Cloud computing is an operational model where a cloud provider offers virtualized infrastructure and services at any scale. What distinguishes cloud providers from traditional data centres is the degree of automation and flexibility. In the cloud, a customer can create virtual machines, or services such as speech recognition systems, in a fully automated way. The infrastructure or services are ready within few minutes, and billing is precise to the actual consumption, e.g., the number of speech-transcriptions, or the number of minutes a virtual machine was active. The automation allows for elastic scaling, where software routines continuously analyse the load on the system, scaling the required infrastructure up and down when necessary. Consequently, customers profit from deploying software to the cloud, instead of using locally operated infrastructure or data centres, due to the cost savings.
The major challenge with cloud computing is the continuous evolution of the cloud-native ecosystem, including technologies, service offerings, and R&D programmes. To be on the forefront with recent developments, the Cloud Innovation Center (CLIC) of Fraunhofer FIT monitors technological trends such as container orchestration or multi-cloud. CLIC also spreads awareness regarding the ever-growing provider landscape such as hyperscalers, academic endeavours such as the European Open Science Cloud EOSC, and industry networks such as Gaia-X. Internally, CLIC has established a constant knowledge transfer between departments, so that all projects profit from a strong technological competency in cloud-native software. CLIC also considers related software engineering practices, such as testing, Continuous Integration, Delivery & Deployment (CI/CD), or Infrastructure as Code.
Offerings of CLIC
- Development of applications with a cloud-native architecture
- Migration of legacy applications to the cloud
- Data protection compliant operations of cloud-native applications (GDPR)