Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Advantages of Cloud Computing– Part IX – Up In The Cloud

I’m not quite as old as dirt, but I’ve been around, and where others see ‘just another technology’, I see a revolution of opportunities for the little guys to grab huge chunks of a market that has previously been reserved for large enterprises with huge budgets and deep pockets.  In September of 1995, when the Word Wide Web made it possible for a ten year-old kid to market a postage stamp to a world market on eBay, everything changed. The results of Cloud Computing will be even more dramatic.

Once I had a close friend who was a motivational speaker, and his favorite mantra was, “Man is the only animal that speaks from the grave.” If you go back to the first man that walked on the earth, the only knowledge he possessed was endowed in him by his creator. As he learned, he passed what he had learned along to his descendants and they, in kind, passed it along to their descendants, and so on and so forth.

In order for knowledge to be of any use, it must connect to something else, otherwise it’s simply entertainment. Ordinarily, man-kind is not capable of spontaneous thought. There have been very few ‘revolutionary’ inventions over the course of history - if any.

Most new ideas are a combination of two or more existing ideas which produce what appears to be something new. I first learned this from the man who invented, of all things, the potato-gun. He claimed that inventors envision new products by combining two, unrelated products together to create a new one – hence, potato + gun = potato-gun. Silly isn’t it? But if you apply that simple logic to just about anything that’s new, it starts to make sense.

If someone had envisioned cell phones in the middle of the Civil War, no doubt they would have been labeled a ‘lunatic’ and sent to the front lines to die for their country. If Orville and Wilbur Wright had tried to sell space travel, they would have been considered ‘mentally deranged’, would they not? When the pair made their successful heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, it’s doubtful they were thinking about walking on the moon, but a mere sixty-six years later, that’s exactly what happened. The things that occurred between 1903 and 1969 expanded on the Wright brother’s research. It consisted of tens of thousands of enhancements that made Apollo 11 possible. Now, walking on the moon is old-hat and we don’t even go there anymore.

As I said earlier, Cloud Computing is by no means new. It’s simply a natural progression of technology that started with the first computer, and in 1969, evolved into the Internet. Did you know the Internet was originally funded by the government to provide a method of communications after Russia had turned the American landscape into a nuclear holocaust? In the absence of Nikita Khrushchev, it’s ironic, but doubtful, your teenage daughter would be texting her boyfriend during Christmas dinner.

Desktop computers delayed the formation of the Cloud until 1999 when IBM introduced the AS/400WebServer and the natural evolution of the Cloud began to pick up speed. Heads are beginning to roll. Client/server technology is dying and local area networks, as we know them are in their death throes.

The formation of huge data centers, consisting of large mainframe computers with terabytes of storage and CPU speeds measured in gigaflops and accessible over the Internet will lay waste to existing technologies as if they never occurred. We have no alternative but to roll with it. You will be on the Cloud. It’s simply a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’.


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