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Cloud Computing by James F. Ransome, John W. Rittinghouse

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Chapter 1
The Evolution of Cloud
Computing
1.1 Chapter Overview
It is important to understand the evolution of computing in order to get an
appreciation of how we got into the cloud environment. Looking at the evo-
lution of the computing hardware itself, from the first generation to the cur-
rent (fourth) generation of computers, shows how we got from there to
here. The hardware, however, was only part of the evolutionary process. As
hardware evolved, so did software. As networking evolved, so did the rules
for how computers communicate. The development of such rules, or proto-
cols, also helped drive the evolution of Internet software.
Establishing a common protocol for the Internet led directly to rapid
growth in the number of users online. This has driven technologists to make
even more changes in current protocols and to create new ones. Today, we
talk about the use of IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) to mitigate address-
ing concerns and for improving the methods we use to communicate over
the Internet. Over time, our ability to build a common interface to the
Internet has evolved with the improvements in hardware and software.
Using web browsers has led to a steady migration away from the traditional
data center model to a cloud-based model. Using technologies such as server
virtualization, parallel processing, vector processing, symmetric multipro-
cessing, and massively parallel processing has fueled radical change. Lets
take a look at how this happened, so we can begin to understand more
about the cloud.
In order to discuss some of the issues of the cloud concept, it is impor-
tant to place the development of computational technology in a historical
context. Looking at the Internet cloud’s evolutionary development,
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and the
problems encountered along the way, provides some key reference points to
help us understand the challenges that had to be overcome to develop the
Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) today. These challenges fell
Chap1.fm Page 1 Friday, May 22, 2009 11:24 AM
2 Cloud Computing
into two primary areas, hardware and software. We will look first at the
hardware side.
1.2 Hardware Evolution
Our lives today would be different, and probably difficult, without the ben-
efits of modern computers. Computerization has permeated nearly every
facet of our personal and professional lives. Computer evolution has been
both rapid and fascinating. The first step along the evolutionary path of
computers occurred in 1930, when binary arithmetic was developed and
became the foundation of computer processing technology, terminology,
and programming languages. Calculating devices date back to at least as
early as 1642, when a device that could mechanically add numbers was
invented. Adding devices evolved from the abacus. It was a significant mile-
stone in the history of computers. In 1939, the Berry brothers invented an
electronic computer capable of operating digitally. Computations were per-
formed using vacuum-tube technology.
In 1941, the introduction of Konrad Zuses Z3 at the German Labora-
tory for Aviation in Berlin was one of the most significant events in the evo-
lution of computers because this machine supported both floating-point
and binary arithmetic. Because it was a “Turing-complete” device,
2
it is con-
sidered to be the very first computer that was fully operational. A program-
ming language is considered Turing-complete if it falls into the same
computational class as a Turing machine, meaning that it can perform any
calculation a universal Turing machine can perform. This is especially sig-
nificant because, under the Church-Turing thesis,
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a Turing machine is the
embodiment of the intuitive notion of an algorithm. Over the course of the
next two years, computer prototypes were built to decode secret German
messages by the U.S. Army.
1. Paul Wallis, “A Brief History of Cloud Computing: Is the Cloud There Yet? A Look at the
Cloud’s Forerunners and the Problems They Encountered,” http://soa.sys-con.com/node/
581838, 22 Aug 2008, retrieved 7 Jan 2009.
2. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, “A computational system that can com-
pute every Turing-computable function is called Turing-complete (or Turing-powerful).
Alternatively, such a system is one that can simulate a universal Turing machine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_complete, retrieved 17 Mar 2009.
3. http://esolangs.org/wiki/Church-Turing_thesis, retrieved 10 Jan 2009.
Chap1.fm Page 2 Friday, May 22, 2009 11:24 AM

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