Getting Started with Cloud Computing

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January 29, 2021
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loud computing provides on-demand data storage, compute, networking,  and various other services via the Internet. By reducing the burden of investing in IT resources upfront and for ongoing maintenance, Cloud computing helps organizations build and scale and deliver their applications faster to their users. 

This week's ACM Select features several introductory resources on Cloud technology, with perspectives on the history, technical definitions of Cloud terminologies, trends in Cloud computing and the implications of its use.

As always, we invite you to share your feedback and suggestions at For more resources in computing, we encourage you to explore the ACM Digital Library and Learning Center.

Cloud computing in plain English

First published in XRDS: Crossroads, The ACM Magazine for Students, Vol. 16, No. 3, March 2010.

In this 2010 XRDS: Crossroads article, Ryan K. L. Ko provides a layman’s perspective on the emergence of cloud computing during the early 2000s, looking past the hype of the technology and focusing how it shifts approaches towards computing. We recommend this article as a starting point for beginners to understand the significance of cloud computing and the questions and implications that have arisen as it entered the mainstream.
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A view of cloud computing

First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 53, No. 4, April 2010.

This 2010 research article from the UC Berkeley Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems Laboratory (RAD Lab) is an excellent deep dive into the history, definitions, challenges and opportunities presented by the technology.

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Cloud Computing: An Overview: A summary of important cloud-computing issues distilled from ACM CTO Roundtables

First published in ACM Queue, Vol. 7, No. 5, June 2009.

Probably more than anything we’ve seen in IT since the invention of timesharing or the introduction of the PC, cloud computing represents a paradigm shift in the delivery architecture of information services. This overview presents some of the key topics discussed during the ACM Cloud Computing and Virtualization CTO Roundtables of 2008.
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Cloud computing and SaaS as new computing platforms

First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 53, No. 4, April 2010.

The cloud as an innovation platform for software development

First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 62, No. 10, September 2019.

Delivering software services over the internet was not a new idea when cloud computing emerged. It is only with advances in networks and virtualization technology that cloud computing can be leveraged as industry platforms. In these two articles, Michael Cusumano, the Sloan Management Review Distinguished Professor and Deputy Dean at the MIT Sloan School of Management and School of Engineering, shares his big picture perspective on this evolution, the advantages and disadvantages of transitioning to developing and these services.
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[ Read The cloud as an innovation platform for software development ]

Success factors for deploying cloud computing

First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 55, No. 9, September 2012.

Cloud delivery platforms provide several advantages to improving IT activities across industries, where the successful deployment of these services can lower operating and costs and increase business agility while addressing computing and data-storage needs. The authors of this Communications of the ACM article discuss the organization-specific factors that should be taken in account as well as how they can be leveraged to gain greater value from these technologies.
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Risks and myths of cloud computing and cloud storage

First published in Communications of the ACM, Vol. 57, No. 10, September 2014.

Leveraging cloud computing has many advantages, but like any technology it's important to recognize the risks involved in its use. In this 2014 Communications of the ACM article, Peter G. Neumann discusses both traditional risks derived from the history of the field as well as (at the time of the article's publication) new risks stemming from the scale and distributivity of cloud services.
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Cloud Engineering Fundamentals (O’Reilly Resource Playlist)

Published through O'Reilly. Playlist available to ACM members. Please refer to the following FAQ for any issues accessing the O'Reilly learning platform.

Looking to learn more about the fundamentals of cloud engineering? For a deeper dive into reading materials, we recommend this curated playlist of O'Reilly resources handpicked by Nathen Harvey, Developer Advocate at Google and an expert in web-based and enterprise applications.
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