Cloud Computing: ‘Old wine in new bottles’?

I attended the Salesforce.com Cloudforce event in London this week and found this great introduction to Cloud Computing on the event website:

Mark Benioff of Salesforce is leading the charge against on-premise software. However the idea of Cloud Computing is not a new one. We had a false start earlier this century with ASP (Application Service Provider).  Before that Bureau services have been available for 45 years!  Today we have more acronyms in this market than you can shake a stick at – Cloud Computing aka Software-as-a-Service or on-demand services, etc.  All these names have the same underlying principle: a multi-tenant, pay as you go and elastic on-line service.

Is the latest title Cloud Computing a case of ‘Old wine in new bottles’? Perhaps it is. However technology has now enabled the old Bureau type services to be delivered with the rich GUI we have now come to expect from our PC’s and Mac’s. Cloud Computing – A new service 50 years in the making 🙂

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4 Responses to “Cloud Computing: ‘Old wine in new bottles’?”

  1. Gardeviance: What people say Says:

    […] in-touch and knowledgeable. The Cloud Computing has been appearing for the last 50 or so years (http://nickpoint.co.uk/2009/04/09/cloud-computing-old-wine-in-new-bottles/). Now is the time not to sit on the fence. The time is right for the big shift to happen. And Simon […]

  2. Martin Wright Says:

    I think that the term ‘cloud’ has evolved over the past few years to become something so vague that it is no longer a usable definition for describing something without the inevitable question ‘what type of cloud?’ The Wikipedia article refers to IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

    I first came across the term when it was referred to as ‘cloud computing’ and referred to computing power. The cloud computing architecture would allow you to switch on extra servers at the time they were needed. This usually referred to massive computation processes such as 3D rendering or mathematical processing. This applied to the idea that you can fire up 30 servers to complete your task without having to purchase, configure and maintain 30 servers that would only be used on an ad-hoc basis. This was rarely financially viable, physically possible or timely enough for the work being carried out.

    Cloud has now developed to mean remote, which in the age of the Internet where everything is remote does not mean anything. Is an email in the cloud, are my photos in the cloud, is this comment in the cloud? I never used to think so, but now I may have to begin accepting that it is. The real problem is that this terminology has become… hazy.

  3. Nick Barker Says:

    Hi Martin,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I also remember other previously more fashionable terms including ‘Grid Computing’ or ‘Utility Computing’.

    My very cleaver friend and Cloud specialist Simon Wardly has recently had a go at defining ‘Cloud Computing’. Although he says:

    “..the attempt to come up with a precise, all encompassing and concrete definition of cloud computing is flawed. Cloud computing isn’t a thing, it’s a combination of underlying factors that are causing a transition in the information technology industry.”

    And I think he is right, its is about transition and we are moving through evolutionary phases. As you say the Internet is the Cloud and visa-versa. The Internet was a huge step forward. A revolutionary step some say. However we love our terms and rapid trends in the Tech industry. Gartner have put ‘Cloud Computing’ high-up on their Hype Cycle and not going mainstream for 2-5 years. So yet another term may fall by the wayside. However we are moving forward with the same underlying principle – a multi-tenant, pay as you go and elastic on-line service. Or as Mr Wardley so Snappily put it:

    ““Cloud computing” is a consequence of economic, commercial, cultural and technological conditions that have combined together to cause a disruptive shift in I.T. towards a service based economy.”

    I hope this clears your “haze” around the Cloud (sorry ;))

    Best

    Nick

  4. Microsoft profits tumble: Big switch tipping point? « Nickpoint Says:

    […] the front but they have turned around and court up in the past. Microsoft’s response to the Cloud Computing Big Switch is Azure. The challenge for Microsoft will be to move away from its reliance on software […]

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