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New tools developed to help SMEs efficiently scale up cloud services

An EU-funded project has developed tools to build scalable cloud applications, which will help boost SME performance and benefit business as a whole.

The idea is to enable end users such as SMEs, big businesses and public institutions to exploit the flexibility of the Cloud by gradually building up their computing capacities. These new downloadable tools will also give online developers the opportunity to offer solutions that are better tailored to customers. The EU-funded CLOUDSCALE project will also directly help SMEs looking to expand their cloud-based services. If a successful online application is experiencing rapidly rising user numbers, for example, this can lead to higher and higher costs and – especially during peak loads – slower response times. CLOUDSCALE’s tools would enable this SME to analyse the scalability problem in detail and to identify bottlenecks within the application. They can then find the best scalable architecture and restructure their application. Cloud computing revolution Cloud computing, which is about sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices handle each individual application, is a highly efficient means of delivering services to an organisation's computers and devices through the Internet. It offers end users potentially unlimited resources for their applications on an on-demand basis. This shared IT infrastructure contains pools of systems that are linked together, with specialised connections spreading data-processing chores across them. This means that high performance computing power to perform tens of trillions of computations per second can be tapped into for consumer-oriented applications such as financial transactions, data storage or to power immersive multi-user online computer games. Cloud business models and technologies however can be difficult to get scaled up efficiently, often requiring advanced software engineering methods. Implementing systems without properly taking into account scalability can either lead to low performance (due to ‘under provisioning’, resulting in low throughput) or high costs (due to ‘over provisioning’, caused by low utilisation of resources). CLOUDSCALE solutions The solutions developed through the EU-funded CLOUDSCALE project aim to address this by using minimal computational resources to accurately assess the scalability of certain cloud-based services quickly and efficiently. CLOUDSCALE Environment for example is a desktop application that integrates the different tools developed by the project, and can be installed and used on virtually any personal computer. One of these tools is CLOUDSCALE'S Analyser, which allows users to accurately assess scalability, elasticity and efficiency of cloud computing applications. Another is the Extractor, a reverse engineering tool for automatic model extraction. Another newly developed tool is called DynamicSpotter. This tool can automatically detect software performance problems in Java-based enterprise software systems. Static Spotter is another reverse engineering tool, which can automatically detect so-called search patterns that can influence scalability. All of these tools are available for download on the project’s website. Ensuring industry relevance has been central throughout the project, as a greater uptake of CLOUDSCALE tools will help ensure that scalability becomes less of a problem for businesses and institutions looking to put in place cost-effective, flexible cloud-based systems. Following the recent successful completion of the project, end users are free to try CLOUDSCALE Environment and other tools, and can contact the project coordinator if they have any questions or suggestions. For further information please visit: CLOUD-SCALE project website



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