Cloud Technologies and Services in Educational Activities. The GaaS Service Model

by Ivanko, A. F., Ivanko, M. A., Vinokur, A. I., Kulikova, E. V.

Ivanko AF, Ivanko MA, Vinokur AI, Kulikova EV (2017). Cloud Technologies and Services in Educational Activities. The GaaS Service Model. In Young Scientist USA, Vol. 9 (p. 21). Auburn, WA: Lulu Press.



 

Abstract. The relevance of the study is due to the fact that modern information technologies are being actively introduced into the curricula of many universities, providing opportunities for distance learning and education. In this regard, this article is aimed at identifying and revealing the features of the modern process of cloud technologies, since modern computer technologies, cloud services, undoubtedly make the learning process more productive, brighter and more accessible, allow you to acquire knowledge using new models of information technologies, in including, remotely, increase the degree of involvement of all possible participants in the educational process.

Keywords: cloud technologies, cloud services, service models, information society, information technologies in education.

 

The main approaches and methods for solving this problem are the application of cloud technologies as a training tool, which has obvious advantages. First of all, it's availability. The Internet is an open environment that everyone can use, and the various service models make it possible to implement any group work related to the educational process.

The article presents various service models, reveals the specific features of each of the presented, identifies the opportunities and benefits of using the GaaS service model for various training projects (for example, educational games), which allow to consider the possibilities of various cloud technologies comprehensively.

The materials of the article are of practical value for teachers and managers of educational programs, as well as top managers of universities and academies wishing to improve the quality of the educational process and to draw the attention of young people to the most modern methods of training built on the use of modern cloud technologies and cloud services, as well as new opportunities information community.

Information technology is one of the promising areas of modern science. There are new problem-oriented areas, there are promising innovative solutions. They help us to work effectively and interestingly spend our leisure time, there are thoughts about using methods of gaming in educational technologies. Cloud technologies are among the newest, most modern information methods for processing data and information. They appeared quite recently, but they are spreading rapidly in the information society in various fields.

When computer networks appeared, the question often arose of what is their advantage over stand-alone computers? We have always answered this question so-advantages in unlimited computing resources of the network. Cloud technology is the unlimited amount of memory that the Internet provides.

Of course, there are advantages of cloud technologies among which you can note the following:

        No large computing power is required-any mobile multimedia device, such as a tablet, etc., gets huge opportunities when opening a browser window;

        High reliability;

        High speed processing of information and data;

        Savings on the purchase of software (important for universities) — all the necessary programs are already in the service;

        Your memory devices do not overflow — all data is stored on the network;

        Accessibility — the clouds are accessible to everyone, from any point where there is Internet, from any computer where there is a browser;

        Security — «cloud» services have sufficiently high security with proper provision;

        Of course, there are also negative sides:

        Cloud service is provided by someone, accordingly, the safety of user data depends on this company;

        The need to be always on the network for work.

Features and specificity of the modern educational process is the emergence of distance learning technologies. If the student can send out by e-mail summaries or guidelines for doing practical work or laboratory assignments, then the technique for doing practical exercises can be used available to the student directly at the place of his residence or residence. This is the perspective of cloud technologies for the educational process.

Cloud technologies are new opportunities for processing information and data, in which computer resources are provided via the Internet as an online service. The word «cloud» is a conditional concept, as some metaphor, embodying a complex pseudo system, hiding behind itself all the technical details.

The purpose of our work is to investigate the cloud-based technology of GaaS (Game as a Service) and to clarify its differences from the cloud service models identified by the Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS).

To conduct the research, we set ourselves the following tasks: to present the main features of 3 models of cloud services, compare with them the technology of GaaS (Game as a Service), to consider the pros and cons of GaaS technology.

The novelty of the study is due to the fact that GaaS technology has appeared recently, it is little known. Moreover, no scientific source compares it with cloud service models, and does not evaluate this technology as a service model.

In our work we used analytical and comparative methods of investigation.

The idea of cloud computing appeared back in 1960, when John McCarthy suggested that someday computer calculations would be made using public utilities. [1] However, the popularization and comprehension of cloud technologies occurred quite recently, in the two thousandth years. In this regard, the concept of cloud computing is new, the generally accepted scientific definition of cloud computing at the moment does not exist. In the article «CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES: BASIC MODELS, APPLICATIONS, CONCEPTS AND DEVELOPMENT TRENDS» the following definition is given: «Cloud computing is usually understood as providing the user with computer resources and capacities in the form of Internet services. Computing resources are provided to the user in a «pure» form, and the user may not have a clue what computers process his requests, what operating system is controlled, etc. " [1,2]

And in the widespread article of the National Institute of Standards and Technology laboratory, «cloud computing is a model that provides ubiquitous and convenient network access on demand to a common pool of configurable computing resources (such as data transfer networks, servers, storage devices, applications and services) that can be promptly provided and released with minimal operating costs or calls to the provider. " [2]

In its work, the above-mentioned laboratory singled out three models for servicing cloud services:

Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) — cloud software as a service.

