Every ‘Cloud’ has a Silver Lining


Without doubt, cloud storage is one of the most popular topics in IT nowadays. Cloud storage is simply storing documents, photos, etc. into an online warehouse, which can be accessed via several outlets, such as using a web interface or just opening a folder in your computer. There are several cloud storage alternatives, which offers free usage for a limited capacity.

Although it is not certain we are using these systems whether as if really we need them, or because they are just offered to us. Perhaps you remember the movie “Wall-E” where people quit even walking, since there are machine for moving around. I am using Dropbox for long, as I am very pleased to synchronize all my devices and keeping a backup of my documents, whose total is more than 2 GB, but sometimes I wonder are there any pitfalls of using cloud storage this much. Encryption is first concern, can you trust these companies to upload your private documents? Second, limited -and small- capacity. I know that if I continue to throw every document I have to cloud storage, at some point, I have to expand my total space with a premium package. Anyway, assume you really need to keep your documents online for ease of use.

As we talk for personal storage (non-commercial) there are two players in this game; user and service provider. As a user your objective is maximizing your effectiveness based on your needs such as collaboration (shared folder) support, availability of web interface, synchronization to mobile devices, protection and capacity. Problem of service provider is much more complicated. I found a paper which exhibits potential usage and benefit of Operations Research in Cloud Storage studies by Ilyas Iyoob, Emrah Zarifoglu, A.B. Dieker. They provide a list of optimization problems in providers perspective.

I read that internet millionare Kim Dotcom is planning to open a cloud service “Mega” since their well-known file sharing service Megaupload is seized. Perhaps, before getting into action, it would be wise to hire an operations researcher, who is capable of solving the problems listed. Cloud storage could open a new era for OR practitioners.

Feel free to talk about any problem or research you involved related to cloud storage here. Have a nice day!

Photo by eugeniot

Sertalp Bilal Çay

PhD Candidate and Teaching Assistant in Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Lehigh University. Researcher on Conic Optimization, Inventory Theory, Supply Chain Management and Simulation. Blog: sertalpbilal.com