I attended a talk on 'Cloud computing' this week which was very informative but illustrated to me that we are indeed returning to the age of mainframe computing. Bring it on I say!
The talk was run by a Microsoft Partner organisation and the aim was to present the advantages of using Cloud computing in a business environment. Of course - the talk focussed on a Microsoft infrastructure that enables the 'Cloud' for you - and its very slick!
However, there were echo's from the past throughout;
- The description of the Cloud server end of things sounded very much like an old mainframe computing centre to me. Stand alone building containing a mass of computing power being cooled by some enormous plant. Looking to position these centres in places like Iceland to aid the cooling! Who remember the Cray cooling iceberg, http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Cray/Cray.Cray2.1985.102646185.pdf
- The description of the IT support provided with the Cloud services. They load your applications and manage data allocation for users. Sounds suspiciously like Job Control Language wording to me. http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/definition/JCL
- You only pay for the Cloud service as you use it - well on a monthly basis anyway - and only for what you need. Paying for access was part of mainframe datacentre life - you couldn't afford to do anything else. Better make sure your code was as clear of bug's as possible or your allocated hour of use would go in a flash!
- On the Cloud data side - loads of the stuff produced 'big data'. There was lots of big data produced in the mainframe era - this was stored on dinner plate sized data discs - piles of them - if that isn't big data I don't know what is! All your data stored remotely and safe of course - just like in the Cloud!
- And finally, the Cloud is accessed by a 'dumb client' that sounded exactly like a 'green screen' monitor.
There is hope yet then. Onward and upward ....