On the Origins of Cloud Computing, an Industry and Market in Which Willwork Global Event Services Clients are Power Players

(Image credit: PCMag)

Gotta love that scene from the movie Creed which came out on the big screen in 2015.

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) writes out on paper a boxing training regimen for his pupil, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), who is sitting next to him.  As Rocky writes, he also provides verbal explanation about the regimen.

Rocky holds out the paper to Adonis who takes it, photographs the paper with his cell phone, and hands the paper back to Rocky.  Within a few seconds, Adonis walks away. 

Rocky holds out the paper to Adonis, and says, “Hey, don’t you want this?”

Looking back over his shoulder, and holding up his phone, Adonis says, “Got it right here.”

“What if you lose that there, or it breaks,” asks Rocky. 

Adonis points to the sky: “It’s already up in the cloud.”

Rocky, confused, looks up, and says, .“What cloud? …. What cloud?”

****

Yeah, Rocky Balboa did not know much about or was not in tune with the cloud, as in cloud computing. 

Kind of a generational thing.  Sort of. 

Then, again, here in 2019 there are a lot of smart and fairly technologically literate people who don’t know a lot about cloud computing. 

For who will find value in an introduction to and primer about cloud computing, we direct you to a story, “Too Embarrassed to Ask: What Is ‘The Cloud’ and How Does It Work?: It has nothing to do with white fluffy things in the sky,” published a little more than four years ago (and still helpful and relevant) at the technology news site Recode. Author of the article is Bonnie Cha.  

Willwork Global Event Services does want to add our own take – and that is that the cloud is an innovation among the most powerful in history in its capacity to provide individuals and small enterprises use of the same technology that powers and sustains major corporations.

Marc Andreesen surely believes in the democratizing value of cloud computing. His voice and perspective are worthwhile to heed.  

Mr. Andreesen is an Internet and networked intelligence pioneer, best known as the inventor of Mosaic, the first popular web browser, and co-founder of the company Netscape. He is also co-founder, and General Partner, of the Silicon Valley A-list venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz.  

Mr. Andreesen observed: “Every kid coming out of Harvard, every kid coming out of school now thinks he can be the next Mark Zuckerberg, and with these new technologies like cloud computing, he actually has a shot.” 

It was not until a few years into 21st century that the term “cloud computing” became a popular phenomenon in business and the public at large.  Much of this had to do with, in the early 1990s, the Internet and World Wide Web being unshackled from government control and for the first time made widely available to private businesses and private citizens. 

A revolution in wireless technology also enabled an explosion in innovation, access to, and use of, the cloud.

But what are the origins of cloud computing?  Where did it start?

There is a good amount of controversy surrounding those questions. 

Some say that the genesis of cloud computing predates even the invention, in 1969, of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, and the technological foundation of the Internet.

On March 19, 2015, Time published a story, “Where Did Cloud Computing Come From, Anyway:  This is hardly the first time we’ve used centralized computers,” written by John Patrick Pullen.  

Following is an excerpt from the Time story:

“Yes, cloud computing, which is super-powering many of our devices today, got its start before President John F. Kennedy took office.

“Sometime around 1955, John McCarthy, the computer scientist who created the term ‘artificial intelligence,’ came up with the theory of time-sharing, which is very similar to today’s cloud computing. Back then, computing time cost several million dollars, and users wanted to make the greatest use out of a very expensive asset. In addition, smaller companies who couldn’t afford a computer of their own also wanted to also be able to do the type of automation that larger companies could do, but without making such an expensive investment. So, if users could find a way to ‘time-share’ a computer, they could effectively rent its computational might without having to singularly foot the bill for its massive cost.”

We invite you to do your own research on the origins of the cloud.

But we must tell you we like the history and theory presented and supported in Mr. Pullen’s article.

And we just have to mention that, as has been the case in almost all areas of computing, IBM– a Willwork client –played an early and important role in cloud computing. For as the concept of computer time-sharing began to be implemented, it was IBM mainframe computers and their “computational might” that were among those most in demand.  

John McCarthy (1927-2011), a giant in the fields of mathematics and computer science, also pioneered the notion of cloud computing as a public utility, as explained in an MIT Technology Review article, “The Cloud Imperative,” written by Simson Garfinkel and published on October 3, 2011.

Here is excerpted is a paragraph from the story:

“Computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility,” Professor John McCarthy said at MIT’s centennial celebration in 1961. “Each subscriber needs to pay only for the capacity he actually uses, but he has access to all programming languages characteristic of a very large system … Certain subscribers might offer service to other subscribers … The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry.”

Continuing the discussion and thread of the founding of cloud computing, we ask the question: Who came up with the term cloud computing? 

Now, that is a question which seems to have an answer that should not be subject to controversy.  Well, at least not too much controversy. 

You see, two gentlemen, George Favaloro and Sean O’Sullivan have the documentation and the backup to prove they co-created the term. 

It was in 1996 when both were in the employ of Compaq Computer – Mr. Favoloro as a marketing exec, Mr. O’Sullivan as an engineer – that they co-developed and co-wrote a business development plan for the company’s Internet Division Solutions department and gave the plan the title: “Internet Division Solutions Strategy for Cloud Computing.”  

No appearance, written or spoken, of the phrase “cloud computing” has been authenticated prior to the presentation of this plan.  

Willwork is eager to note that, in 2019, IBM remains a premier player in cloud computing, one of the top five companies in the world as ranked in the percentage of the cloud computing market they share.   

Then, again, on that select top 5 list there are two more Willwork clients: Amazon Web Services, the market leader, and Google.  

That is right – of the top five cloud computing corporations on the planet, three are Willwork Global Event Services clients.

Willwork, of course, has a strong and vested interest in the present and future of “The Cloud.” 

And, for sure, we will publish more in this space on the status of and developments in cloud computing.

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