Business and Industry Specific Cloud: Challenges and opportunities
Anne James, Jen-Yao Chung
Reference: FUTURE 2681
To appear in: Future Generation Computer Systems
Received date: 20 November 2014
Accepted date: 18 December 2014
Please cite this article as: A. James, J.-Y. Chung, Business and Industry Specific Cloud:
Challenges and opportunities, Future Generation Computer Systems (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.future.2014.12.006
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Business and Industry Specific Cloud: Challenges and Opportunities
Anne James and Jen-Yao Chung
Distributed Systems and
Modelling Research Group,
CV1 5FB email@example.com
Tao Yuan Shien,
Taiwan 33377 firstname.lastname@example.org
This guest editorial highlights the current move by many cloud providers to business and industry -specific cloud. We summarise the latest happenings and provide examples of business and industry -specific needs by considering some case study reports and related research. We introduce four new special section papers, which further elaborate on issues and solutions relevant to business and industry -specific cloud. Finally we summarise the challenges and opportunities ahead for researchers and developers. 1. Introduction
Hailed as the next big thing [1, 2, 3], industry-specific cloud or the development of cloud provision to meet the specific needs of a particular industry, is a recognised direction supported by recent IDC reports [4, 5]. In fact business and industry -specific cloud is seen as a logical progression for cloud and as required by the market-place if cloud is to grow. A number of big players are launching initiatives in this field. At the 2013 International
Conference on E-business Engineering held at Coventry University UK (ICEBE 2013) the topic was aired amongst the delegates and for that reason we decided to create a special section on the subject in a relevant journal. We are delighted that the Future Generation
Computer Systems journal has facilitated this. Whilst being an area that has attracted more industrial than academic attention at the moment, it is hoped that this special section will trigger responses from researchers that will help to further the developments in this field.
In this extended editorial, we describe the latest happenings in the cloud provider industry and we also discuss relevant research in the area, highlighting some case studies as well as *Manuscript
Click here to view linked References research papers which address relevant aspects. We introduce the papers of the special section which comprise four selected, peer-reviewed papers relating to business and industry -specific cloud either by describing novel architectures for specific domains or by offering new solutions to improve cloud provision which are exploitable by the industryspecific environment. The special section papers are extensions of selected papers presented at ICEBE 2013. Finally in our editorial, we offer a view on the challenges and opportunities in this new direction of cloud provision. 2. Happenings in Industry
Prevailing cloud solutions do not fully address the specific needs of particular industrial sectors. Some of the reasons that can dissuade an enterprise of using a cloud-based solution are concerns regarding security, privacy, control and interoperability of data. The idea of putting all one’s data in one place might not seem ideal and furthermore concerns about the appropriateness of the functionality provided can stop some users adopting
Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. For such reasons a new direction being followed by many big cloud providers is a move towards industry-specific, also sometimes called vertical, cloud where such issues can be addressed and where provision can be tailored specifically for the customer and its industry. The market research company IDC has predicted continued significant growth in cloud with a greater concentration on business solutions as opposed to platform and infrastructure over the next few years . It is expected that industry expertise will increasingly be required to win cloud professional services contracts.
Aware of the changing perceptions and needs within the market, many big providers are moving towards vertical solutions. Industry sectors that have been addressed include: insurance; legal services; health; banking; manufacturing; education; human resources (HR); retail; transportation; government; media and entertainment; pharmaceuticals; and energy/utilities (see Figure 1). The needs of, say, the healthcare sector would obviously be quite different from that of the manufacturing sector, thus it makes sense to tailor provision.
The differences can occur at various levels from infrastructure needs, growth patterns, software functionality, privacy and security to the requirement to interoperate with third parties.
Figure 1: Tailored Cloud Services for various Sectors
When users move to a cloud environment, specific business functionality can be lost.
Therefore clients need to carefully assess their needs when migrating. Warranting consideration are the questions of which areas will benefit most from a cloud-based service delivery model and whether any are better left in on-premises style of delivery. Workload analysis can aid in the process of such an assessment and the availability of choice between public, private or hybrid cloud can provide a solution for such varying needs. Recognising these requirements, major cloud providers are tailoring their solutions appropriately to support different types of cloud. The main method of providing industry-specific cloud is through services. The service model enables functionality to be delivered in stand-alone packages suitable for cloud delivery. However the functionality must currently exist as a service or would need to be redesigned as such. Alternatively suitable services, which deliver the right functionality, might be discovered from third parties. Cloud providers are addressing the functionality issue by providing ready-made standard software services to deliver specific functionality through services.