The roots of cloud computing can be traced back to the 1960s, with DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) project MAC and J.C.R Licklider’s vision for the “Intergalactic Computer Network” or the Internet as it’s known today.
However, it wasn’t until the rise of the Internet and the public release of the World Wide Web in the 1990s that the world took its first step towards creating cloud computing.
1. The 1990s: The Rise of SaaS
The invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and the release of web browsers a few years later changed the internet as we know it. It invited massive investment into networking technology and inspired social changes that affect us to these days. During the 90s, personal computers were widely available to consumers because they had become more affordable. In order to meet the demand of large companies that provide their services to a more connected world, the data centre industry also saw massive growth.
This also spawned the idea of allowing users to access the services and applications provided by a company locally on their personal computer instead of their being a need for physical distribution. Hence, Software-as-a-Service applications were born. One of the first success stories of this new revolution was Salesforce. In 1999, they delivered CRM software of enterprise-grade that could be accessed via a web browser.
2. The 2000s: IaaS and the Cloud Became a Real Thing
After the success of Salesforce, the industry was in a race to carve out more of a market share of this promising new industry. With the expansion of Platform-as-a-Service, SaaS, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service, the cloud was everywhere. Moreover, the UX design allowed regular lay people to gain access to data that was exclusive to coders and programmers. The ship had set sail and everyone was in on it, for entertainment, government work, finance, healthcare and more.
It also ushered in a massive cultural shift unlike anything seen before. Information could be accessed more easily and barriers of knowledge were being shattered. The humblest of places were birthing great things and wealth was being created in the remotest parts of the world. However, one of the biggest innovators and winners of the cloud computing gold rush was Amazon Web Services (AWS).
AWS was internally released by Amazon in 2002 to provide its employees with the database and computing resources required for their projects. This dramatically increased productivity since everything was scalable and there was no need for new infrastructure for every project. With the public release of AWS in 2006 and their Pay-as-you-go program, the industry accelerated rapidly. AWS and its IaaS competitors changed the way businesses think and manage their resources.
3. Various Types of Cloud Services
In regular conversation, “cloud” is often referred to as the public cloud. These cloud computing services use modern technology and virtualization to provide scalable storage and computing resources to large and small businesses and individuals.
While individuals use it primarily for storage and small projects, business cloud and enterprise cloud services are often vital to the functioning of most companies. Then there are the private cloud services that are usually operated and controlled by a single organization for more control and privacy of sensitive data.
4. The Future of Cloud Computing
This year has changed consumer behaviour, social interactions, work environments and the future of cloud computing immensely. Whether we are talking about public, private, or enterprise cloud solutions, current circumstances show that remote work is possible for a significant number of workers.
The same can be seen in the education sector. Remote workers don’t need to waste fuel or resources on their commute and businesses can reduce their operating costs and energy consumption by scaling down their infrastructure.
Cloud computing shows a promising future where the planet can reduce its carbon emissions while businesses can become more profitable and individuals can spend more time with their loved ones.
It also makes education more accessible to students from all backgrounds. This also increases competition that may encourage expensive universities and colleges to rethink their value propositions.
While it’s impossible to predict the future of cloud computing with extreme precision, the good news is that it can only get better.