Many business leaders today take cloud computing for granted. With the aid of cloud security services, the cloud seems like an invulnerable digital force that offers innumerable benefits to users. Yet, the cloud did not always exist — and at some point in the future, cloud computing could end.
Many executives struggle to understand business architecture without the cloud. Here is a quick examination of how the cloud emerged as such an outstanding business solution and what it could evolve into in the coming decades.
Like so much digital technology, the cloud does not consist of a single, brilliant innovation; rather, the cloud relies on many different technologies which were developed over the course of decades. Some of the most important components of the cloud include:
Distributed systems are multiple independent systems depicted and utilized as a single entity with the purpose of sharing resources. In the earliest stages of computing, systems were required to be present in the same geographic location, so the development of distributed systems required innovation in three types of computing:
Mainframe computing, which emerged in 1951, involved massive data processing tasks with almost no downtime. With mainframe computing, distributed systems gained better-professing capabilities.
Cluster computing, which replaced mainframe computing in the 1980s, consisted of several machines connected via a high-bandwidth network. Cluster computing is more cost-effective than mainframe computing.
Grid computing, which was introduced in the 1990s, allowed for different types of machines in different locations around the world to connect via the internet. The cloud emerged from the grid as more locations gained high-bandwidth connectivity.
Utility computing, which was first envisioned in the 1960s but ultimately popularized in the early 2000s, allowed service providers to make infrastructure available to customers on a per-user basis. Such a model of on-demand computing maximizes the efficient use of resources.
In the late 1970s, computer scientists devised virtualization, which allows computers to run multiple instances through virtual layers over hardware. Cloud computing relies heavily on virtualization to connect machines to one another without requiring a physical connection to infrastructure; instead, users can virtualize servers, storage, and other hardware and data center resources.
The second evolution of the internet, Web 2.0 rose to popularity in 2004. This new web interface improved the flexibility and interactivity of webpages, allowing for the creation of collaborative spaces in the cloud.
A new design paradigm for computer software introduced in 2003, service orientation allows for adaptable applications produced with low costs. As a direct result of service orientation, cloud developers were able to create application concepts that made the cloud even more valuable: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Quality of Service (QoS).
The cloud today does not look or function like the first clouds created after the foundational components were available. The past decade has offered outstanding innovation to improve cloud services, making them safer and better for every user. Some of the most compelling evolutions of the cloud include:
To improve the portability of applications, operating systems, data, and more, businesses can rely on cloud containers, which package these components to make them accessible and operable across environments. As a result, many members of a team can collaborate using the same resources on different networks and devices.
As the cloud has become a popular repository for business data and applications, the cloud has also become a prime target for cyber attackers. Fortunately, cloud providers have begun integrating high-quality security features into their services, and organizations can access top-tier cloud security tools for extra protection.
Reducing the demand for supercomputers, HPC instances replicate the supercomputer infrastructure, providing any organization with outstanding processing power with minimal investment.
Traditional clouds store data and applications on servers at the core of network infrastructure, which makes accessing these resources slow and frustrating. By migrating data and operations out of servers and closer to users, businesses gain even greater flexibility and accessibility from the cloud.
The cloud is far from its final state. Even as this piece is written, trends are shaping how organizations access and utilize cloud services. Cybersecurity is a powerful force affecting the structure and safety of the cloud, and likely, the cloud will become even more secure in coming years.
Similarly, open-source software is becoming a popular cloud-based tool that could impact SaaS models in the future. The more executives respect the diverse technologies that have been essential for the creation of the cloud, the more accurately they will be able to predict the evolution of the cloud going forward.
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