducing the costs incurred in purchasing the equipments, which will consequently reduce the management costs . Information technology project constricting and maintenance is mostly costly for small computing Investors, but with cloud utilization that costs can be less . 4. CLOUD COMPUTING IN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS Surprisingly, despite all of advantages of cloud computing it still not fully adopted in academic institutions sector. It is only 4% of cloud computing used in education and the other 96% is related to industrial sectors and services . That means the educational cloud computing industry is still in the beginning. Nevertheless, cloud computing has potential to play a wide and significant role in education technology in the near future. It is because now cloud computing spreads fast in all industries where studies refers that cloud computing market will grow from $40 billion in 2011 to 240 billion by 2020 . This indicates that educational cloud computing technology will spread very fast in future. IT companies encourage academic institutions to embrace the adoption of cloud computing through providing some of cloudbased services. Google provides Google Apps for Education. It comprises Google Mail, Calendar, Talk, Docs, Sites and Video with zero cost and without advertisements. IBM has established IBM Cloud Academy which provides a global forum to pursue the educational cloud computing initiatives . Both IBM and Google also provide a shared program to help university students gain the skills needed to program cloud applications and they have dedicated a large cluster of several hundred computers to this program, which is planned to grow to a few thousand servers over time . Recently, there are many academic institutions start to recognize the usefulness and importance of adoption cloud computing technology and started to use it . The utilization of cloud computing is different from one academic institution to another depending on the type of need or type of problem or challenge. The following section is a brief illustration on how cloud computing used in educational institutes and to what extent its usefulness and importance. 4.1 Virtualization of computing environment Sometimes, academic institutions suffer from low of performance, slow data access and low throughput computing environment especially if this computing environment supports various multidisciplinary research projects for faculty and researchers. This happens because each discipline has its own environment which grows separately and individually from others. Through cloud computing technology and its virtualization characteristic, institutions can build many virtual parallel computing environments concurrently managed. The time required for deployment of each environment is not long, just around 30 minutes as experienced by Beijing University of Technology. When the university implemented this technique, it saved from 35% to 50% in physical resources cost and performance and throughput computing environment has been enhanced. . When using traditional computer labs, there are many challenges present such as: 1. Limitation of lab hours and seats during time of high demand. 2. Repairing and maintaining computer labs. 3. Traveling to and from university. 4. The cost of outfitting traditional computer lab (hardware and software) which can reach into tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes hundreds of thousands. 5. After end of regular lifespan of computers and labs equipments, the financial challenge starts again. Academic institutions can override these challenges by using cloud computing technology through implementing Virtual Computing Lab. Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) is a cloud computing idea. It is a result of cooperative project between IBM Virtual Computing Initiative and North Carolina State University (NCSU) to address a growing set of computational needs and user requirements for the university. This system can deliver user required solutions for variety of service environments anytime and anyplace on demand/reservation. Through the adoption VCL, the universities can: 1. Reduce the cost, where the annual cost of investing in and maintaining a VCL not exceed 21 % of its traditional counterpart. 2. Increase student access to professional and research tools. 3. Increase the IT agility for support teaching and learning. 4. Overcome several issues related to lab administration. 5. Enhance the capability of distance education. In general, with Virtual Computing Lab, universities will be able to provide the students fast access to professional computing environment with low cost . There are many academic institutions that use VLC such as George Mason University,
5 Georgia State University and Historically Black Colleges and Universities . 4.2 Elastic Cloud storage With elastic cloud storage, academic institutions can meet the exact storage needs within minutes. Any academic institution decides to increase its storage by 100%, it will occur within minutes. There is no bidding, no buying, no time lost and no need to hire additional IT staff to support the infrastructure. Also in case of decreasing the capacity, it will be within minutes. It is just stop the cloud service with provider. The implementation of elastic storage with Amazon S3 at University of Stanford and University of Texas was a strategic development for computing environment. It improved security and access of the computing environment and the same time lower the cost. . 4.3 Consolidated services with Cloud In the case of large academic institutions that have dozens of branches, it is significant challenge to provide, manage and support services for all remote location on-time. It also a challenge in providing efficient backup services for all sites periodically and in accurate manner. In traditional way, maintain and support these servers in remote locations occur one by one individually by travelling to these sites. This poses a big challenge. It takes much time, effort and cost. Consolidated services with cloud are good solutions to avoid these challenges through building private cloud environment in headquarter consisting of number of servers consolidated and centrally housed. As with what happened in Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), where through this solution, GCPS obtain following benefits : 1. Decrease the numbers of servers, thus reduce the cost. 2. Mitigating the administrative issues. 3. Immediate, continuous, reliable and accurate data back-up and recovery. 4. Immediate, continuous and sufficient support, 5. Enhancing servers utilizing by offloading storage. 6. Canceling the travel to locations to do maintenance through the centralization thus save time, effort and cost. 7. Providing secure and reliable service The advantages of cloud computing are more pronounced at a small academic institutions that have not yet enough experience with IT or have trouble recruiting people with adequate IT skills. In large academic institutions, the major factor of promoting cloud computing is the surplus of computing capacity in these institutions. When institutions use cloud technology with their own infrastructure it will avoid the surplus problem . Based on previous presentation for some instances, it is clear that the cloud computing technology enhances the performance in academic institutions. Moreover, cloud computing plays significant role to reduction the costs especially with academic institutions which have limitations of budget and must faces the sustainability challenges. In this case, it is essential to use the cloud computing solutions to their IT activities . 