xxvi Cloud Computing
What Is the Cloud?
has been used historically as a metaphor for the Internet.
This usage was originally derived from its common depiction in network
diagrams as an outline of a cloud, used to represent the transport of data
across carrier backbones (which owned the cloud) to an endpoint location
on the other side of the cloud. This concept dates back as early as 1961,
when Professor John McCarthy suggested that computer time-sharing tech-
nology might lead to a future where computing power and even speciﬁc
applications might be sold through a utility-type business model.
became very popular in the late 1960s, but by the mid-1970s the idea faded
away when it became clear that the IT-related technologies of the day were
unable to sustain such a futuristic computing model. However, since the
turn of the millennium, the concept has been revitalized. It was during this
time of revitalization that the term
began to emerge in tech-
The Emergence of Cloud Computing
can be deﬁned as the provision of computational and stor-
age resources as a metered service, similar to those provided by a traditional
public utility company. This, of course, is not a new idea. This form of com-
puting is growing in popularity, however, as companies have begun to
extend the model to a cloud computing paradigm providing virtual servers
that IT departments and users can access on demand. Early enterprise
adopters used utility computing mainly for non-mission-critical needs, but
that is quickly changing as trust and reliability issues are resolved.
Some people think cloud computing is the next big thing in the world
of IT. Others believe it is just another variation of the utility computing
model that has been repackaged in this decade as something new and cool.
However, it is not just the buzzword “cloud computing” that is causing con-
fusion among the masses. Currently, with so few cloud computing vendors
actually practicing this form of technology and also almost every analyst
from every research organization in the country deﬁning the term differ-
ently, the meaning of the term has become very nebulous. Even among
those who think they understand it, deﬁnitions vary, and most of those def-
initions are hazy at best. To clear the haze and make some sense of the new
to-1961-prof-john-mccarthy, retrieved 5 Jan 2009.
Intro.fm Page xxvi Friday, May 22, 2009 11:24 AM