Cloud Computing research

In third year networking we do a lot of work that involves cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Seeing the amount of money businesses have saved by moving to more managed options in the cloud has prompted me to research this more. To do this i analyzed a case study where a New Zealand business made big savings by shifting over to the cloud.

https://aws.amazon.com/solutions/case-studies/yellow_new_zealand/
Faster service delivery, easy scaling, and a consistent high quality of delivery is what Yellow based their decision on when moving to AWS in 2015. Only through a cloud solution could the company automate its IT, introduce self-service features, and take advantage of pay-as-you-go pricing models. Yellow New Zealand wanted to leverage public cloud offerings from organizations such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deliver the benefits and capabilities of cloud technologies with minimal technical, financial, and commercial risk.
Before choosing AWS, the planners at yellow already knew they wanted to move to the cloud to reduce costs and increase efficiency of its IT staff and systems. AWS was chosen over other considerations because of the technical, financial benefits and low commercial risk due to them being the main industry player (2015). Yellow differs from other case studies in that they worked extensively with an AWS solution architecht, Cloud specialist, and other parties to plan and undertake their switch to the cloud.
One thing Yellow was looking for in a cloud provider was the possibility for automation of tasks. Yellow currently takes advantage of AWS Cloudformation in conjunction with AWS Lambda to deploy and scale-up its applications and uses Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECS) to automate new code pushes and maintain versioning.

Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS) is a highly scalable, fast, container management service that makes it easy to run, stop, and manage Docker containers on a cluster of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. Amazon ECS lets you launch and stop container-based applications with simple API calls, allows you to get the state of your cluster from a centralized service, and gives you access to many familiar Amazon EC2 features. Cite http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonECS/latest/developerguide/Welcome.html

Elasticache is another AWS offering which Yellow utilizes in its applications and it allows access/storage of frequently used data by users. The Elasticache instance in use runs Redis which is used as a data store, cache and message broker. “Combining code optimizations with Amazon Elasticsearch Service has made response times twice as fast for business searches carried out on its core website, Yellow online. ElastiCache is a web service that makes it easy to set up, manage, and scale a distributed in-memory cache environment in the cloud. It provides a high-performance, scalable, and cost-effective caching solution, while removing the complexity associated with deploying and managing a distributed cache environment. More information can be found at: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonElastiCache/latest/UserGuide/WhatIs.html
Redis is an open source (BSD licensed), in-memory data structure store, used as a database, cache and message broker. It supports data structures such as strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets with range queries, bitmaps, hyperloglogs and geospatial indexes with radius queries. More information can be found at:
https://redis.io/

Availability – latency
Due to the multi-region support offered for many of Amazon’s services, Yellow was able to deploy their systems appropriate region (Sydney) to decrease latency times for their userbase in New Zealand. Yellow’s own datacentre in Auckland is directly connected to AWS using AWS direct connect using MegaPort which significantly decreases latency and increases throughput.

Potential research topic – Blockchain

As somebody who has used Bitcoin and researched some of the different types of coins, i am interested in researching Blockchain technology to see if it is appropriate for a research project.

Knowing very little about Blockchain, i found wikipedia as well as these videos quite good to get the basic ideas about Blockchain. This will help me interpret the technical content of academic papers on Blockchain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain

Blockchain was invented along with Bitcoin by an unknown person (or group), Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a distributed database used to maintain an expanding set of records (blocks). The most widely used implementations function within a peer-to-peer network made on the same protocol to validate new blocks. Blockchain technology allows transactions to be recorded between two parties securely and in a verifiable way which is why Blockchain is considered superior than previous technologies for digital transactions.

Understanding Bitcoin: Cryptography, engineering and economics

https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/nsdi16/nsdi16-paper-eyal.pdf

http://bit.ly/2sVEu2n

http://bit.ly/2sViowL

 

Doing a paper on Blockchain would require a lot more research than can be fit in before my RES701 proposal is due. There are a lot of good papers on Blockchain which i’ve glossed over but it is a subject which i’m not comfortable enough to pursue with my starting knowledge. Topics like Virtualization, Cloud computing, would be better for a research project due to my current level knowledge on those topics.

