One thing that we’ve always found fascinating is that, although most of us use cloud computing. It’s part of our daily lives, and yet, we know remarkably few things about it. Ask the average Internet user to describe or explain cloud computing or cloud backup, and watch them stutter and get suddenly quiet. Why is that?
Why is it that we still know so little about such an important component of our day-to-day online experience?
Well, regardless of the reason, we set out to change that. So in this article, we’re looking at the history of cloud computing and storage, and taking you along for the ride.
In order to fully understand the complex history of the cloud, we need to take quite a serious step back through time. How far you need to go, however, is the topic of some quite heated debates, with different people placing the inception of cloud computing in different places.
Some believe that cloud computing originated in the early 1950s, along with the ever increasing demand for security in storing military information. It’s said that cloud computing began with a bunch of military folk who needed a fast and easy connection, to be able to share information more smoothly.
However, there are those who say that the cloud only became a thing in the mid 1960s, and that it was created by one Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, who worked on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) and is credited largely with the creation of the Internet, as we know it today. ARPANET, of course, was the brainchild of the US Department of Defense, which puts the “ownership” of the cloud concept once more at the feet of the military. However, the ten year gap between the two alleged creations of the cloud computing system gives rise to some questions.
Interestingly enough, while the concept of cloud computing itself was created all the way back in the 50s or 60s, it would still be several decades until someone actually referred to it as “cloud computing”. The term itself was coined in 1996, in a Compaq business plan, even though the concept had been discussed by Licklider as early as the 1960s.
It’s interesting to note that a common misconception of our present day is that the cloud is, ultimately, a modern invention. If you ask a millennial about it, they’re wont to tell you that the cloud was invented roughly at the same time as them.
However, as we’ve just seen, cloud storage and the concept of cloud computing have been around for several decades and are now as old as our grandparents. Of course, in the beginning, the concept of cloud computing was reserved for militaries and niche workers, but by the 1990s, everyone was talking about the cloud.
Nowadays, we use the term “cloud” to refer to all the data we’ve stored in the ether, thanks to this invention hailing from the middle of the last century.