The History of Cloud Computing
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
As it is necessary to know about the evolution of any thing before using it similarly it is necessary to know the history of cloud computing to know more precisely about this concept, before using it. Though cloud computing became popular in the twenty-first century but the evolution this concept is the resultant of the gradual development of the concept of computing since 1950s.
In order to know about the evolution of cloud computing you will have to start from many years back, 1950s, when the idea of computing evolved in the mind of many people working on dumb terminals of central computer. Actually the function of these terminals was only to provide access to the mainframe of the central computer which was not practical. It was not easy for any organization to arrange separate computer for all of its employees due to their high purchase and maintenance cost. Moreover the processing power and the storage capacity provided by the mainframe were also not required immediately by most of its users. This economic problem gave birth to the idea of using this technology economically by providing shared access to the single source, the central computer.
With the passage of time somewhere about in 1970s the concept of virtual machines (VM) evolved in the mind of computer scientists. The creation of VMware, a visualization software, had made it possible to perform simultaneously on more than one operating systems, by using an isolated environment. It enabled them to execute the complete visual of the computer inside a hardware which can also run another operating system completely different from the first one.
The idea of shared access to mainframe developed in 1950s was taken to next level with the evolution of VM operating system in 1970s by allowing various computing environments to exist on a single physical platform. The concept of visualization worked as an important catalyst to drive forward the technology for the evolution of new information and communication technology.
After the evolution of the visualization concept several telecommunication companies offered private visualized network connections in 1990s. Earlier telecommunication companies offered only single dedicated data connection to connect the users point-to-point. But the newly developed private connections offered visualized network which provided low cost services equivalent in quality to the dedicated services. These companies were now able to provide shared access to the same infrastructure to provide individual connections to more users without building new infrastructure.
Understanding Cloud Computing Specifically
You can understand the concept of evolution of cloud computing more precisely through the information given hereunder. Initially Grid computing was invented to solve the large scale problems of parallel computing whereas Utility computing was established to offer metered services for using computing resources. SaaS or Software as a Service was developed for providing subscription services to use the network based applications. Ultimately cloud computing was developed to provide dynamic services for accessing IT resource anytime and anywhere.
The history of cloud computing provided here will help you in understanding this concept more precisely. Cloud computing, in other words, can be presented as a computing facility distributed on a network to enable you to run an application or program simultaneously on various connected computers.
In this system one or more than one computing hardware machines connected together through a communication system which can be an internet connection, a LAN, a WAN or an intranet connection are used collectively as a server to allow the users to access the server for running a stored data, an application or any other personal need for computing by using its processing power. Consequently the processing power offered by the server connected to a network through internet or any other connecting network allows its users to run an application anytime and from anywhere without using their personal computers every time. Thus by increasing the processing power of the computer cloud computing has enabled mankind to get low cost access to the mainframe of the computer.
The term ‘The Cloud’ symbolically represents the Internet in simple words. In order the sell the software, infrastructure and the platforms, which can be accessed remotely though internet, as a service most of the marketers had popularly used the term ‘in the cloud’. It had enabled end-users to use the energy consuming servers of the service providers which were enabled to host services and products from remote locations. The users were not needed to install any hardware or software to access these services and products but simply log on to the network offered by the computing service providers.
Software as a service or SaaS, Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS and Platform as a Service or PaaS are some of the major cloud computing service models tat are being used popularly these days. A public, private or a hybrid network can provide these cloud services.
Some of the popular cloud computing vendors include Amazon, Google, Oracle Cloud, IBM, Salesforce, Rackspace, Microsoft Azure and Zoho etc. In the cloud computing portfolio of IBM all types of platforms private, public and hybrid are include. One of the largest providers of global cloud computing infrastructure is SoftLayer which guarantees to provide more comprehensive cloud computing services through its Infrastructure as a Services solution. Different companies provide different type of cloud computing services as some provide public clouds to avail cloud computing services whereas others go for maintaining some applications in data centers for their clients.
Cloud computing can be termed as network based services which pretend to be offered by an actual hardware server but are actually provided by running a software on one or more actual machines through a virtually simulated hardware. There is no physical existence of such virtual servers and for that reason the end user of these servers is not affected by their fluctuating scaling like the small or large size of clouds in the sky do not effect anyone due to non-existence of their physical structure.
You can easily understand the concept of cloud computing after going through the history of cloud computing provided here above.
Published at DZone with permission of Omri Erel, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.