Vertical clouds: meeting industry needs

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Following on from the announcement about the Orange Business Services and SITA announcement on the development of the Air Transport Industry (ATI) cloud, I thought it might be useful to outline what Thierry Coupaye from Orange Labs has to say about the development of Vertical Clouds.

"At Orange Labs, we have a vision of five different scenarios: the Open Cloud, the Inter Cloud, the Vertical Cloud, the Community Cloud and the Personal Cloud," says Thierry Coupaye , Head of the Cloud Computing & Networking Research Program at Orange Labs. "They cover everything from services designed to meet the specific requirements of individual markets to those focused on delivering users’ applications and data to them wherever they are and on any device."

The Vertical Cloud vision refers to cloud computing environments that address specific applications and domains. For example, Cloud Gaming refers to games played and streamed from servers instead of being bought or downloaded onto games consoles. “The most significant development we see in this domain is the emergence of vertical platform as a service (PaaS) environments that are designed specifically for developers to test and develop vertical applications,” says Coupaye. “Our own researchers are using, or are planning to use, cloud platforms for VoIP, machine-to-machine (M2M), remote device management platforms or health services.”

The key requirement for Vertical Clouds is that they meet the specific demands for their market, such as security, communications or specific tools used by each domain. Also important is that they incorporate search functionality so that users can find and compose the right applications. Vertical Clouds make a lot of sense for both providers and consumers: they allow smaller enterprises to access expensive software and hardware resources that they could not afford by themselves and larger organizations to benefit by selling spare computing capacity.

“For example, video transcoding is very resource intensive and smaller video or animation production companies could access this application through the cloud,” explains Coupaye. “The service could either be provided by a cloud provider that developed an offer for this vertical domain, a larger production house that sells its spare capacity, or by a group of smaller companies that club together in a community cloud model.” Vertical Clouds made an impact in 2010 with plenty of activity in video animation and gaming, such as OnLive.

You can read more about the different types of cloud in our recently published Cloud Computing Insight. 

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.