The Evolution of the Cloud

Adopting a cloud first strategy has significantly accelerated over the last few years, but where did the cloud originate from? We’ve analysed the journey of the cloud to show the impact it has had on organisations and users since it was first used back in the 1960s by Joseph Carl Robert Licklider.

The birth of the cloud
Tech Spotlight

The Evolution of the Cloud

In the 1960s, to connect people and data from anywhere at any time cloud computing was established by Joseph Carl Robert Licklider. Fast forward to 2021 and the worldwide public cloud end-user spending is up to $304.9 billion. So, when did the cloud really take off? Take a look at the GIF below to find out.

1962 - 1970 cloud print and digital transformation journey


As an internet pioneer Licklider had a vision of a worldwide computer network long before it was built. He formulated the earliest ideas of a global computer network. In a series of memos discussing the “Intergalactic Computer Network” concept. These ideas contained almost everything that the Internet is today, including cloud computing.


Visualisation changed everything, IBM released an operating system called VM that permitted admins its mainframe systems to have multiple virtual systems. This system allowed multiple distinct compute environments to live in the same physical environment.

1983-1997 and how the cloud evolved


CompuServe offered its consumer users a small amount of disk space that could be used to store any files they chose to upload.


Sir Tim Berners Lee laid out his vision for what would become the web. The documents described a ‘hypertext project’ called ‘WorldWideWeb’ in which a ‘web’ of ‘hypertext documents’ could be viewed by ‘browsers’.


AT&T launched PersonaLink Services, an online platform for personal and business communication and entrepreneurship. The storage was one of the first to be all web-based, and referenced in their “You Will” commercials.


Professor Ramnath Chellapa of Emory University defined Cloud Computing as the new ‘computing paradigm, where the boundaries of computing will be determined by economic rationale, rather than technical limits alone’.

2002 - 2008 and how the cloud evolved


Amazon Introduced its web-based retail services implementing the Cloud Computing Infrastructure Model to give them flexibility to use their computer’s capacity much more efficiently.


Amazon launched Amazon Web Services, offering online services to other websites, or clients. They provided a variety of Cloud-based services including storage, computation and ‘human intelligence’. Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) was a site that allowed individuals to rent virtual computers and use their own programs and applications.


IBM, Google and several universities joined forces to develop a server farm for research projects needing both fast processors and huge data sets. In the same year, Netflix launched it’s streaming video service, using the Cloud, and provided support for the practice of ‘Binge-watching’.


ANASA’s OpenNebula provided the first open-source software for deploying Private and Hybrid Clouds. This innovative software focused on the needs of major businesses.

2011-2019 and how the cloud has evolved


IBM introduced the IBM SmartCloud framework. Apple launched the ICloud which focused on storing more personal information. In the same year, Microsoft launched the first major advertising campaign on television, to raise awareness of it’s ability to store photos or video with easy access via the cloud.


Oracle introduced the Oracle Cloud, offering three fundamental cloud services known as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).


The emergence of security, cloud security had become a fast-growing service, because of its importance to organisations. Features such as protection to traditional IT security systems and protection of critical information from accidental deletion, data leakage and theft where commonly used.


Global Cloud IT market revenue had reached $180 Billion. Microsoft Azure’s total revenue had reached $880 million.


Demand for cloud services grew by 18% in 2017 with a worldwide revenue of 246.8 billion, the rapid development of cloud computing market trends took everyone by surprise.


There were 3.6 billion cloud users worldwide.


96% of companies started investing in public and private clouds. 67% of enterprise infrastructure was cloud-based. As a result, more than 40 zettabytes of data will be flowing through cloud servers and networks.

The cloud will provide the digital infrastructure for tomorrow’s cities, with a safer and better managed solution thanks to the cloud’s ability to store and analyse data. Regardless of industry or size, all companies need digital infrastructure to support their business operations. But cloud will change ICT from a support system into a production system.

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