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The start of the cloud race

Arguably the hottest topic in computing at the moment is around the notion of Cloud Computing

The start of the cloud race
22nd February 2015 John McConnell

Arguably the hottest topic in computing at the moment is around the notion of Cloud Computing which typically involves the availability of Software as a Service (SaaS).

Like many “new” IT related concepts it has largely been around for a while in different forms – applications have been hosted on the Internet for some time and the idea of Analytical Service Providers (ASPs) was around in the early 2000s – but recently the ideas have crystallised into the idea of “The Cloud” as the platform.

One of the numerous benefits to the user is that true SaaS is delivered on-demand and the overall cost diminishes.

The majority of Web Analytics is delivered via a hosted service from the likes of Omniture, WebTrends and Google. Zementis are the first advanced analytics vendor to offer their products in the cloud (they are using the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud – EC2) which fits with their growing reputation for innovation around predictive analytics software delivery.

Aside from that we haven’t seen much from the more established vendors yet. Not surprisingly SAS have been the first major player to at least outline their vision – SAS builds own cloud . For reasons of data privacy it sounds like they will end up owning their own cloud infrastructure. Will this be the “SAS SaaS” I wonder!

SPSS has had a web based framework – SPSS Web App – available for several years. Until now this seems to have been largely used to build and deliver custom applications for specific clients but this could conceivably be used to deliver more generic applications in cloud form. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

At Analytical People we are finalising a Geo-spatial/Statistical modelling application in collaboration with the LAMP team at Liverpool City Council. For the modelling part we are currently using R. We’re still discussing the deployment but it is likely that we’ll also use Amazon EC2.
So for this reason – and as part of our broader interest – we are keenly watching how this type of delivery evolves. The clouds are forming … but we can’t really feel the rain … yet.