August 24, 2015
By Michael Brown 1
In order to know where you’re going, it’s important to know where you’ve been. For MSPs offering cloud-based file sharing, “where you’ve been” includes a 50 year history of cloud computing.
The concept of the "cloud" has actually existed since the 1960s — when a man named J.C.R. Licklider first conceived of it — though it took until 2008 to become popular within the consumer sphere, and until 2012 to become ubiquitous. Conceptually, the "cloud" is quite simple: a network of computers that are all linked together in an array to share data and resources. As bandwidth and processing demands became more resource-intensive, companies sought solutions that did not require on-premise infrastructure — and consumers looked for an all-in-one resource that could manage all of their data.
Let’s look at the past, present and future of cloud computing to help MSPs understand where we’ve been and prepare for the changes the industry will undergo in the future.
The Past of Cloud Computing
J.C.R. Licklider was instrumental to the development of ARPANET, which ultimately led to the creation of the World Wide Web. It was he who believed that computer networks could be integrated and connected so that they could be viewed from anywhere. But it's debatable as to whether this was the true source of cloud computing, as cloud computing does differ from the World Wide Web in a few major ways. The World Wide Web is primarily a transmission protocol rather than resource sharing.
John McCarthy is also credited with the development of cloud computing, as he believed that computation itself could become a public utility. Either way, it was certainly something that was at the forefront of the greatest minds of the digital age; it simply needed technology to catch up.
The Present State of Cloud Computing
Today, 34.1 percent of IT professionals are administering and running cloud applications and a further 43.3 percent are moving towards doing so. And 31.5 percent of survey respondents are managing internal, critical applications in the cloud — the core infrastructure has been transitioned. Still 66.4 percent of those polled are looking into implementing similar deployments or are already in the major states of planning. All of this indicates that there is a strong move to transition towards cloud computing even in companies that have not already transitioned.
Cloud Computing and the Future
The market for cloud service providers is steadily becoming more competitive and will continue to do so. Many companies are already becoming more discerning regarding the cloud service providers they choose — moving towards cloud service providers that offer more extensive features, better prices and better security. With that in mind, cloud service providers who cannot provide the best, most accessible and most affordable service will gradually fall out of circulation.
Today, many companies are using the hybrid cloud or internal clouds to improve upon security — which was an issue of major concern early in the cloud boom. Organizations will likely begin moving towards secured, hosted private clouds rather than internal cloud platforms, as they become knowledgeable about the new levels of security available. Cloud services, as a whole, have become more secure and security is likely to continue developing in the future.
As companies become more comfortable leveraging and utilizing cloud technology, they will also be able to take advantage of the advanced features that cloud services provide. Companies will find more freedom in their IT infrastructures and be able to further develop their businesses without having to worry about their technology.
Cloud-based file sharing and cloud-based solutions are most definitely here to stay, in addition to cloud-based IT infrastructures. Today, the vast majority of resources an individual or business uses are not stored locally but instead on cloud-based servers, and the advantages of cloud-based servers over other forms of server architecture are clear. The future of the cloud is a better cloud, as it becomes more secure, more stable and even more scalable.
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