Ethical Considerations

This lesson we had to learn about ethical considerations and consider them for our research proposal topics. There are a number of templates NMIT provides which need to be handed in along with your proposal depending on what type of research you will be doing:

  • Research ethics application
  • Consent for interviews-focus groups
  • Survey template

Ethical considerations need to be made to protect the researcher and their org i.e. NMIT. Some of the considerations include:

  • Disclosure agreements
  • Informed consent – are the participants ‘vulnerable participants’ i.e. children? in this case there are extra hurdles to getting ethical consent
  • Voluntary participation – can people quit the study at any time and will the research still be able to go ahead if this happens?
  • Consideration of research implications i.e health and well being of participants
  • Privacy considerations/agreements

There are a lot of scenarios where you would need to make considerations/get extra approval, but my research topic doesn’t require many ethical considerations. I will still be filling out the forms to because they need to be approved.

Potential research topic – Negative effects of computer gaming on adolescent students learning

This research topic popped up as an idea for my research proposal because i have an interest in the topic. I’m not looking at it for a research report but rather just for the research proposal, i think there’d be too many ethical considerations to bother looking in this area.

One of the problems i’ve found with the research in this area is that many of the papers/presenters differ in their idea of what video-games are. For example, the Ted talks presenter seems to speak generally about video games and their benefits then shows evidence of purely educational ones being good for the brain.

Another study links higher usage of gaming consoles to lower GCSE grades but one of the survey questions was based around the number of times per day the student had used the device rather than amount of hours per day.

There seems to be a number of ways the studies measure the effect on adolescent learning but i’ve found from reading the papers that correlation of video game usage with grades seems to be the most consistent measure which is easiest to survey. Most of the research shows that students who spent more time on non-educational video games received lower grades.

There is definitely room for primary research here as long as the type of gaming is clearly defined i.e. Educational video games, Violent video games. The kinds of primary research i could see being useful for this would require ethical consent because participants would most likely be classed as ‘vulnerable participants’ due to age.

VULNERABLE PARTICIPANTS

Informed consent processes may need to take account of vulnerable participants.  Those considered to be vulnerable include children, prisoners, and people with a mental illness, altered state of consciousness or intellectual disability.  Where the vulnerable participant is not competent to give consent, proxy consent must be sought from a person legally representing the person’s interests.  In the case of children, consent must come from both the child’s legal guardian and the child where appropriate.  The vulnerable person’s decision not to participate has priority over any other valid proxy consent.

 

Links examined relating to the topic:

https://www.ncb.org.uk/northern-ireland/projects-and-programmes/ict-and-me

http://www.acsd.org/article/the-effect-of-videogames-on-student-achievement/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17606832

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3974676/#pone.0087943-Swing1

http://dh101.humanities.ucla.edu/DH101Fall12Lab4/archive/files/c1f5d81cba85404ac2a2919f5cb8d58b.pdf

http://www.heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/pubs/Reports/YFCY2009Final_January.pdf

https://www.psychologicalscience.org/media/releases/2010/weis.cfm

 

 

Finding the right research topic

This is a good time for me to think about alternative ideas for next semester. For this RES701 assignment though, research proposols, research-project proposols, and project proposals are the ones that fit the marking best.

Choosing a topic for a potentially 450 hour assignment is not a decision to take lightly. I will be looking at an area that’s interesting and would increase my employment chances. Luckily i am interested in Cloud, Security, Virtualization which are all applicable to my ideal career path.

Activity 1

The IT area/subject i have most enjoyed
Networking

The IT area/subject i least enjoyed is
The more complicated levels of software dev -coding with unity,db,c#,etc all in one project making things complicated on many levels. Although i didn’t fail i still found i could not understand everything in the short time.

The IT area/subject i am most interested in
Virtualization

I chose to study IT because
Living situation -could stay home, still paying some but getting a good deal as opposed to paying full rent/providing fully for self
Course costs – Good deal for me
Interests with IT – Previous computer experience and knowledge of the different areas of IT was exciting
Pay bracket – Wanting a skillset to put me above typical mcdonalds/slave labour type jobs
Saw it as a very versatile degree/area – I knew that even if i got bored halfway through, could still finish it and it would still be a + in many types of jobs compared to say a biology or arts degree
If i couldn’t study IT i would study

Some sort of training to do with law enforcement, or probably a role in the army that could be applied outside i.e a trade

when i was a kid i wanted to be
Law enforcement,military

One IT thing i would like to know more about?
Security

 

Activity 2

Broad Research/Project Interest Area

 

Virtualization Technology

 

Description of area of IT that interests you

Virtualization technology interests me because it’s something not many people know about yet it’s key to making many of the apps/websites/web services available to us at an acceptable price. It allows hosting providers to utilize their hardware most efficiently to reduce consumer costs, Sys admins to roll out new features on disposable replica systems, app developers to test their apps multi-platform easily, and a whole range of other uses.

