Cloud services are so widespread and accessible that many people take them for granted. It’s easy to look at our digital world and forget that cloud technology—along with every other Internet-related innovation—is a relatively recent phenomenon. How did the idea of cloud computing come about? Who are the computer scientists who made this science fiction idea into a widespread reality? Discover the events that created cloud computing as we know it with this brief history of managed cloud services.
Conceptualizing the Internet
One of the first initiatives to develop cloud computing (or a primitive version of it) was when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded an MIT project called Project MAC in 1963. Project MAC sought to create a computer that two or more people could use at once. Though their work became the precursor to modern day cloud computing, it was known as virtualization at the time.
In 1969, computer scientist and psychologist Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider helped develop the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). The goal of APRANET was to connect people and data across any distance at any point in time. Licklider’s work was the precursor to his vision of an Intergalactic Computer Network—otherwise known as the Internet. Without Licklider’s work and ideas, we wouldn’t have the Internet, which means companies wouldn’t have a way to provide or manage their cloud services.
Early Cloud Computing
In the 1970s, the idea of “virtualization” expanded and evolved with the development of virtual private networks (VPNs). Companies began selling VPNs as a rentable service. Modern cloud computing developed from this idea. Virtual computers became popular in the 1990s. In 1999, the company Salesforce began selling software instantly to end-users over the Internet.
Cloud Computing Today
This sparked much innovation throughout the early 2000s. In 2006, Amazon launched Amazon Web Services and began offering online services to clients and their websites. These services included cloud-based storage and the ability to rent virtual computers. Google App Engine launched in 2008 as a Platform as a Service technology that met growing interests in cloud-hosted web applications.
In 2010, Microsoft joined the market with Microsoft Azure. Today, Azure managed cloud services help companies implement and maintain fast, sophisticated, and ever-growing cloud infrastructures. This brief history of managed cloud services is just the beginning of how cloud computing has impacted the globe. The world of cloud computing continues to evolve as IT experts develop new ways to help businesses protect their data, manage their services, and reach new heights.