Software as a service is a model in which the user is given the opportunity to use the application software [8,9] of the provider working in the cloud infrastructure and accessible from various client devices or through a thin client (for example, from the browser or through the program interface). The user is provided with limited software settings. Control and management of the basic physical and virtual infrastructure of the cloud, including the network, servers, operating systems, storage, or even individual application features (except for a limited set of custom application configuration settings) is performed by the cloud provider.

Examples of SaaS are Gmail, Intuit QuickBooks Online, and others.

Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) — cloud platform as a service:

Platform as a service is a model where the user is given the opportunity to use the cloud infrastructure for basic software for subsequent placement on it of new or existing applications (own, developed to order or purchased).

Control and management of the basic physical and virtual infrastructure of the cloud, including the network, servers, operating systems, storage systems, is provided by the cloud provider, with the exception of developed or installed applications, and, if possible, the configuration parameters of the environment (platform) [10,11].

Examples of platform services are Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure and others.

Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) — cloud infrastructure as a service.

Infrastructure as a service is provided as an opportunity to use the cloud infrastructure to independently manage processing, storage, networks and other fundamental computing resources, for example, a user can install and run arbitrary software that can include operating systems, platform and application software. The consumer can monitor operating systems, virtual storage systems and installed applications, and also have limited control over the set of available network services (for example, a firewall, DNS). Monitoring and management of the basic physical and virtual infrastructure of the cloud, including the network, servers, types of operating systems used, storage systems, is provided by the cloud provider.

Examples of infrastructure services are: VMWare, Amazon EC2, etc. [3]

In early 2016, a conference was held with representatives of the cloud service Playkey, organized by the blog RUVDS, where the technical director of this service, Aleksey Lykov, tried to disclose the concept of the new technology GaaS — Game As A Service used in the service.

The Playkey cloud service allows you to play computer games without installing them on your computer [14,15]. The technology is not so complicated: the game runs on the server, turns into a video stream, is sent to the user via the Internet in the form of video streaming. The user performs his control by pressing the buttons on the keyboard and mouse of his computer — information about this is sent to the server. This cycle is so fast that the user does not notice what is playing on the remote server. [4]

In one of the articles on Habrahabra, one of the authors of the RUVDS.com blog, describing GaaS technology, noticed that it is the joint of IaaS and PaaS. [4]

However, when working with Game as a Service, you need:

1. need to download the software client;

2. The user can only play games already installed on the server, which have a limited number. He can neither download new nor supplement old ones.

We see that GaaS technology allows you to change only the settings of games, which does not contradict the definition of the SaaS model.

Based on the descriptions of previously selected models, we believe that the author of the RUVDS.com blog is mistaken, and Game as a Service, in terms of the features provided to the user, is more similar to SaaS.

Accordingly, we have a question: what distinguishes GaaS from SaaS and whether it is possible to separate it into a separate model?

This question was asked in private messages in the social network «VKontakte» Alexei Lykov, who replied that «GaaS (Game as a service) is a invented abbreviation for games, in fact it is no different from SaaS». [5]

Minuses:

        The game requires the Internet, which is not everywhere and not always. This greatly hampers the development of such services — today small towns of Russia continue to experience problems with connecting to the world wide web;

        Due to the peculiarity of the technology, the response to user requests occurs with a certain delay. The average player will not even notice this, but professional gamers may be delayed, perhaps, by some inconvenience;

        payment for a subscription to the service (in addition to buying the key to the game).

Pros for game developers:

        The technology under consideration allows solving the problem of piracy.

The main plus for the developer of the service:

        Receiving income from subscriptions.

Cons for the developer of the service:

        A small number of cloud providers willing to provide servers on the rental model;

        Not all ISPs are ready to provide the end user with high-quality Internet;

        The servers of most cloud providers, collected several years ago, quickly become obsolete. For games, stronger hardware is required, which forces developers of gaming cloud services to invest in improving servers.

Conclusions:

Considering the capabilities of the latest Game as a Service technology and comparing it with the three models of cloud services provided by the Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies, we came to the conclusion that most of all GaaS is similar to SaaS.

However, it has one significant difference in the technology of interaction with the cloud server, therefore, in our opinion, the technology of Game as a Service can be classified as SaaS and included in the classification as a sub-item of SaaS.

As you can see, GaaS technology has brought a lot of positive to cloud services. Especially a lot of pluses for the end user — weak hardware and lack of memory does not prevent pleasant pastime, you do not have to wait for the game to download and install, it takes very little time to enter and download the game through cloud services, which is promising for the gaming of the educational process.

 

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