5. CHALLENGES OF ADOPTION CLOUD COMPUTING IN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS Although, there are many benefits of cloud computing, it does have certain drawbacks. There are challenges for the adoption cloud computing in academic institution and the, following are the main challenges: 5.1 Security This is the most important factor that faces adoption cloud computing not in academic institutions only but in all industries. The management of academic institutions still worries about their data confidentiality and privacy. They are still do not trust providers claims about security issues . 5.2 Bandwidth If the Internet bandwidth insufficient, it will be difficult to deliver the educational services because cloud computing is Internetbased service especially with public cloud computing model . 5.3 Acceptance It is not easy to convince the decision makers to shift from one pattern to another. Cloud computing is a new idea and it will subvert traditional pattern that users are familiar with. So, the user's perception and acceptance will affect on adoption cloud computing beginning from institution's decision maker into the simple worker . 5.4 Educational management rules There are differences between traditional education management and education management with cloud computing. So, implementing cloud computing will cause a lot of management problems such as how to manage teaching and learning, the content and courses, the examinations and students . 6. THE FACTORS THAT AFFECT ON ADOPTION CLOUD COMPUTING IN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS According to the challenges that have been presented, and based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (figure 2), cloud computing implementations will increase in academic institutions if these institutions took into consideration on these factors: security, sufficient Internet access bandwidth, acceptance of decision makers in these institutions to shift into cloud computing technology and providing clear rules about how to be the educational management under cloud computing technology. Figure 3 shows the conceptual framework for these factors. External Variables fulness Ease of Attitude Towards Using Behavioral Intention to Actual Figure 2: Original Technology Acceptance model (TAM)
6 Security Bandwidth Decision Maker s Acceptance fulness Attitude Towards Using Behavioral Intention to Actual operations internally hosted. In this stage, some points should be taken into consideration such as setting a flexible program of risk management to avoid any risk may occur during the transition , security technology architecture , and migration should be occurred based on some well-defined models/strategies , or based proven methodologies, or best practices . Edu. Management Rule Ease of Figure 3: The factors that affect the adoption of cloud computing in academic institutions 7. PROPOSED TRANSITION STRATEGIES INTO CLOUD COMPUTING IN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS Successful transition to cloud computing in academic institutions depends on well definition for transition strategies. This section presents a proposal for these transition strategies formed of the following stages (figure 4): 7.1 Promote a culture of cloud computing The transition cannot occur overnight. There are many activities must precede the transition related to promoting culture of cloud computing such as workshops, seminars, participating in conferences , training courses and contacting with experts . These activities are important for two faces: first one related to decision-makers in the academic institution. They have to reach to conviction about the importance of the transition towards cloud computing. Other face related to the staff assigned to dealing with cloud computing. They must reach to psychological and technical readiness to dealing with new technology. 7.2 Evaluate the current IT status In this stage must evaluate data, services and processes . Time, effort and cost of migrating to cloud computing depend on status and position of current IT system . The cost of reengineering of existent systems depends on current status. This stage preferred occurs by experts who have extensive experience in multiple technology areas, such as systems management, Internet technologies, hardware technologies, and distributed computing . This stage can take place parallel with previous stage. 7.3 Determine the problems and cloud solutions Ultimately, based on previous stage, institutions should know the problems and should do analysis about the optimal cloud computing solutions that can solve these problems. It can occur through internal experiments or through review the external success practices of cloud computing 7.4 Implementing the solution Implementation of solution may be occurred in iterative stages through a continuous transition of the data, services and processes towards cloud, with possibility of return the data from cloud to Monitoring and optimization Implementing the solution Determine the problems and cloud solutions Analyzing the current IT status Promote a culture of cloud computing Figure 4: Proposed transition strategies into cloud computing in academic institutions. 7.5 Monitoring and optimization The goal from transition to cloud is the potential benefits of cloud computing such as lower operating and capital expenses, increased business agility and responsiveness, and scalability. So, the academic institution should monitors the position after implementation time to time and try to optimizes the new position through: architectural reviews, security audits, costreduction exercises, process improvements, and tool customization . 8. CONCLUSION In terms of new concept and services, the cloud computing is a recent technology but in practically it had emerged in the early nineties. The cloud computing in the academic institutions still in the infancy in comparison of others industries, but over time it will grow. The adoption of cloud computing helps academic institutions to focus more on their main goals which are related to teaching and learning with minimum expenditure. The adoption of cloud computing in academic institutions is useful and sometimes necessary to avoid many of challenges and barriers. Cloud computing technology enhances the performance in academic institutions as well as plays significant role to reduction the costs. The security issues are still important external challenges that affect on adoption cloud computing in education but they are balanced with the internal factors represented by the user s acceptance and the educational management rules under cloud computing. Among the challenges that affect on adoption of cloud computing in academic institutions are represented in security, Internet bandwidth, decision-makers acceptance and clarity of educational management rules. Successful transition to cloud computing in academic institutions depends on well defined transition strategies. The proposal of transition strategies into cloud computing in academic institutions were presented in this paper.
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