A Brief History of Cloud Computing

Salesforce and the Cloud


‘[Small business owners] will fight the cloud at first, then wonder why you were gouging them for so many years prior to the cloud solution.” Harold Mann, 2008

The first major milestone of the cloud computing revolution was the arrival of Salesforce.com in 1999. This company pioneered the concept of delivering enterprise applications by using a simple, easy-to-use website. The services firm paved the way for both specialist and mainstream software firms to deliver applications over the world wide web. When 2002 rolled around, Amazon Web Services launched a suite of cloud-based services including storage, computation, and even human intelligence by using Amazon Mechanical Turk. In 2006, Amazon launched their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) as a commercial web service allowing small companies and individuals to rent computers to run their own computer applications on. This was a huge step for cloud users because they were able to start seeing the benefits first hand as they were able to use it for their own personal or commercial purposes. In 2009 Google and others started to offer browser-based enterprise apps through services such as Google Apps.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing can be great for increased storage, flexibility and cost reduction and, in fact, increased security.  Cloud computing services can “enable an enterprise to expand infrastructure, add capacity on demand, or outsource the whole infrastructure, resulting in greater flexibility, wider choice of computing resources and significant cost savings,” says Andreas Asander, vice-principal of product management at Clavister. Cloud computing is proving itself worthy of bringing enormous benefits for IT users across the globe. The bottom line for IT directors is to continue to manage their internal computing events, while also learning how to secure, manage and monitor the increasing amount of external resources waiting to be harnessed within the cloud.

Emerging Private & Hybrid Clouds

Between 2008 and 2009 companies like Microsoft (Office 365), Rackspace and other vendors capitalized on enterprise IT’s fears of data security, positioning their services toward private clouds. Netflix joined AWS in 2009 and immediately became one of the largest commercial enterprises based in the cloud. (And just as Amazon offered $50,000 in free computing to lure prominent startups in the past, so now Microsoft is offering $500,000 to attract start-ups from Y-combinator.) In 2011, the hybrid cloud was born. Combining public and private cloud environments, the hybrid cloud requires “interoperability” and the ability to move workloads back and forth between the two clouds as needed in a safe and secure manner. In 2013, out of  active cloud users, 40% used public cloud, 39% used hybrid cloud, and 22% used private cloud, according to SearchCloudComputing.

The Sky Is The Limit

Cloud computing is just now beginning to be harnessed on a global scale for both the commercial and private sector. The sky is the limit (forgive the pun) as far as where the path of the cloud may go.