Someone asked me the other day, “What exactly is Cloud Computing?”
My answer: it depends.
The “cloud” is an amalgamation of several technologies including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
The cloud is really cloudy.
It was exactly 10 years ago when Marc Benioff touted SaaS for the CRM. Ditch the expensive pre-paid on-premise software installations, when all you need is a browser. Rent instead of buying.
With the current economy, CIOs are shifting their mindset and going towards SaaS, PaaS and IaaS especially when you have reputable and reliable services such as Amazon, Google and Force.com.
Like the automobile, television, personal computers and cellular telephones, they say it takes 30 years before mainstream society accepts the new technology. Today, I love it when I see Grandpa using a cell phone!
But where did it all begin?
You have to give credit to the Ethernet first, and then the Ethernet/Internet combo.
Backtrack to the mid-1980s when standalone computers were available to the retail market for an affordable price of $2000. Funny, a high end powerful workstation still costs $2000 today.
In my opinion, Ethernet and the NIC card changed everything.
By 1990, I was a Novell CNE and had to convince everyone the F:> drive and H:> drive was that grey piece of wire! The data wasn’t stored on the computer. I had to convince them it didn’t matter where the data was stored.
The Internet was the infamous RJ-11 phone cord and analog modem for years. The big breakthrough was high speed Internet via the Ethernet cable as we replaced the RJ-11 for the RJ-45 plug!
As more and more people had access to high speed Internet, offerings from the cloud were limitless, thus your hard drive data can be stored there too. Remember all those Xdrive and iDrives websites with 100Mb free online storage by 1999?
While you’re at it, why not include applications? Why buy software, and deal with upgrades?
SaaS offerings were here today, gone tomorrow.
Finally, how about entire servers? Who needs those old clunky servers with all the energy waste? Web hosting is a good example and commonly accepted. It’s like renting office space. Pay as you go and pay only what you need and consume, like excess bandwidth.
When you buy software and hardware, it’s a capital expenditure. When you rent hardware and use SaaS, it’s a monthly expense to the bottom line.
And that leads us to today.
What’s in store for tomorrow is another story.
Fasten your seatbelts in this ever fast time-machine. Tomorrow’s technology hasn’t been invented yet.