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The History of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a way for users to access servers, storage, applications and databases using the internet. Those who provide these cloud services often build and maintain the hardware to create a central network, which can then be shared and allocated to individual users who are able to access it using a web based application.  Although it seems like cloud computing is a new development in the technology industry it has actually been around for longer than many people realise, with its roots laid down in the 1950s.

During the 1950s main frame computing became popular, allowing multiple users to access one central computer- the main frame computer. This was a significantly cheaper option for businesses, saving them the cost of buying and maintaining a main frame computer for each employee.

Following this, in the 1970s the idea of virtualisation and virtual machines was born. Experts took this idea and using VMware (virtualisation software) they were able to create a virtual environment. This means that multiple, distinct computing environments could be created and stored alongside each other on one physical machine.

Virtualisation was the turning point for cloud technology and throughout the 1990’s it drove the technological advancements. In 1999, salesforce.com created the concept of delivering enterprise applications through a single website. This was the beginning of software firms being able to deliver applications via the internet and was closely followed in 2002 by Amazon Web Services.

Amazon Web Services began by creating a range of “on demand IT resources via the internet” including storage and web based applications. This was further developed upon with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) which was a service dedicated to providing and running the hardware required by businesses to develop and run their own computer applications.

Later, in 2009 with the addition of Web 2.0 other companies such as Google began to offer their own browser- based applications like Gmail and Google Docs, which run through Google Apps.

It was tech giants such as Google and Amazon that propelled cloud technology into becoming one of the biggest advancements of the internet. Once they had proved that cloud technology could provide a reliable and cost-effective service, other businesses were keen to try it out.

Today cloud computing is used for a variety of purposes by both business and private users through a range of specially developed apps. File sharing services such as Dropbox and Google Docs are utilised by many, along with features such as the Apple iPhone’s iCloud-which provides the storage and sharing of files using cloud technology.

Businesses are also able to design and use software via the cloud, known as software as a service or ‘SaaS’. This means that users no longer need to physically install the software onto their in house network as the software and related data is all hosted within the cloud. As a result of this, cloud technology has led to the formation of a number of SaaS start-ups who are predicted to keep generating new business in the future.

It is also expected that cloud technology will become an integral part of business operation and businesses will begin to form long-term cloud strategies instead of debating whether they should join the cloud or not. Issues of security have plagued cloud services recently so it is predicted that this will become a large focus for service providers in a bid to reassure and gain the trust of customers.

With improvements in high bandwidth internet connections cloud computing has become larger than ever, offering its users a host of benefits that include; high capacity storage facilities, flexibility and significant cost reduction.

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