‘The Cloud’ is one of those terms that’s been thrown around so much in the last decade or so, that many of us forget the core meaning of what it is, and how we use it every, single day. Put simply, cloud storage is storing data on a remote computer that you can access from your own computer, and when you think of it this way, it isn’t ‘in the cloud’ at all; it’s just storage on a computer, but remote.
Early visionaries of the cloud
The rudimentary concept and foundations of cloud storage were set out in 1960’s, when visionaries such as John McCarthy and J.C.R. Licklider pioneered network-based computing; but it wasn’t until Google CEO Eric Schmidt dropped the term in a conference in 2006 that it started to gain momentum as a 21st-century concept.
One name that often comes up when discussing the origins of cloud technology is J.C.R. Licklider. Licklider was an American computer scientist and psychologist, and his work on the concept of an ‘Intergalactic Computer Network’ in the early 1960’s managed to outline much of what we know today as the internet and cloud computing. Another key figure was John McCarthy, a computer scientist and Stanford professor from Boston, who developed a primitive version of cloud-computing called ‘time-sharing’.
The basic concepts of cloud computing have been around for a considerable amount of time, marginalised by lack of availability or accessibility to the mainstream public, they didn’t develop fully until much later.
Webapps and Web 2.0
It seemed as though early forms of the cloud were lacking the ‘get-up and go’ that they needed to propel themselves into proper use, but what else could we expect when the internet wasn’t a household name until the mid-nineties? The first of two ‘big boosts’ for cloud technology came in 1999, when enterprise applications became available through simple websites, starting the Software as a Service format. Suddenly the cloud had a use, and with that use, came the rise in popularity: why would you pay upfront for a piece of software when you can just take what you need, for the time you need it?
Then something else happened: the internet became media-rich over time, and the way in which we interacted with and used the internet changed. We went from simple informational and educational websites to blogs, wikis, social networks, video-viewing websites, and web apps; and with this influx of media-rich websites, more and more data had to be loaded. How did we deal with all this data? We put it in the cloud. Web apps, databases, file-sharing and self-made websites, all relied on external servers and hosted data.
The cloud finally had its realisation in the mid-noughties, but even then, no one called it the cloud. No one publicly spoke about it.
Big apps, bigger apps and even bigger apps
Fast-forward to 2015, and we’re a society that eats up the cloud every second of the day: modern businesses store their data on it, as well as run a myriad of web apps for productivity, job-specific tasks and communication. At home we play games in web apps across multiple devices, but we never had to install anything; we share files with friends, but we don’t physically send anything to them; we watch films every evening on Netflix, which, stores its library remotely in the cloud; and listen to Spotify without having any music files locally. In fact, it seems as though the store anything locally has been removed, which has arguably given birth to the iPad and Chromebook generation.
The cloud is everywhere, and it’s secure, stable environment means that it’s an integral part of any modern business infrastructure setup. If you’d like to find out how our cloud solutions could help your business, give us a call on 0345 345 1110 and tell us about your situation, we’re more than happy to chat and listen. Alternatively, email us and we’ll get back to you.