1961: In a speech at the centennial celebration of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (popularly referred to as “MIT”), American computer scientist John McCarthy compared computing to telephone services, in that it would one day be treated as a public utility.
1972: IBM releases the virtual machine (VM), which allows data to be copied from one main computer to other computers. VMs were called “pseudo machines” because these computers only emulated a program. VMs were a cheaper alternative to buying the same hardware for all computers.
1990s: The telecommunications industry introduces virtual private networks (VPNs), allowing people to connect to corporate networks from a remote location. As Internet became more accessible and affordable, it too would utilize virtualization to reach more people at a lower cost.
2002: Amazon launches Amazon Web Services (AWS), utilizing the extra processing space that it has to offer cloud services to companies. It marks the start of the commercialization of cloud services for businesses and individuals.
2007: File-hosting service Dropbox starts. It uses space on AWS. (More on that here.)
2009: Google and Microsoft start offering cloud services too, Google Apps and Microsoft Azure.
2011: Apple launches iCloud.
2013: I sign up for Dropbox and like it.
2016: Cloud storage is a global market that is expected to be worth $65.41 billion by 2020. In 2015, it was worth $18.87 billion. So computing has, in fact, become a utility service, as predicted 55 years ago by computer scientist John McCarthy in 1961, and also a billion-dollar industry.
Part II of the Beyond the Waterfall Trilogy is done. Part III next...