Yes, cloud computing has been around for a long time under other names, but then e-commerce was around for about a decade before Amazon ever figured it out. I spent the day yestereday with the core group from SCO who created the first e-commerce site for a pizza store in Santa Cruz, CA.
Just because a bunch of engineers have figured out how to do something doesn't mean it catches fire immediately. It generally takes a non-engineer to figure out how to use it on a massive scale, after the engineers hav lost interest and are on to other things.
@naperlou, thanks for commenting. No doubt the concept has been around for decades. But what fascinates me is what you might call the "familiarity-breeds-contempt" problem. GE and IBM were on top of this years ago, but other companies took the ball and ran with it.
Sometimes as innovators we can't see past a really good idea (familiarity) and so someone else, looking at things from a different perspective, will push the ball downfield.
Brian, I was at IBM in the early 2000's. At that time, Sam Palmisano took over as Chairman and CEO. His first big initiative at that level was On-Demand Computing. This is just an early name for Cloud Computing. In fact, some people still use the term On-Demand Computing becuase it describes the offering much better than Cloud Computing. Now, this was over ten years ago. I still have the internal materials that talk about the program. It really is the current idea of Cloud Computing.
There are parallels with what Amazon did to initiate the Cloud Computing era. At General Electric the Aerospace Group was selling time "ouot the back door"" because they had lots of mainframes (made by GE at the time) and more capacity than they needed. This was a great business, so GE set it up as a stand-alone business. It was the largest world-wide network in its day (1970s - 1980's). I worked for them when I first joined GE.
Finally, I was talking to a Computer Science Professor the other day. His PhD research was in supercomputing. He says that the day of the massive number of small CPUs is nearing an end. It is too hard to program. He is looking at increases in performance in the individual chip. If you look at something like the Oracle SPARC chip I think that you may be looking at the future of high end computing. IBM's mainframe chips are no slouch either.
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