What is that… the Cloud?

Once again I was asked if the Cloud is just some other people’s computer. It’s funny but I actually like that statement. I have a T-shirt with that printed on it. I like it because it’s so stupid – and still there is a small grain of truth in that.

The problem with that thinking is the computer. Cloud is not renting a computer, not at all. Sure, there are computing power on the cloud. But we have had shared computers from since some 1960. And we have had hosting services from some 90’s. You remember that times? ISP’s did rent a piece of computers (shared web server in one example) or you could have dedicated computer. THAT was just other people’s computer! But it was no cloud.

The very first cloud?

Term ‘the cloud’ was invented – or at least first time used in public – by mr. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. Media and press got exited about that term and it got viral. Let’s honor him with the picture:

The guy behing “the Cloud” term

But how about the cloud then? Amazon AWS (book shop’s web page hosting service) started “cloud computing business” 2006.

But something very close to the cloud there have been a long, long time ago. Shared computing capacity, services and wonders never seen and almost unlimited data. All from the DC – not possible to run anything just from your on-prem.

One real visionary person said once that there is a world market for five clouds. Years and years he was misunderstood and even mocked. Because of non-visionary people could not see the same future like mr. Watson.

We could say that the emerging market of shared IT services has been evolving from 1960 to current state. Market has grown a lot and technology has evolved very fast. Specially the automation level has increased so incredible much that it’s still hard to believe.

First industrially manufactured computing systems came 1960. Virtualization was a key to real giant leap for automation of the IT environments. Company named as VMware founded that 2001. And then on top of that virtualization came distributed computing and automation. The era of the cloud has finally begun. Following picture gives you good idea how this has happened:

Virtualization made possible the fast accelerating degree of automation. One administrator can manage over 100 x servers when moving from 1995 to 2015. What a giant leap of making IT work more efficient! Of course the amount of data and needed processing power has also multiplied to the following potencies.

Let’s focus a bit to the virtualization technology. It made possible to automate tedious & routine work. It also saved the space and reduced cooling and power consumption.

I think the most important advantage is less complex installation (cloning) and significantly fewer downtime (High Availability, snapshots etc.). And thanks to software robotics and automation we can do complex tasks in a click.

Virtualization, very quick intro

Virtualization separates BIOS, operating system, and applications from physical hardware. It allows many virtual machines to share same physical hardware saving costs, space and energy. Virtualization standardizes multiple generations of multi-vendor hardware – no need to re-install linux or change drivers for Windows every time you replace the hardware under the OS.

So the cloud is a much more than just some other owned computer

Like we have learned, it has been a long way from 1960 shared computer system to current cloud environments.

Do remember that there are many different services on the clouds. Virtualization was the very first step. It moved servers to a virtual machines, using shared virtualization layers aka hardware (CPU + memory + network + storage). And evolution did run faster and faster. Virtual machines turned to Infrastructure build totally by the code, IaaS (infra as a code). Computing power, memory, storage, network and software solutions merged into one entity. PaaS and SaaS walked out.

Classic Pizza as a Service is excellent allegory of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

You see the idea when comparing that to the cloud services schema:

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