The idea of an “intergalactic computer network” was introduced in the 1960s by JCR Licklider, who was responsible for enabling the development of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), a very primitive version of the Internet, in 1969.
Other experts attribute the cloud concept to computer scientist John McCarthy, who proposed the idea of computation being delivered as a public utility, similar to the service bureaux that date back to the 1960s.
Since the 1960s, cloud computing has developed along a number of lines, with Web 2.0 being the most recent evolution. However, since the internet only started to offer significant bandwidth in the 1990s, cloud computing for the masses has been something of a late developer.
The Cloud gained popularity as companies gained a better understanding of its services and usefulness. In 1999, Salesforce became a popular example of using Cloud Computing successfully. They used it to pioneer the idea of using the Internet to deliver software programs to the end users. The program (or application) could be accessed and downloaded by anyone with Internet access. Businesses could purchase the software in an on-demand, cost-effective manner, without leaving the office.
In 2006, Amazon launched Amazon Web Services, which offers online services to other websites, or clients. One of Amazon Web Services’ sites, called Amazon Mechanical Turk, provides a variety of Cloud-based services including storage, computation and “human intelligence.” Another of Amazon Web Services’ sites is the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), allowing individuals to rent virtual computers and use their own programs and applications.
In the same year, Google launched the Google Docs services. Google Docs was originally based on two separate products, Google Spreadsheets, and Writely. Google purchased Writely, which offers renters the ability to save documents, edit documents, and transfer them into blogging systems. (These documents are compatible with Microsoft Word.) Google Spreadsheets (acquired from 2Web Technologies, in 2005) is an Internet-based program allowing users to develop, update, and edit spreadsheets, and to share the data online. An Ajax-based program is used, which is compatible with Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheets can be saved in an HTML format.
In 2007, IBM, Google, and several universities joined forces to develop a server farm for research projects needing both fast processors and huge data sets. The University of Washington was the first to sign up and use resources provided by IBM and Google. Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, Stanford University, the University of Maryland, and the University of California at Berkeley, quickly followed suit. The universities immediately realized computer experiments can be done faster and for less money if IBM and Google were supporting their research. Since much of the research was focused on problems IBM and Google had interests in, they also benefitted from the arrangement. 2007 was also the year when Netflix launched its streaming video service, using the Cloud, and provided support for the practice of “binge-watching.”
Eucalyptus offered the first AWS API compatible platform, which was used for distributing private Clouds, in 2008. In the same year, NASA’s OpenNebula provided the first open-source software for deploying Private and Hybrid Clouds. Many of its most innovative features focused on the needs of major businesses.
In 2011, IBM introduced the IBM SmartCloud framework, in support of Smarter Planet (a cultural thinking project). Then, Apple launched the ICloud, which focuses on storing more personal information (photos, music, videos, etc.). Also, during this year, Microsoft began advertising the Cloud on television, making the general public aware of its ability to store photos, or video, with easy access.
Oracle introduced the Oracle Cloud in 2012, offering the three basics for business, IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and SAAS (Software-as-a-Service).