The purpose of this paper is to discuss the latest information on cloud computing in a library context.
The paper adopts an investigative approach including literature review and vendor‐provided information.
Cloud computing is both a trend and technology to deliver software and hardware as a service, not as a product. It involves a centralized data center, virtual server space, and secure transfer of data over the internet. The alleged advantages of cloud computing include low cost to own (CTO), agile updates, openness, zero initial investment, just to name a few. Lately library system vendors have begun to deliver cloud computing options. For instance, Ex Libris will release Alma in early 2012. It is an Integrated Library System with a discovery layer based on cloud computing. Amazon (Elastic Compute Cloud called Amazon EC2) and other vendors also offer virtual servers for cloud computing and charge customers by hours, usage, and capacity. If this trend continues for the next several years, it is just a matter of time before librarians will face the decision as to whether they should move into compute cloud.
The paper discusses this new trend, focusing on the pros and cons of moving into cloud computing for libraries.
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