Why use the Cloud for Environmental Problems?

Why should we use the cloud in preference to any other technology to address environmental issues?

There are three fundamental reasons why the cloud offer significant advantages over other technologies. Firstly, the cloud’s “everything as a service” motto promotes integration between applications and data sources. Such a concept allows the easy sharing of data between services and the relatively simple combination of a variety of models. This leads to a much closer sharing of capability between technology developers and the users of the cloud services and unfolds new horizons in terms of creating research software. EVO is exploting this feature of the cloud to develop environmental cloud services and portals.

Secondly, the cloud’s “on-demand” operational model presents interesting economic opportunities. There is no need to worry about upfront costs of the computing equipment or running costs such as electricity and administration. Resources are simply paid for as and when they are consumed. On the one hand, this facilitates elastic computing where large amounts of resources can be accessed on short notice to cater for a surge in demand. On the other hand, this also provides a means to control resource consumption if the need exists.

Thirdly, the cloud makes life easier for its users whether they are specialists, such as environmental scientists, or a member of the general public. For example, millions of people use Google services such as Mail, Calendar, and Documents every day without needing to worry about where they run, how they are set up, or whether they are compatible with their computer or not. Google, the cloud service provider in this case, takes care of that on behalf of its users. Similarly, using the cloud for environmental science applications creates a level of abstraction of where the data resides, how it is managed, how the software and hardware is set up, enabling the user to focus on the questions they would like answered.