The world of computing is going through a sea of change with Cloud (or Internet) is seen as a new, centralized, global platform for delivering everything. This disruptive new paradigm, popularly known as ‘Cloud computing’ would alter computing by “10X” magnitude by introducing new applications and innovative delivery models around it.
The history of computing has multiple chapters associated with it. What started off as a high priced, centralized and enterprise only usage has become ubiquitous for every person today. Computing has penetrated so deeply that it cannot be separated from human life. From mainframe era to cloud computing era, the computing has a long and interesting history. At every phase one or two disruptive innovation has taken place which laid foundation for the next phase. These innovations also created many successful corporations which generated exorbitant amount of wealth.
The mainframe era
The first wave was mainly driven by mainframe computers. These computers were purchased by enterprises to perform large scale computing activities like automation, data processing and database management. Multiple virtual terminals connected to this mainframe remotely to perform the desired functionality, thereby making the computing centralized. Computing at a personal level was a distant dream. Even though small scale computing existed to certain extent, computers were ‘vertically’ built by firms like Digital Electronic Corporation (DEC). These firms provided hardware, operating system, software and applications which are very proprietary to these firms. Cross hardware or software compatibility was almost unheard of.
The PC era
Transitioning from this first wave was triggered by invention of microprocessors, which decomposed the computing from centralized mainframes to smaller systems with lesser processing power. This laid foundation for the ‘personal computing’ era which spawned multiple ‘horizontal’ firms operating in one particular area like hardware (Intel), operating system (Microsoft Windows) and Applications. Popularly known as ‘Wintel phenomenon’ (Windows plus Intel) this second wave lasted for almost three decades with gamut of applications residing on computers. These resident applications used to perform user centric tasks in isolated computers.
Now – The Cloud computing era
The third wave of computing is slowly getting into main stage with Internet as a platform for delivering anything and everything. Popularly known as ‘Cloud computing’, the third wave is about a computer connected to the Internet. The power of computing in terms of hardware can be lesser and thinner, with mobile phones, personal digital assistants, net-books and thin computers are primarily used as an ‘access device’ for getting various computing services from the Cloud. Thanks to well established physical infrastructure in the form of Internet backbones, 3G mobile network, Wireless connectivity Cloud computing is the next computing trend to watch out for. In one way this is similar mainframe era, where the computing is getting into centralized entity like Internet, it is much different in terms of standards, applications, monetizing models and services.
This new ‘Cloud computing’ wave has got multiple dimensions associated with it. In forthcoming blogs we will be covering in-depth perspective of each dimensions and how each of them would be transitioning the globe to the newer world of computing.
Credits: This article was originally published in MyBangalore by one of WSA mentors. This is re-published with minimal changes.