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5 Key Events in the history of Cloud Computing

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While we have been evaluating in our blog posts the various features available on popular Cloud Computing platforms today, I thought it might be a good idea to understand when and how all this started and look back at where this began and trace some of the key events in the progress of cloud computing. Amazon like all other Internet companies in the period of the dot com bubble were left with large amounts of underutilized computing infrastructure, reports suggest less than 10% of the server infrastructure of many companies were being used. Amazon may have use cloud computing as a way to provide this unused resources as utility computing service when they launched S3 as the first true cloud computing service in March 2006.

1. Launch of Amazon Web Services in July 2002
The initial version of AWS in 2002 was focused more on making information available from Amazon to partners through a web services model with programmatic and developer support and was very focused on Amazon as a retailer. While this set the stage for the next steps the launch of S3 was the true step towards building a cloud platform.
Amazon Press Release

2. S3 Launches in March 2006
Here are some interesting articles on the launch of S3 in 2006. The real breakthrough however was the pricing model for S3 which defined the model of 'pay-per-use' which has now become the defacto standard for cloud pricing. Also the launch of S3 really defined the shift of Amazon from being just a retailer to a strong player in the technology space.
Techcrunch Post on S3 on March 14th, 2006
Read Write Web Post on S3 and EC2 on Nov 3rd, 2006
Business Week Article on Jeff Bezos vision on cloud computing on Nov 13th, 2006

3. EC2 Launches in August 2006
EC2 had a much quieter launch in August 2006 but i would think had the bigger impact by making core computing infrastructure available. This completed the loop on enabling a more complete cloud infrastructure being available. In fact at that time analysts had some difficulty in understanding what the big deal is, and thought it looks similar to other hosting services available online only with a different pricing model.
Some interesting articles from that time on the launch:
Technologyevangelist Blog
Virtualization Info

4. Launch of Google App Engine in April 2008
The launch of Google App Engine in 2008 was the entry of the first pure play technology company into the Cloud Computing market. Google a dominant Internet company entering into this market was clearly a major step towards wide spread adoption of cloud computing. As with all their other products they introduced radical pricing models with a free entry level plan and extremely low cost computing and storage services which are currently among the lowest in the market.
Techcrunch post on App Engine Launch
Google App Engine Launch Post

5. Windows Azure launches Beta in Nov 2009
The entry of Microsoft into Cloud Computing is a clear indication of the growth of the space. Microsoft for long has not accepted the Internet and the web as a significant market and has continued to focus on the desktop market for all these years. I think this is a realization that a clear shift is taking place. The launch of Azure is a key event in the history of cloud computing with the largest software company making a small but significant shift to the web.
Launch of Azure Beta
Azure General Availability - Feb 2010
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Published at DZone with permission of Kaushik Raghupathi .

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