Cloud Revolution, Predicted In 1961, Marches Forward - InformationWeek

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Sean McGrath
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Cloud Revolution, Predicted In 1961, Marches Forward

The utility computing model, predicted 54 years ago, has been realized by cloud computing -- and continues to evolve.

Join Bernard Golden at Interop London in June where he will deliver a session, Cloud Computing is Just the Start: Building a Next-Gen IT Organization.

Interop London takes place June 16 - 18 at ExCeL London.

Find out more and register here.

Interop London

It may surprise you to learn that the roots of cloud computing were planted well before the term made it into everyday speech.

J.C.R. Licklider, one of the key developers of ARPANET, envisioned a global network capable of computation, while Professor John McCarthy said at MIT's centennial celebration in 1961:

"Computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility. Each subscriber needs to pay only for the capacity he actually uses, but he has access to all programming languages characteristic of a very large system … Certain subscribers might offer service to other subscribers … The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry."

What is extraordinary is that the cloud technology of today perfectly matches McCarthy's prediction made 54 years ago. Computation has become a utility, much like water, gas and electricity.

But while cloud computing has made the utility model a reality, the emergence of any new technology creates apprehension.

For the vast majority, this trepidation centers on security. How can we trust this nebulous entity outside of our firewall with commercially sensitive data?

"Five years ago, there were many naysayers who raised questions about cloud computing's ability to meet performance or security requirements," explained Bernard Golden, vice president of Strategy for ActiveState Software. He's been named by Wired as one of the ten most influential people in cloud computing.

While security concerns persist, cloud vendors have implemented controls to manage risk, and security is rarely a barrier to cloud adoption.

"One can see this as inevitable," said Golden. "Every previous emerging operating platform has faced criticism from proponents of the previous platform, only to have that criticism diminish as the criticisms are addressed and the new platform's advantages become so obvious and widely accepted that everyone adopts it."

"Cloud computing has now been accepted as a viable platform and, indeed, as the de facto future operating infrastructure for IT of every type," said Golden.

The Next Act

While IT recognizes cloud as a viable tool, the truth is that we are still very much in the early stages of the cloud revolution.

With every month that passes, we are finding new and exciting ways to harness cloud as part of the Social Mobile Analytics Cloud (SMAC) stack.

The stage is set, the actors are in position and the world of IT is ready for what will surely be one of the most gripping pieces of digital theatre ever to transpire. Enjoy the show.

Interop London logo (small)To hear from Bernard Golden and learn more about the future of IT join us at Interop London this June. Find out more here.

Sean McGrath is a freelance IT writer, researcher, and journalist. He has written for PC Pro, the BBC, and TechWeekEurope, and has produced content for a range of private organizations. Although he holds a first class degree in investigative journalism, his dreams of being a ... View Full Bio

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