How The Cloud Has Evolved Over Time

Nov 23, 2015

Cloud computing has become a massive industry over the years. A highly valued tool in many industries, cloud computing is utilized by a substantial number of businesses and consumers today. With its surge in popularity and use in recent years, most people typically associate the cloud with the twenty-first century, not knowing its actual history and how it came to existence. It may be hard to believe, but cloud computing actually ranges back over fifty years!

A Timeline of Cloud Computing

 1950s: Mainframe computing systems are used to enable multiple users to access a central computer by using dumb terminals.

1969: The initial prototype of ARPANET is released, interconnecting four separate university computers. ARPANET is considered to be the network that became the basis for what is now known as the Internet.

1970: The term “client-server” comes into use. The concept of virtual machines (VMs) is created.

1972: VM/370 is released; it is the first release of CP/CMS software. The VM operating system takes the mainframe of the 1950s to an entirely different level, allowing multiple computing environments to co-exist and reside in a single physical environment.

1990s: Telecommunications companies begin to offer virtualized private network connections. Previously, telecommunications companies had only offered single dedicated point-to-point data connections. The new private network connections are at the same quality as the previous connections, and at a reduced cost.

1995: Pictures of clouds begin appearing in network diagrams. The images are used to help people who weren’t well versed in tech to understand too-complicated concepts.

1998: Google is launched.

1999: Netflix is launched (though very different to today’s streaming service.)

2003: Web 2.0 debuts.

2004: Facebook is created.

2006: Amazon launches their cloud computing services, Amazon Web Services (AWS.) The word “cloud” is used for one of the first times at an industry event.

2007: The first iPhone launches; it can be used on any wireless network. Netflix’s streaming services are launched. Dropbox is founded.

2008: The concept of a private cloud emerges and is viewed as a more secure version of the “public cloud.”

2009: Browser-based enterprise apps (i.e. Google Apps) are introduced, revolutionizing the market of productivity apps that could be used away from desktops.

2009-2010: The Open-Source Cloud movement begins to gain stream due to the efforts of cloud computing software companies such as OpenStack.

2011: The Hybrid Cloud emerges, combining private and public cloud environments. Microsoft begins airing their “To the Cloud” series of commercials, introducing the public world to cloud computing. Apple launches iCloud, allowing users to wirelessly and automatically store content.

2012: Google Drive is released.

2014: The IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study 2014 reports that 69% of enterprises are expecting to make moderate-to-heavy cloud investments within the next three years. 44% of enterprises are relying on cloud computing to launch new business models, with an expected increase to 55% within the next three years.

2015: An SAP and Oxford Economics study is published in early 2015, reporting that 31% of respondents said that the cloud has had a transformative impact on business practices, and 48% responding with a moderate impact. IBM and The Weather Company partner up with the goal of using the cloud as a tool to predict the exact weather in any given area up to three days in advance. Amazon launches Amazon Cloud Drive; complete unlimited usage is offered for $60 per year, and unlimited photo storage and 5 GB for videos and files are offered free with a Prime membership.

Today, there is approximately 1 Exabyte of data stored in the cloud. The cloud computing industry has made gigantic financial leaps, with the global cloud market predicted to reach $200 billion by 2018.

So, what does the future hold for cloud computing? For one, by 2019, it is expected that the total data centre traffic will reach 10.4 Zettabytes globally per year; 83% of global data centre traffic will come from cloud services and applications, totaling 8.6 Zettabytes out of the total 10.4 Zettabytes. To put this number into perspective, 10.4 Zettabytes can be represented 1.2 trillion hours of ultra-high definition (UHD) video streaming, which is equivalent to every single member of the current population (around 7.6 billion people) streaming UHD video daily. Cloud traffic will quadruple by 2019, resulting in a predicted 275 million cloud workloads; this means that 86% of all workloads will be cloud based. In North America, the average number of devices owned by internet users will grow to 13.6 fixed and mobile devices per person; this is around a 46% increase from the average of 7.3 devices per user in 2014.

Cloud computing continues to make stunning advancements, and will further these innovations in the future. New technologies, such as completely cloud-based passports that may become available in Australia, are constantly being developed and released; what we have now is only the very tip of the iceberg. With more and more businesses and consumers making the transition to the cloud, it’s safe to say that cloud computing has become a leading innovator for the future of technology.

For more information on the cloud and our services, contact us at (416) 867-3000, or at You can also visit us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter @HighVail, and Instagram @HighVailSystems.

Written by Adina Brodkin,
Custom Content Writer, Highvail Systems Inc.