Perhaps the most interesting thing about the cloud is just how fluffy it really is. Recent news indicates that it has finally gone mainsteam. Yet at the same time, most people are still not quite clear on what the cloud really is. To get a better understanding, here’s a three-minute summary of where the clouds came from and where they are heading.
Looking at the roots of the cloud computing movement, it all really started in the late ‘90s when companies with a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model started surfacing. Perhaps the most well known pioneer is Salesforce.com, the first billion-dollar company in the cloud space. Today there is a plethora of companies offering all kinds of online applications shared by the public. As a rule of thumb, if you could run something on your own computer but choose to tap into shared online resources instead, you are dealing with the cloud.
The second wave of cloud computing was kicked off in 2006 when Amazon launched Amazon Web Services. Within this new paradigm, if one needed something more than a shared online application someone else was running for you, it could be set up without having to invest in or run a physical machine. While engineers love complicated terms like Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), the only thing you really need to know about public, private or hybrid clouds is that it is very much like a vacation timeshare. Most of us spend only a week or two at the vacation destination, so why pick up the bill for the time you are not there? And the above-mentioned acronyms just describe the logistics.
Looking into the future, the chances are that clouds, mobile devices and anything with electronics in it will all melt together into the Internet of Everything. Think of electronics as your senses that collect all kinds of data, the cloud as your brain in which all this data is stored, and mobile devices as your conscious mind that uses the data as appropriate.
With this analogy in mind, trying to understand the fine workings of the brain is best left to neurologists and brain surgeons. For most of us, the key thing to understand about the brain is that it works automatically – with dozens of unconscious actions triggered by a conscious one – and that we learn to use its full potential wisely.
By Juha Holkkola,
Juha Holkkola is managing director of Nixu Software Oy Ltd, the cloud application deployment company, an affiliate of Nixu. He joined Nixu in early 2000 and has since held various business and sales management positions. Before Nixu, Juha worked for Nokia Networks and financial services company Sampo Group in various marketing and treasury positions.