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Cloud computing has gained significant traction in recent years. Companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft have been building massive data centers over the past few years. Spanning geographic and administrative domains, these data centers tend to be built out of commodity desktops with the total number of computers managed by these companies being in the order of millions. Additionally, the use of virtualization allows a physical node to be presented as a set of virtual nodes resulting in a seemingly inexhaustible set of computational resources. By leveraging economies of scale, these data centers can provision cpu, networking, and storage at substantially reduced prices which in turn underpins the move by many institutions to host their services in the cloud.
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