University of Calgary

Time for Canada to build ‘national cloud utility’

UToday HomeApril 4, 2013

By Marie-Helene Thibeault

Lynn Sutherland spoke at the Computer Science alumni chapter’s AGM about cloud computing.Lynn Sutherland, director, strategic projects for the Canadian Cloud Council, spoke at the Computer Science alumni chapter’s AGM about cloud computing. Photo courtesy Eric SitAn inquisitive group of 30 computer science alumni gathered on March 21 for an evening of networking and a presentation by Lynn Sutherland, director, strategic projects for the Canadian Cloud Council.

Sutherland’s presentation at MacEwan Hall covered various topics including the history and functioning of cloud computing, its use in combination with mobile devices, the technology’s unique adoption cycle, projected market opportunities, policy considerations, and opportunities for businesses and government to leverage the technology on a larger scale.

“The cloud is a major transformation of information and communications technology and business practices that will be similar in impact to email and the World Wide Web. Most individuals are already using the cloud. Now businesses, institutions and government need a plan to transition to the cloud over the next few years,” said Sutherland.

Cloud computing — whose name was inspired by the symbol frequently used to represent the Internet in flowcharts — consists of delivering hosted services such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) over the Internet. Through cloud computing, computing power, computing infrastructure, applications, business processes and even personal collaboration can be delivered as a service wherever and whenever needed.

According to Sutherland, Canada should build a national cloud utility that will propel the country to the forefront of international visionary economic and societal leaders — in the same way we’ve gone about building physical infrastructures such as the national railroad, water, electricity, telecommunications and transportation networks.

“Developing a large-scale cloud would unite the country, increase productivity, save energy, deliver cost savings in health and education, and enable Canada to be a global leader in building clouds and delivering cloud services,” she told the group.

The presentation, followed by an engaging discussion, was also videotaped and is available for viewing at:

Each year, the Computer Science Alumni Chapter hosts two distinguished speaker events in Calgary intended for its 1,464 regional members. The function on March 21 also served as the annual general meeting for this group which has been active since 2004.

The next educational and networking opportunity for Computer Science Alumni is set for May 9 as part of the Computer Science Department’s Annual Industry Day held at the Husky Oil Great Hall – Rosza Centre. More information can be found at:


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