 

Why is it interesting to you

I am fascinated by the idea of a large data center being operated at lower overall costs because it’s all centralized – providing resources to a business that would otherwise incur much higher costs operating the hardware themselves. This is just as much a cloud thing as virtualization, but there’s also other virtualization uses that interest me such as testing – being able to deploy a mobile OS in minutes on the same machine you’re coding on and then testing it – using a virtual network environment on the side in a sys admin job to deploy things pre-rollout to see if they won’t mess up the whole network.

 

Three things you know about it

Many different types i.e network virtualization, basic desktop virtualization(vmware workstation), storage virtualization

 

Three things you believe about it

 

– I believe that while there’s often a small performance drop using virtualization, it is still the most cost effective thing for a number of situations

– I believe some – or all – types of virtualization still have limitations. I.e. i was able to test my SDV game in a virtual android environment on my PC but when i tried to do other things

on the VM – including researching how – i found it was quite limited in some ways

-I believe many businesses may benefit from services that use virtualization, but have yet to adopt virtualization technology themselves

 

Three things you don’t know about it

Although i’ve done many assignments using virtualization and know a fair few uses for it, i’m still interested to see just how much certain types of virtualization have changed businesses in terms of efficiency and costs.

 

I also need to explore more types of virtualization and the situations they can be applied to i.e. storage,network,etc as opposed to just desktop virtualization which i frequently take advantage of

I would like to look into how efficient the different types of virtualization are – what is the loss in performance using X type of virtualization for X purpose?

 

Find an online resource about it – (post url)

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2045814/six-ways-to-use-virtualization-in-your-small-business.html

Aug,2013

 

Construct 10 (interesting!) questions about your topic

 

Right now i need more research on the topic to create good questions, i’m also not 100% familiar on what makes a good research question so i’ll have to go back and change these later.

 

  • What are the limitations of hardware virtualization?
  • What are the different types of virtualization and how are they utilized?
  • How has virtualization changed small-medium sized businesses in the past X years?
  • In what ways have small-medium sized businesses used virtualization to increase efficiency?
  • How has virtualization technology affected application development in the past x years?
  • What kinds of virtualization techniques can positively impact disaster recovery for businesses?
  • What are the challenges in adopting Virtualization technology for small businesses?

2nd publication exmained

Note: This is not a full review but rather a quicker analysis to see if this publication is suitable enough for the assignment

Publication title:

User acceptance of information technology: system characteristics, user perceptions and behavioral impacts

https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/30954/0000626.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Authors 

Fred D. Davis

Fred D. Davis published this paper at University of Michigan which is a fairly high ranking university for this field of study. Research on him shows he has done further work in his field.

From the abstract i got the following information very easily:

What is the research topic?

Factors affecting user acceptance of information systems (IS)

What did the authors do?

Examined previous literature and studies about the subject, formed a theory and produced models which were then tested against a real group of people in an organization to form conclusions.

 

What they discovered

Perceived usefulness was almost 50% more influential than ease of use in determining user acceptance of new IS

IE people adopted an IS if they thought it would lead to some sort of gain or benefit

Designers who focus on ease of use should potentially focus more on usefulness of a system.

 

Read the introduction to get the big picture of the area of research, note any words that you don’t understand and look them up. Try to identify from the introduction what ‘research question(s)’ was that the authors were hoping to answer.

There wasn’t any words in the introduction that most people would have to research.

It’s very clear what they’re going to be looking at at in the intro and these are the questions i’ve gathered:

 

Read the conclusion. If this is well written it will be another summary of the paper (a bit like the abstract) but it will focus more on the results and what they seem to mean.

the conclusion is well written and draws from the findings of the research and survey results.

 

Class Activity – Digital Citizenship

3 different sources of evidence (e.g. a blog post, a journal article, youtube video etc.) for each of the two topics listed below (6 in total).

Try to find as many different kinds of sources of evidence as you can but try to find at least two sources which you think might be ‘academic papers/articles.

Source 1 – Digital citizenship – Article:

URL:  

https://thejournal.com/articles/2014/05/07/digital-citizenship-in-the-real-world.aspx

Search Terms:

inurl:article digital citizenship

How:

found searching on google: inurl:article digital citizenship

Who:

The article is obviously written by or for some sort of journalist publication

googling Stephan Noonoo (author) i found some social media profiles for a tech writer and because his name is quite unique i assume he is in fact the owner those profiles.

