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Sep
27

Cutting through the Hype with Cloud Computing Tutorials: Part 3 The Origins of Cloud Computing

It Started with Big Iron

Without virtualization cloud computing as we have come to know it today would be little more than the mainframe time-sharing systems of the 1960′s.

While time-sharing as the name suggests (similar to the vacation time shares many of us purchased) rationed the processing power available from a single computer or more technically cpu by allocating time or more precisely time slices to each user or process.

Underused capacity created an opportunity upon which cloud computing capitalized.

In the modern era, with more applications deployed and individual servers requisitioned to support their operation. This lead to “server sprawl” particularly but not exclusively in large corporate environments. Typical peaks and valleys of business usage created significant pools of underutilized computing resources.

Virtualization literally or rather virtually creates multiple computers or if you prefer computing environments from a single physical computer. With virtualization, specific portions of processing time, disk space and memory allocated to each environment to create separate virtual systems referred to as a Virtual Machine or VM.  Yes – essentially the same concept used on IBM’s S/370 in the early 1970′s.


What took so long?

If the technology has been here for so long, then why didn’t cloud computing emerge sooner?  Primarily because of the following reasons.

  • Increasing cost of data centers
  • Needed readily available (ubiquitous) high-speed data communications
  • Required software to configure and manage it automatically
  • The networking and interconnection hardware to support it at scale

So What’s the Big Deal?

In short lower costs and near instant access to computing technology that could revolutionize the delivery of information technology services to both individuals and business.

We’ll explore the impacts and benefits of cloud computing in the next series of briefings.

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