Cloud Computing for Library Services

Posted: June 26, 2010 in ala10, cloud computing, karen coyle, marshall breeding
Tags: ,

Saturday, June 26, 2010

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Washington Convention Center – 143A


Twitter hashtag – #litacloud


This session was presented as a panel discussion followed by a lightning round followed by another panel discussion. Some of the panelists included:


Marshall Breeding, Vanderbilt

Karen Coombs, OCLC

Terry Reese, Oregon State University


Cloud computing: characteristics


NIST Definition –

on-demand self-service

broad network access

resource pooling

rapid elasticity

measured services


Gartner definition

service based

uses internet technologies


scalable and elastic

metered by use


Cloud computing is not merely a delivery method.


Cloud based software-as-a-service

software delivered via the cloud


Cloud based platform-as-a-service

platforms (LAMP stack, Ruby on Rails stack, etc.) delivered via the web


Cloud based infrastructure-as-a-service – Heroku provides an online development/testing platform

Requires a Ruby on Rails application that you’re uploading.

Heroku is using Amazon’s online services as the infrastructure for their own platform as service.


Marshall Breeding, Vanderbilt University


Continuum of Abstraction

Locally owned and installed servers

Co-located servers

Co-located virtual servers

Web hosting

Server hosting services

Application service provider

Software as-a-service



Cloud computing – formal definitions

Highly abstracted computing model

Utility model

Provisioned on demand

Scaled according to variable needs

Discrete virtual machines

Compute cycles on demand

Storage on demand

Elastic – consumption of resources can grow and contract on demand


Hosting Services

Web Hosting

Web site only

Standard support for PHP, Perl, and other dynamic page generation

Dedicated Server

Appropriate for applications that have not been tested and deployed in a virtual environment



Increasing opportunities to eliminate local servers and tech support

All of Serials Solutions’ offerings are delivered as software-as-a-service



Liblime Enterprise Koha deployed in Amazon EC2

LAMP stack implemented on Virtual Machine Image

Ability to meet larger site requirements through high-performance cloud-delivered platform


Karen Coombs, OCLC


Cloud, Community, Collaboration


Collaboration in the Cloud

Infrastructure and tools exist to facilitate better collaboration across libraries

Beak down boundaries between developers in different libraries

Infrastructure alone is not enough. We have to change the ways libraries collaborate.


Transparency and the Cloud

Documentation of cloud application’s infrastructure and capabilities

Web services to as many aspects of the application as possible

Standards based systems (web standards, not library standards)

Blackboxes in the cloud diminish the real power of the cloud – collaborative innovation


Software in the Cloud

Ability to develop in potentially a device and platform independent way

computers, smart phones, single-purpose devices like e-readers

Creates opportunity for geater scalability

Relives the burden of installation and updates

Shared software, libraries, and infrastructure

Don’t have to develop all of these core services locally


Software Development and the Cloud

Cooperative development

Open source projects have been doing this for some time

Shared development effort

Ability for institutions and individuals to participate in different ways

Crowd Sourcing



Systems are designed in a modular fashion to allow developers to extend them.


Terry Reese, Oregon State University


Moving Library IT to “International Waters”


International waters – the idea that in some environments, a completely different set of rules apply.


Shared IT Resources Are Hard

IT resources (staff and hardware) represent a finite and expensive resource

Disks are cheap until you get a lot of them

Server cycles are expensive because they are finite within a given infrastructure

Possibly the biggest barrier is organizational

While projects will have multiple partners, one partner has the responsibility for managing and support the infrastructure.


With cloud computing you can move the project outside the organizational bureaucracy and into international waters where projects can function unencumbered.


With freedom comes options:

Add new partners at will

Partners determine how resources are managed; if you change you mind, that’s fine.

Allows a project to “think bigger” because most cloud resources will scale almost at will.


DuraCloud – DuraSpace

A hosted service and open technology to help organizations and end users effectively utilize public cloud services.

Built upon existing cloud services.

The service can work on Amazon, Atmos, Sun, Rackspace, and other cloud services.

LOCKSS in the cloud based on DuraCloud.


Chronopolis Project – designed primarily as a preservation storage system

Chronopolis Tools also monitors files and does auditing.



TerraPod – digital video library

Allows you to outsource upload and data creation to the creators of the content.



Data in the cloud – loss of control

Terms of service

API lag

Varying support

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