While I was writing my article on the history of cloud computing the other week, I have realized how far we have come, starting from brilliant ideas in Internet and computing as services, to today’s world where both are common place.
The dream of on-demand computing where services are available much like how our electricity is delivered and paid for to anyone and everywhere when they want it and how they want it has been delivered. Cloud computing today comes in various forms that should serve all of our needs from public cloud, private cloud, or a combination of the two, the hybrid cloud. And although for some businesses it seems the shift is toward custom clouds and privately managed services, I think the public cloud as a secure, redundant and scalable service is what the dream was about.
I have written about public, private and hybrid cloud before and I have talked about what the public cloud is. What I would like to add now is what I think it means, an affordable (in some cases even free) computing services to everyone, from strapped for cash small businesses who can now power their applications in a secure scalable way without expensive investments in hardware to entrepreneurs working on various projects intended to change the world.
So, services like Google Apps, Windows Azure Services Platform, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), are, up to a point, performing a public service, encouraging people and businesses to innovate, build and grow. For example, the on-demand cloud computing service the Sun Cloud, sadly not available since the spring of 2010, provided significant computing resources for the developer community for an extremely low price. And I believe this is what the public cloud is all about.
Of course, from a business point of view choosing the type of cloud is all aligning your business priorities. Private and hybrid clouds would ensure the level of customization, control and security a company needs, and especially for the larger ones who can absorb the costs can seem an obvious choice. But the public cloud is all about the democratization of computing services and equal chances to all businesses, small or large, and private individuals. I think the public cloud is fulfilling the dream and creating the premises for other dreams to be achieved.
Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1063656.