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Consumer-centric Resource Accounting in the Cloud

Lookup NU author(s): Ahmed Mihoob, Dr Carlos Molina-Jimenez, Emeritus Professor Santosh Shrivastava



”Pay only for what you use” principle underpins the charging models of widely used cloud services that are on offer. An important issue then is the accountability of the resource usage data: who performs the measurement to collect resource usage data - the provider, the consumer, a trusted third party (TTP), or some combination of them?Provider-side accountability is the norm for the traditional utility services such as for water, gas and electricity, where providers make use of metering devices that are trusted by consumers. Currently, provider-side accountability is also the basis for cloud service providers, although, as yet there are no equivalent facilities of consumer-trusted metering; rather, consumers have no choice but to take whatever usage data made available by the provider as trustworthy. In light of this, the paper investigates whether it is possible for a consumer to independently collect all the resource usage data required for calculating billing charges for cloud services. If this were possible, then consumers will be able to perform reasonableness checks on the resource usage data available from service providers as well as raise alarms when apparent discrepancies are suspected in consumption figures; furthermore, innovative charging schemes can be constructed with confidence by consumers who are themselves offering third party brokering services.The paper proposes the notion of consumer-centric resource accounting model such that consumers can programmatically compute their consumption charges of a remotely used service. In particular, the notion of strongly consumercentric accounting model is proposed that requires that all the data needed for calculating billing charges can be collected independently by the consumer (or a TTP). Strongly consumer-centric accounting models have the desirable property of openness and transparency, since service consumers are in a position to verify the charges billed to them. The accounting models of two widely used cloud services are examined and possible sources of difficulties are identified, including causes that could lead to discrepancies between the metering data collected by the consumer and the provider.The paper goes on to suggest how cloud service providers can improve their accounting models to make them consumer-centric.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mihoob A; Molina-Jimenez C; Shrivastava S

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2012

Print publication date: 01/03/2012

Source Publication Date: March 2012

Report Number: 1318

Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne