Cloud computing is part of the modern history of computing. Today, many companies globally utilize cloud computing to distribute data services and information. Cloud computing offers enterprises lower storage and processing power costs than ever before. It might be challenging to pin down when cloud computing started for those of us who haven’t been around since the dawn of modern computing. Some sources state that we’d have to go back to the origins of computing in the 60s. However, these early attempts at computing didn’t utilize what we see as “the cloud,” so they shouldn’t be regarded as the start of true cloud computing capability.
When Did True Cloud Computing Start?
The actual start of cloud computing as we know it today was in 1996, when the term was coined in a Compaq internal document, according to Technology Review. Earlier attempts by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) were able to crudely link the processing power of three or four machines together into a rudimentary “cloud.” However, these experiments didn’t push the technology of the time towards this advancement. In late 1999, the customer management system Salesforce became one of the best examples of using cloud computing capabilities successfully in a corporate setting.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Microsoft defines cloud computing simply as delivering services such as storage and processing over the internet (“the cloud”). Cloud computing covers many different types of computing solutions. Clouds can come in one of three varieties:
- Public: Public clouds are owned and managed by a third-party organization that offers storage and services to the end-user over the internet.
- Private: While any organization or private user can use a public cloud, private clouds usually confine their use to an organization or set of users.
- Hybrid: Hybrid services combine public delivery of services through the internet via a public cloud with on-premises servers of a private cloud.
The cloud is a method of offering data security and redundancy to users. Because cloud data is stored on several servers accessible through the internet, businesses can move their data seamlessly from one geographical location to another. During the most recent issue with the spread of COVID, cloud computing allowed firms to operate as remote workstations that users could log into without exposing themselves to danger in a crowded office.
Cloud computing also spans several other related terms, including:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS is a software distribution methodology that introduces service delivery over the internet with a pay-as-you-go option. It helps enterprises limit their expenditure since they only have to pay for their use.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): PaaS takes cloud delivery to another level, allowing development and deployment directly onto the cloud. PaaS is a complete integrated system that allows a much more robust use of the cloud for enterprise purposes.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): IaaS includes delivery of networking, storage, and compute resources to an organization or user on demand. Just like its other service-delivery peers, it functions on a pay-as-you-go model allowing it to scale to a company’s needs.
The Brief History of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has become relatively ubiquitous now. Many individuals and organizations utilize the cloud for their processing and storage today. Many applications come with built-in cloud integration. The earliest attempts at setting up a cloud came in the 1960s. Communications networks required linking several individual machines together, allowing them to communicate. However, inter-system communication wasn’t enough to tap into the combined processing power of these machines. While these experiments did spawn the internet (the “cloud”), they didn’t really solve the problem of having distributed processing that could be accessed by an individual or company.
The actual first iterations of cloud computing came in the late 90s. In 1999, companies such as VMWare and Salesforce started to make considerable strides in solving the cloud computing problem. VMWare developed and released their VM Workstation, which allowed individuals to set up virtual machines. Salesforce implemented a customer management service based on cloud computing techniques. Quickly afterward, in 2002, Amazon launched AWS as a free service, testing their own cloud implementation. While it didn’t make a splash back then, it set up one of the world’s largest providers of cloud services, even though no one knew it at the time.
The march of technology saw Google partner with IBM to start promoting cloud technologies within universities. In 2010, Microsoft, another of the world’s current big players in the cloud space, launched their first version of the Azure cloud. IBM followed its example in 2011 with the release of the SmartCloud framework. These launches set the stage for the massive expansion and growth of cloud computing. However, these were mainly enterprise-level projects. At the user level, Docker was introduced in 2013 to provide open-source container software that anyone could use. With the big companies seeing how profitable it was to provide cloud centers, massive construction occurred in 2015, with Microsoft and Google building out data centers globally to support their growing cloud userbase.
In China, a similar situation occurred in 2017, with Huawei, Tencent, and Alibaba developing their own cloud solutions within mainland China. In the decades since the 1990s, cloud computing has changed its face dramatically. Instead of being a niche product, it’s now a commonplace addition to enterprise IT departments worldwide. Cloud storage now offers businesses the chance to store their sensitive documents securely and provide access to workers so they can perform work remotely. It’s an innovation in the field of technology and development. One that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Getting Into Cloud Computing
If you’re interested in developing or researching cloud computing or want to be qualified in the field, Legends of Tech has got you covered. Our courses provide a basic understanding of cloud computing and the background needed to work in a fast-paced enterprise-level IT department. If you’re interested in learning about our offerings or want to know more about our courses in other areas, contact us today! We’ll be glad to guide you through our systems and find one that is the perfect fit for you.