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In the beginning...

...there was a computer. It sat alone in its room pondering its solitude, sure that there must be others like it somewhere, but unable to communicate with them. It filled its hours performing simple tasks.

But there were others.

Of course, our friend was not alone. There were many others. All diligently working in isolation.

Let’s get connected...

Funded by the US Department of Defence the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) became the first network and the progenitor of what would eventually become the global Internet.

Let’s join the party!

Network technology proliferates. Soon groups of computers are happily chatting amongst themselves.

What’s that?

The internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) is standardised and the concept of a world-wide network of interconnected networks introduced. Computers pack their suitcases in preparation for anticipated global jaunts.

What does this button do?

Tim Berners-Lee writes a browser called WorldWideWeb and builds the world's first web server. Computers everywhere blink in the sudden blinding light of connectivity.

Everything is connected.

Computers everywhere excitedly rush towards the bright lights of the burgeoning global network. No more solitary sums for them!

We might be on to something...

The computing landscape is radically changing as global connectivity means more minds collectively turn their thoughts to the development of computing technology.

I’ve got a great idea...

Clouds begin to form on the horizon. Our computers gaze in awe and excitement at the mass of advancing technology.

Stones to mark out the miles...

Salesforce.com pioneer the concept of delivering applications for enterprises via a simple website. This paves the way for software firms to deliver applications over the internet. Our computer’s excitement knows no bounds.

This phone is very smart!

Blackberry introduces a phone with voice, data, browser, messaging and organiser applications, making it the first true smart-phone. Computers across the world stifle worried whimpers as people are suddenly able to access the Internet from their hand-held device.

The sky’s the limit...

...through the availability of high-capacity networks, low-cost computers and storage devices and the widespread adoption of hardware virtualization, service-oriented architecture, autonomic, and utility computing.

The miles keep rushing by.

Google and others start to offer browser-based applications services such as Google Apps. The evolution continues with the maturing of virtualisation technology and the development of widespread high-speed bandwidth.

Who needs buttons?

Access to the Internet at your fingertips; Apple releases the iPhone, one of the first mobile phones to use a multi-touch interface. Computers everywhere sigh and rue their chunky, unattractive buttons.

Competition is healthy.

The cloud begins to swell as companies launch i-services to cater to consumers of mobile and tablet devices. The ‘as a Service’ model proliferates with cloud applications becoming commonly hosted in data centres far away.

They’re growing up so quickly...

Private clouds grow and mature. Cloud productivity apps finally puff up their chests and stand up to the old stalwart office applications, becoming credible replacements.

I want to get me some of that!

The Public cloud is boosted by the arrival of new IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) providers anticipating a tipping point when enterprises start moving their infrastructure to cloud solutions.

So what now?

Private clouds hosted off-site? PCs replaced by personal clouds where you can keep all your personal content, applications and services? Clouds tailored to specific markets such as retail, manufacturing or healthcare?

Will there be hoverboards?

More organisations are likely to opt for alternatives to on-premise technology, so cloud adoption will increase. Our humble little computer is humble no more.

...let’s hope they don’t rise against us.

In 1960...

Renowned computer scientist John McCarthy opines “computation may someday be organised as a public utility”

In 1966...

The Challenge of the Computer Utility by Douglas Parkhill explains the modern-day characteristics of cloud computing

In 1974...

Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn published a paper which proposed the TCP/IP protocol for connecting diverse computer networks

In 1976...

Queen Elizabeth is the first state leader to send an email.

In 1979...

Compuserve become the first commercial on-line service, offering dial-up connections to any user.

In 1982...

‘Internet’ was first used as a proper noun. Also a small company called Symantec is founded by Gary Hendrix.

In 1985...

The first .COM domain name is registered.

In 1989...

PSINet becomes one of the first Internet Service Providers.

In 1991...

In Switzerland, CERN release the World Wide Web for general use, and a wide range of research laboratories and universities began to use it.

In 1995...

Israeli company VocalTec release the first VoIP software, allowing voice calls to be made over the Internet

In 1997...

'Cloud computing' is coined by Information Systems Professor Ramnath Chellappa

In 1999...

Software as a Service (SaaS) offered for the first time

In 2000...

The dot com bubble bursts. Amazon.com realise cloud architecture increases internal efficiency and begins to update its data centres.

In 2002...

Amazon Web Services is launched, offering a suite of cloud-based services.

In 2004...

Google launch their cloud based email service, Gmail.

In 2006...

Amazon launched its Elastic Compute cloud (EC2) service, allowing small companies and individuals to rent computers on which to run their own applications.

In 2007...

Salesforce launch Force.com - a cloud computing platform - as a service system.

In 2008...

Open-source Eucalyptus launched as the first AWS API-compatible platform for implementing private clouds.

In 2009...

The National Science Foundation awarded grants for researching cloud computing of around $5m.

In 2011...

Apple launch iCloud, their cloud storage and computing service.

In 2013...

Will mobile phones begin to overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide?

In the future...

Cloud as a defining term will begin to fade as most IT services will include a cloud component. In the future everything will be in some way connected to the cloud.


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  • The Future…