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History of Cloud Services

| July 25, 2014

viva la revolucionFor most people it seems as if “the cloud” came to be almost overnight. However, the origins of modern cloud computing can be traced back to the 60s. One of the men that is credited with the concept of cloud computing was J.C.R. Licklider, the developer of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network.) Licklider envisioned an “intergalactic computer network” that would make accessing programs and data possible from any location at any time. Some experts believe that computer scientist Dr. John McCarthy should be credited with the origins of cloud computing. McCarthy initiated the idea of delivering computation as a public utility.

In a Technology Review article titled, “Who coined Cloud Computing?,”Antonio Regalado credits the origin of cloud computing to NetCentric founder Sean O’Sullivan. In 1997, O’Sullivan unsuccessfully attempted to trademark the term “cloud computing”. The trademark attempt was the result of a business plan created by O’Sullivan and Compaq’s George Favalaro. The business plan created by the duo included an imaginary bill for “e-purchases” with charges such as $18.50 for 37 minutes of video conferencing or $4.95 for 253 megabytes of internet storage. Although NetCentric ended as a failure, the ideas O’Sullivan and Favaloro shared together became a reality over the next decade.

In 1999, pioneered the idea of enterprise apps delivered via a website. This became a stepping stone for specialist and mainstream software firms to deliver applications over the internet, known as Software as a Service (SaaS).  Three years later Amazon began providing Amazon Web Services (AWS,) a suite of cloud services including storage, computation, and even human intelligence, which in the future would be known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Many experts will tell you the first use of “cloud computing” in its modern context was on Aug. 9, 2006 when former Google CEO Eric Schmidt introduced the term at an industry conference stating, “I don’t think people have really understood how big this opportunity is. It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing-they should be in a “cloud” somewhere.”

The same year Amazon Web Services launched “EC2”, commercializing IaaS and allowing small companies and individuals to rent computers to run their own applications. EC2 became the first widely accessible cloud computing infrastructure as a service.

In the last couple years some of the biggest players in telecom, search engine providers, and IT equipment have been scrambling to provide cloud infrastructure as a service. In 2014, some of the most notable cloud service portfolios are being provided byVerizon Terremark, Google, IBM, HP, and of course Amazon Web Services. These technology giants have made the visions of J.C.R. Licklider and Dr. McCarthy a modern day reality.

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