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Cloud Computing Impacts Network Architecture, Policy Issues

Cloud Computing Impacts Network Architecture, Policy Issues

TPI Releases Final Paper from High-Tech Antitrust Event

Contact: Amy Smorodin
(202) 828-4405

February 2, 2011 – The rising popularity of cloud computing will require changes to the underlying network architecture, raising questions about the impact of regulations on the fledgling industry, explains Christopher Yoo in, “Cloud Computing: Architectural and Policy Implications,” released today by the Technology Policy Institute. The paper is a revised version of a paper presented at the recent TPI conference, “Antitrust and the Dynamics of Competition in High-Tech Industries.”

In the paper, Yoo, Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science and Founding Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition at the University of Pennsylvania, identifies how cloud computing, or the movement of data and applications from an end user’s machine to data centers, will impact underlying network architecture. Cloud computing will likely cause the demand for bandwidth, quality of service, and reliability on access networks to increase. Cloud computing will also change the nature of demand on data centers, including an increased need for high-bandwidth networking between the data centers, increased reliability, and redundancy in computing power and interconnection between servers. It will also require the operator to have increased control over routing of data traffic and metering of resource usage.

Yoo states that the structural impact of cloud computing could have a profound effect on regulatory policy. Shifting computing resources away from operating systems on end users’ computers and toward data centers could make the desktop operating system market less of a focus for regulators. In addition, cloud computing’s increased emphasis on new pricing models and prioritized service underscores the importance of network neutrality regulation. However, Yoo identifies security and privacy issues as the greatest challenges facing cloud computing because mandates vary across jurisdictions, subjecting end users to potential liability depending on where their data is hosted.

“Only time will tell if cloud computing turns out to be the transformative technology that many predict,” Yoo concludes. “In the meantime, both the engineering and the policymaking community should take steps to ensure that industry participants have the tools and latitude to explore cloud computing’s full potential.”

Cloud Computing: Architectural and Policy Implications” is available on the TPI website. Three previously-released papers from the event, “Does Antitrust Enforcement In High Tech Markets Benefit Consumers?,” “Antitrust and Vertical Integration in ‘New Economy’ Industries,” and “Antitrust in High-Tech Industries,” are also available.

The Technology Policy Institute

The Technology Policy Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that focuses on the economics of innovation, technological change, and related regulation in the United States and around the world. More information is available at https://techpolicyinstitute.org/

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