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Researcher: Interdependencies Could Lead to Cloud 'meltdowns'

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As cloud computing becomes increasingly common, serious operational "meltdowns" could take place as end users and vendors mix, match, and bundle services for various means, warns Yale University professor Bryan Ford.

"As diverse, independently-developed cloud services share ever more fluidly and aggressively multiplexed hardware resource pools, unpredictable interactions between load-balancing and other reactive mechanisms could lead to dynamic instabilities or 'meltdowns,'" Ford says.

He notes that new cloud services could be developed that essentially resell, trade, or speculate on complex mixtures of more basic cloud resources and services, similar to how the financial and energy trading industries operate. Each of these various cloud components are often maintained by a single company that shares as few details as possible about the internal operation of its services, Ford says. He warns that this practice could result in the cloud industry creating speculative bubbles and occasional large-scale failures due to overly leveraged composite cloud services.

Ford suggests that "it would be prudent for us to study some of these risks before our socioeconomic system becomes completely and irreversibly dependent on a computing model whose foundations may still be incompletely understood."

From IDG News Service
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