Cloud Computing: Something New Under the Sun?

As we reflect upon the past decade, many of us will use the 1960’s as the yardstick to measure the intellectual output, creativity, and innovation that was brought into the world over a ten-year period. The music of the Sixties brought us the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. In film, Hitchcock’s Psycho and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In politics, JFK and Martin Luther King. And in technology, spaceflight, BASIC programming language, and, of course…cloud computing.

The Computer History Museum in Boston recently released a vintage film from 1963 on the topic of timesharing, one of the most important developments in computing, and one which has come in and out of favor several times over the last several decades as the dichotomy between remote and centrally-managed computing resources played out. The latest incarnation for centrally-managed computing resources is none other than cloud computing.

The video is fascinating, demonstrating that while we’ve come a long way in eyewear fashion, the basic paradigms of computing have not changed much over the past 45 years. Watch the video, especially the last 3 minutes, and you’ll hear the MIT professor extol the benefits of shared infrastructure and what sounds familiar to us as elastic computing in the cloud.

And while we’ll agree that there are significant differences between mainframe-based time sharing and cloud computing, it’s key to note that in both computing paradigms, there is need to attain visibility into the performance and resource utilization of what they called “programs” in the video (note the interviewer’s final question about the elapsed time of the transaction,) and what we call business transactions today.

And if you’re interested more in the topic of achieving visibility in the cloud, register for next week’s webinar on the top five capabilities for cloud computing success with special guest Mary Johnston Turner of IDC.

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