Cloud Computing History

Cloud computing is the result of evolution of a number of key technology concepts such as virtualization, grid computing, multi-tenancy, scalability, and the exponential increase in computing power and storage.

Even though the origin of cloud computing is not exactly known, the analogy of cloud computing has been existed since 1950s when mainframe computers became available to perform high-volume computing processing. Mainframes were costly and bulky to use.

Therefore to make more efficient use of them, a practice evolved that allowed a number of thin clients (or static computer terminals) to share the computing power of mainframes. And this is how “resource pooling” and “time-sharing” – key terms associated with cloud computing – came into common parlance.

The 1990s saw telecommunication service providers using virtual private network (VPN) to manage their network bandwidth effectively. Depending on the demand load, they would switch the traffic to the available servers. This process happened at the infrastructure and data centre level without the users being aware of it. The telecommunication service providers began to use the cloud symbol to demarcate the boundary between the network service providers and the users. In other words, it is akin to saying to end users, “You do not need to know where and how you get the network bandwidth as long as it is available to you uninterrupted. Leave it to us.” In essence, this is where the concept of Infrastructure-as-a- Service took roots.

The decade of 2000s saw the actual emergence and evolution of Cloud computing to its present form. Scientists and technologists explored ways to extend Cloud computing beyond applications and platforms. Technology companies made major breakthroughs in their Cloud products and services. This decade saw the introduction and popularization of “pay-as-yougo” pricing model. Gartner predicted that Cloud computing would change the relationship between consumers and providers of IT services. It also observed that “organizations are switching from company-owned hardware and software assets to per-use service-based models” so that the “projected shift to computing…will result in dramatic growth in IT products in some areas and significant reductions in other areas.”

Major cloud technology innovations were made in this decade. In 2008, OpenNebula came out with open-source software for deploying private and hybrid clouds. In 2008, Rackspace – another major player in Cloud space – launched OpenStack, an open-source cloud software. In 2011, IBM launched SmartCloud framework to support Smarter Planet.

Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Oracle also came out with your own Cloud products and services. Today most of the technology companies have some presence in the Cloud market space. Today Cloud computing has become so ubiquitous that people are no longer talking about the potential or implementation-challenges of Cloud. The talk of the town is how Cloud platforms can be used for the next generation innovations such as Big Data, Internet of Things, Mobility, Analytics, Digitization, and Advanced Research.


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