Cloud Computing and Who Invented It

The internet is “the cloud”, therefore, cloud computing refers to services delivered over the internet without the need for extra equipment or complicated infrastructure. All that is needed is a computer connected to the internet.

An online backup service provider stores data for customers on their equipment. Customers can choose to have their entire computer backed up, or just certain files. They can then access the data via the internet. The service provider supports the data and manages the security. This is much simpler and less expensive for consumers than buying extra hardware, managing its security and maintaining the equipment themselves.

The greatest conveniences of online storage systems are the ability to access files from any location and from any computer. As security measures improve and storage space increases, there is no reason not to use cloud computing for backing up personal or business files.

What does cloud computing really mean?
Some analysts and vendors give a rather narrow definition of cloud computing as an updated version of utility computing, which is basically a series of virtual servers accessible via the internet. Other analysts give a broader explanation, arguing anything consumed outside a computer’s firewall is “in the cloud,” which, they say includes conventional outsourcing.

The real purpose of cloud computing becomes clear when you consider what IT is always in need of: ways to increase capacity or add capabilities instantly, without training new employees, investing in new infrastructure or licensing new software. With cloud computing, IT can instantly extend its existing capabilities over the internet.

As far as cloud computing seems to have come over the past few years, it is still in the early stages of development. There are a slew of providers, both large and small, providing a large variety of cloud-based services, such as:

  • Spam filtering.
  • Full-blown applications.
  • Storage services.
  • Utility style infrastructures.
  • Saas (software as a service) provider.

Most of these services have to be plugged into individually, but cloud computing integrations and aggregations are already in the works.

What is cloud computing all about?

  1. SaaS – Software as a Service computing uses a multi-tenant design to deliver a single application to thousands of customers through the browser. From the customer’s point of view, this means no need to invest in software licenses or servers. From a provider’s view, it means that with just one application to maintain, costs are much lower than conventional hosting services. SaaS is commonly used in HR applications, but it is rapidly gaining popularity in other areas.
  2. Utility computing – This is not a new concept, but it is gaining new recognition as a valuable cloud computing resource IT is able to access on demand. Currently used mainly for supplemental, non-critical needs, utility computing is expected to one day replace many parts of a data center.
  3. Cloud web services – Similar to SaaS, cloud web service providers offer APIs which developers can effectively exploit over the internet, instead of providing full-blown applications. Providers are able to offer everything from discrete business services to conventional credit card processing services.

Who Invented Cloud Computing?
The foundation of the idea of cloud computing began in the 1960s. John McCarthy conceived the notion that “computation may someday be organized as a public utility”.

In 1966, Douglas Parkhill wrote the book “The Challenge of the Computer Utility” which thoroughly explores all modern-day characteristics of cloud computing – such as offered as a utility, elastic provision, seemingly infinite supply and online – as a comparison to electricity.

Other scholars maintain that the roots of cloud computing date back to the 1950s when Herb Grosch (creator of Grosch’s Law) predicted that one day the entire world would function on dumb terminals powered by as few as fifteen mega data centers.

An early implementation of cloud computing was patented and put to use (in England and Germany) by Hardy Schloer. He termed the system a “one page web.” It was complete with:

  • multiple user applications.
  • Cloud storage.
  • Multiple identification providers.
  • Back-end servers – including plug-in applications.
  • Multiple tiers of servers capable of handling different end-user devices via the internet.
  • Built in security features.

The phenomenal growth of cloud computing is credited to:

  • The ubiquitous availability of high capacity networks.
  • Widespread usage of virtual hardware.
  • Service driven architecture.
  • Utility computing.
  • Low cost computers and storage devices.

Amazon had a major role in the further development of cloud computing when they modernized their data centers. At the time, like most computer networks, they were only using about 10% of their capacity at any one time. Realizing that the new cloud architecture increased efficiency, Amazon initiated the development of a new product that could provide cloud computing to customers. In 2006, they launched the utility computing-based service called Amazon Web Service (AWS).

Other companies followed suit with additions and enhancements to make cloud computing what it is today.

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