Project funded by R+D+i National Programme (2010-2013)

The concept of cloud computing arose as an evident consequence, on the one hand, of the progressive price reduction of consumer electronic devices with computing capabilities (from mobile phones to netbooks and nettops) and, on the other hand, of the growing availability of broadband connectivity. Even though the initial goal was to enable the users to access their documents and applications from anywhere and using whichever device as a lightweight client, the paradigm is evolving towards the so-called Everything as a Service (EaaS or XaaS) trend, where the cloud will host an unprecedently wide spectrum of resources that will appear as high granularity services to be composed in a flexible manner. The trend may seem unstoppable, but it will be necessary to provide satisfactory answers to the problems of finding and composing suitable services for each individual user, and also to detect new business opportunities over the Internet. Advances in this regard should be coupled with another revolutionary phenomenon underway, namely the outburst of the Web 2.0 technologies that are provoking a socialization of the network through the active participation and involvement of the users.

The current project proposal is situated in this framework, with the ultimate goal of defining a suitable ecosystem to assist the users in finding existing services in the cloud to satisfy their specific needs, and also to detect and cater for new business opportunities in the form of services demanded but not existing as a unique whole. To this aim, we plan to take advantage of the information stored in the different social networks in which the users may participate, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the search procedures. Among others, it will be necessary to tackle the following questions related to the following aspects: a) characterizing both the users and the services to recommend from the information existing in social networks; b) defining suitable reasoning mechanisms to carry out the proposed recommendation procedures; c) defining strategies to offer new services through the automatic composition of existing ones; and d) improving access to the services by the users, ensuring their availability and offering the mechanisms needed to use them from anywhere and using any capable electronic device.

The CLOUDIA project has been conceived in response to the challenges and opportunities that the paradigm of cloud computing entails for all the actor involved in the provision of services. Thus, service providers will see how the search for new niches and the provision and advertising of services is accomplished in an easier and more straightforward manner; the traditional users will no longer have to worry as much as they do now about locating services of their interests, as long as they will be automatically proposed to them; finally, the most active users and those who have interest in doing business in the cloud will find it easy to become service providers, not needing investments or advanced technological background to offer and publicize what they know or what they do. In sum, the solution pursued in CLOUDIA implies the socialization of the access to and the provision of services in the cloud, plus personalized guidance for both consumers and providers in any areas of application.