Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Cloud Computing

UM LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Computer Information Systems

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will introduce students to the foundations of Cloud Computing. Starting from the evolution of Cloud Computing to the current state of the practice. This includes entrusting services with a user's data, software and computation over a network. In this study-unit the three most popular cloud service delivery models will be explored: Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Study-unit Aims:

The aim is to study the three service models of Cloud Computing, with an emphasis on PaaS and SaaS. Different Cloud Computing providers will be examined and the differences in their implementations revealed. Software development and the utilisation of the Cloud, from a software developer’s and business perspective, will be explored. An overview of software algorithms used in the cloud will also be examined in this study unit.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Understand the historical evolution of computing and how Cloud Computing came to be;
- Explain and describe the desired features of the Cloud such as self-service, elasticity, per-usage metering and billing and customization;
- Understand business economics and metrics of Cloud Computing;
- Understand how software developing on or for the Cloud differs from traditional software development;
- Describe virtualisation and compare different software solutions that provide virtualisation;
- Summarise computer science principles that are used in evaluating the complexity of cloud algorithms;
- Determine the issues that exist in multicast communication and for determining and communicating node failures;
- Assess the difficulty in determining causality in distributed systems;
- Understand the consequences of the CAP Theorem in Cloud environments;
- Compare traditional relational databases with NoSQL distributed databases;
- Report the principles of existing and functioning systems of SaaS and PaaS Clouds;
- Identify typical security issues in Cloud Computing.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Connect and monitor existing cloud services as a Cloud consumer;
- Development of software products utilizing or for the Cloud;
- Capability to assess suitability of Cloud Computing for different scenarios;
- Appreciate the benefits of virtualisation as a means of running legacy systems on new hardware and improve resource usage;
- Measure the complexity of algorithms used in the Cloud, and assess their limitations;
- Develop resilient algorithms that consider the complexity of the cloud environment;
- Choose the appropriate storage mechanism for the type of problem being considered;

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

To be announced at a later date.


STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 40%
Project Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Joseph Bonello
Colin Layfield
Christopher Porter
Mark J. Vella
Peter Albert Xuereb


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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.