Head in the Cloud

The past, present and future of cloud computing

It’s hard to believe that, apart from the mainframe computers of the 1950s, the very first version of cloud computing came into being as far back as the ‘60s. The Advanced Research Projects Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet switching network, invented by Joseph Licklider.

Lick, as he was fondly known, was a psychologist and computer scientist and has been called the Johnny Appleseed of computing, because he was also one of the creators Artificial Intelligence. But Lick didn’t believe that humans would be replaced by automatons and he maintained that, “Men will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations. Computing machines will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking.”

ARPANET was the immediate precursor to the Internet and was only decommissioned in 1990, the same year that Licklider died. On the 28th of February 1990, Vinton Cerf wrote “Requiem of the ARPANET”…

It was the first, and being first, was best,
but now we lay it down to ever rest.
Now pause with me a moment, shed some tears.
For auld lang syne, for love, for years and years
of faithful service, duty done, I weep.
Lay down thy packet, now, O friend, and sleep.

-Vinton Cerf

But what exactly is cloud computing? On a basic level, cloud computing is storing or accessing data remotely, essentially making life more convenient for companies and individuals. Cloud storage is based on a virtual infrastructure and allows flexibility and scalability. One of the many advantages of cloud computing and storage is that it reduces an organisation’s energy usage making them greener and more sustainable.  Immediate access to data and computing power is in high demand and has driven the massive adoption of the cloud that we see today. Of course, the global Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated cloud usage in 2020 and the cloud has become indispensable to almost every company. Cloud jobs are multiplying, revenues are expanding rapidly and cloud growth is at an all-time high. Collaboration tools, virtual desktops and VPNs are in full swing, being utilised to their full potential to conduct business during Covid-19.

Cloud computing is an ever-evolving technology, and ongoing research & development amounts to billions of dollars a year. Progress and cloud computing are inextricably linked and edge computing (distributed cloud infrastructure) is a major opportunity linked to that progress. Future trends in cloud computing include cloud containers, open source systems and serverless computing. Post-Covid economic recovery will see successful businesses relying heavily on the cloud, scaling existing resources, utilising new apps, using geo-specific resources to expand, using the cloud to mitigate risk, increase flexibility and adapt to a ‘new normal’ in the workplace.

We’ve come a long way since Lick first implemented the TCP/IP protocol suite, and we no doubt have a long way to go. One thing you can be assured of though, is that ITEC Central is in step with all of the latest developments in virtualisation.

Click here to see how we can assist you with your cloud computing and make you feel like you are on cloud 9!

Written by John Considine MD at Itec Central

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