When:

05/07/14

What:

ADiscusses the need for a type of ‘digital driver’s license’ for young people adapting to the IT age.

How credible:

There are no con’s of the ideas he talks about although he does go over the challenges that could be faced. It has many opinion-based points but for the type of publication that’s expected. Weighing up the writer’s credentials as well as content i would say this is a credible article.

Source #2 – Digital Citizenship – VIDEO:

URL:

Search Terms:

inurl:youtube digital citizenship video

How:

^^

Who:

Youtube channel ‘common sense education’

What:

A YouTube video explaining digital citizenship for young ones.

When:

14 July, 2015

 

How credible:

The Youtube channel seems to be an educational one with links to the org’s website which contains a bunch of further resources. Multiple presenters are featured in videos on the channel and it seems to receive good ratings & has a decent amount of subscribers for a boring channel. Overall i’d say they’re credible, keeping in mind they are explaining things in a simplified way for a younger audience. Interestingly, the blog post i source below refers to this org which adds some credibility.

 

Source #3 – Digital Citizenship – Blog post

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-citizenship-resources-matt-davis

Search Terms:

blog digital citizenship

How:

found searching on google

Who:

 

Matt Davis, looks like he publishes education related blog posts & articles.

When:

Oct 16 2016

What:

Explains very much the same stuff in the youtube video while referencing their website.

How credible:

The author seems credible. He’s been employed in education and has a number of blog posts. One point to make is that he is not an expert in this particular topic, he simply blogs about a wide range of educational material. That being said, he doesn’t go into too much detail and makes sure to reference other peoples work.

 

Source #1 – Virtualization Technology – article

https://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/the-advantages-of-using-virtualization-technology-in-the-enterprise

Search Terms:

article virtualization technology

How:

^^

Who:

Thomas Burger

About The Author

Thomas Wolfgang Burger is the owner of Thomas Wolfgang Burger Consulting. He has been a consultant, instructor, writer, analyst, and applications developer since 1978. He can be reached at twburger@gmail.com.

This article gives us credentials, contact address which is good. It doesn’t specify whether he works for or has worked for Intel – whose site the article is featured on.

When:

March 5 2012

What:

Provides info about what virtualization is and what Intel is doing to improve & optimize it with their tech

How credible:

The author seems to have credible credentials and is definitely knowledgeable on the subject, but i did find the article to be quite bias because it focused almost solely on Intel tech – which you’d expect from an article posted on Intel’s own site.  It doesn’t specify whether the author works for Intel or has before. While 2012 seems recent, for an exploding technology like virtualization it is quite old news. For virtualization, i wouldn’t look at a 2012 article for anything other than if i was trying to get a basic idea of what virtualization is.

 

Source #2 – Virtualization Technology – Video

URL:

Search Terms:

Virtualization tech youtube

How:

found searching on google

Who:

An anonymous YouTube user but sources their org for creation of the video

When:

Jan 13, 2011

What:

Gives a basic overview of what virtualization is for complete newbies

How credible:

The creator has an unidentifiable youtube name but links his organization which seems legitimate and deals with virtualization, although it isn’t an org i’ve heard of. The video gives a good deal of knowledge which i could see as being quite useful for first year students trying to understand the basic idea of virtualization. Virtualization is a tech that is changing very quickly, but because the video is only explaining the basic ideas without going much into specific technologies, i’d say the 2011 upload date is not too big of a deal.

Source #3- Virtualization Technology – blog

https://virtualizationreview.com/articles/2016/06/17/five-ways-virtualization-has-reinvented-the-datacenter.aspx

Search Terms:

blog virtualization technology

How:

^^

Who:

Tom Fenton

About the Author

Tom Fenton works in VMware’s Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He’s on Twitter @vDoppler.

When:

06/17/2016

What:

Provides info – opinion and facts – about how virtualization has changed data centres

How credible:

Many areas of up and coming IT tech have 1-2 go-to blogs which are seen as places for enthusiasts/people in the industry to get unbiased info about providers & related technologies. Sometimes what happens is they tend to favor a particular provider – paid to or not – and the blogs come out pretty biased. From looking over Tom’s blog and mainly his reviews – it looks like Tom is very well received by his fairly sizable follower base. As for the specific blog post i’m reviewing, i didn’t find any bias in it. Certainly a blog i will be looking at more in my own time since i’m interested in virtualization tech.