[TBT] A Short History of Cloud Computing

[Editor’s note] Please enjoy this Throwback Thursday that reflects on the History of Cloud Computing. Like many technologies, cloud computing has grown quite a bit since this article was first published. The introduction of service models such as SaaS, PaaS and IaaS were not mentioned, as well as the painstaking work that has gone into ensuring the security of cloud-based data. Originally a powerful enterprise tool, consumer use of the cloud has reached a cultural norm, as we grow increasingly more comfortable with cloud-storage for our photos, music, games and files. Originally Published: August 7,2013


What began in the mid-1990s has turned into a booming industry of shared web hosting. Some early companies that laid the ground work to create the history of cloud computing did not provide infrastructure on demand, resource size flexibility, network flexibility, were not scalable, and variably provided applications on demand.

In 1997, managed and unmanaged dedicated hosting promised full administrative access and control of server resources from single tenant shared hosting servers.

In 1998, VPS hosting showed up and offered a bit more flexibility and “root access” VPS services were a step up from shared web hosting. Technologies at the time that were able to enable these services were FreeBSD Jails, Microsoft Virtual Server and Parallels’ Virtuozzo. The interface to control this technology was not always the easiest to use.

From 2007 to 2010, grid or utility computing increased the sophistication of automated provisioning in infrastructure management with the launch of Amazon in 2006. There were several companies that launched a more scalable and automated infrastructure as a service offering.

In 2006, Amazon launched its web services as to what is known as cloud computing today. This first generation service broke new ground by offering infrastructure on a utility model. The cloud computing tool gained much popularity in 2009 as other companies launched competing services.

Cloud computing 2.0, starting in 2012, attracts a larger audience beyond just developers. The cloud computing services that are being offered by providers are more true to the definition of a cloud than ever before.

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