Cloud Computing Architecture


Cloud computing hosts a wide variety of online services that we use on a daily basis, including web search, social networks, and video streaming. In this course, we study how datacenter hardware, systems software, and applications are designed at large scale for the cloud. The course covers topics including server design, cluster management, large-scale storage systems, serverless computing, data analytics frameworks, and performance analysis.

Learning objectives: After successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain how datacenter hardware and software systems are organized
  • Analyze the performance, energy efficiency, and availability tradeoffs in the design of cloud systems
  • Implement cloud applications and evaluate their performance


  • Professor Gustavo Alonso
  • Professor Ana Klimovic

Teaching Assistants

  • Tom Kuchler
  • Foteini Strati
  • Lazar Cvetković
  • Liming Han
  • Oto Mraz
  • Simon Kassing


  • Please use the Moodle Q&A forum to ask questions outside of lectures and exercise sessions.
  • If you have private questions for the instructors or TAs, please send an email to the mailing list. The mailing list e-mail can be found under the header "Contact" on Moodle.


  • Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, CAB G 61
  • Wednesdays 12:00 - 14:00, CAB G 61


  • Wednesdays 16:00 - 18:00, CAB G 11

NOTE: There will be no exercise session during the first week of the semester. The first exercise session will be held together with the lecture on Wednesday, March 2nd, from 12:00 to 14:00 at CAB G 61. Only from March 9th (inclusive) onwards the regular weekly exercise session is held.


Announcements, lecture/exercise slides and Zoom links will be handled through Moodle.

Grading and deadlines

The final grade will be determined by a semester-long project and an end-of-semester exam.

  • Semester Project (40%)
  • Deadline to submit group preferences for project: Friday March 11th, 2022.
  • Groups will be assigned on Monday March 14th, 2022. You may then start working on the project.
  • Project deadline for Part 1 and 2: Tuesday April 12th, 2022 at 13:00
  • Project deadline for Part 3 and 4: Friday May 27th, 2022 at 13:00
  • End-of-semester Exam (60%)
  • Exam date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2022, from 9:00 to 12:00 in CAB G 11

NOTE: If you would like to drop the course, Friday March 11th, 2022, is the last day.

Reference Material

The following textbooks provide additional material about the topics we will cover in this course:

  • The Datacenter as a Computer, 3rd edition, by Luiz Barroso, Urs Hölzle, and Partha Ranganathan. 
  • Chapter 6 in Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 6th edition, by John Hennessy and David Patterson.

We will also reference to research papers about particular topics during lectures.

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