Evolution of Cloud Computing

Evolution of Cloud Computing

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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on May 21, 2024 11:44 IST

In the latest years, the development of cloud computing has resulted in numerous new technologies. Cloud computing is a computing method in which dynamically scalable and numerous virtualized resources are delivered as a service over the Internet.


Cloud computing is evolving at a breakneck pace, with businesses of all sizes adopting this new technology. According to industry experts, the evolution of cloud computing will only continue to grow and develop in the coming years.

Cloud computing is a type of Internet-based computer technology in which shared resources, software, and information are delivered to computers and other devices on demand.

The cloud computing model results from numerous attempts at large-scale computing with better accessibility to near-unlimited resources. Its flexible infrastructure provides excellent facilities to business entrepreneurs.

The term “cloud computing” refers to renting computing resources. This concept was first proposed in the 1950s. Five technologies were critical in shaping cloud computing into what it is today. 

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Before the advent of cloud computing, there was Client/Server computing, which is essentially centralized storage in which all software applications, data, and controls are stored on the server-side.

Following that, distributed computing emerged, in which all computers are networked together and share resources as needed.

Cloud computing has recently evolved from Web2.0 technology, which caters to web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, and user-centered design, among other things.

But, before proceeding any further, let’s go through the topics that we will be covering in this article:

  1. Technologies that played a vital role in the evolution of cloud computing
  2. Phases of cloud computing evolution
  3. Evolution of cloud computing over the past ten years?

Technologies that played a vital role in the evolution of cloud computing

Cloud computing evolved primarily from various computing technologies such as distributed systems and peripherals, virtualization, web 2.0, service orientation, and utility computing. Let’s go through some of the technologies that played a vital role in the evolution of cloud computing are:

Distributed systems

A distributed system is a computing environment. Different components are distributed across multiple computers connected by a network. These devices divided the work, collaborating their efforts to accomplish the assignment more efficiently than when a single device was in charge.

Scalability, concurrency, continuous availability, heterogeneity, and failure independence are all characteristics of distributed systems. The main issue with this system was that all plans had to be present in the exact geographical location.

To address this issue, distributed computing gave rise to three new types of computing:

  1. Mainframe computing
  2. Cluster computing
  3. Grid computing

Mainframe computing

Large organizations use mainframe computing for critical applications, bulk data processing, massive throughput, hot-swapping of hardware, etc. Yet today, these are used as these systems have virtually no downtime and high fault tolerance.

These increased the system’s processing capabilities after distributed computing. However, these were prohibitively expensive. Cluster computing emerged as a cost-cutting alternative to mainframe technology.

Cluster computing

It is a collection of computers that are either tightly or loosely connected and work together to function as a single entity. The connected computers execute operations in unison, giving rise to the concept of a unified system. A high-bandwidth network generally links together the clusters.

In addition, you can easily add new nodes to the cluster if necessary. Therefore, this addressed the cost issue to some extent, but the point of geographical constraints remained. Grid computing came into the picture as a solution to this problem.

Grid computing

In grid computing, a network of computers collaborates to complete a task that would have been unlikely for a single machine to complete. To function as a virtual supercomputer, all machines on that network must follow the same protocol.

Different systems were placed at entirely different geographical locations, and these all were connected via the internet. Although it solved some problems, new problems emerged as the distance between the nodes increased.

Web 2.0

In comparison to the early days of the internet, Web 2.0 describes the current state of online technology. It includes increased user interactivity and collaboration and improved communication channels. As a result, we now have interactive and dynamic web pages. It also improves the flexibility of web pages.


The fundamental technology that underpins cloud computing is virtualization. This software separates compute environments from physical infrastructures, allowing multiple operating systems and applications to simultaneously run on the same machine.

It is a critical technology in cloud computing. It serves as the foundation for major cloud computing services such as Amazon EC2, VMware vCloud, etc.

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Utility computing

Utility computing allows users to scale up and down based on their needs. Clients, users, or businesses can rent data storage space, computing power, or even hardware such as CPUs, monitors, etc.

This is how these technologies contributed to the making of cloud computing.

Phases of the evolution of cloud computing

There are 3 phases in the evolution of cloud computing. These phases are:

Idea phase

This period began in the early 1960s with the introduction of utility and grid computing and lasted until the pre-internet era.

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The pre-cloud phase began in 1999 and lasted until 2006. During this stage, the internet was used as a mechanism to deliver Applications as a Service.

Cloud phase

The much-discussed real cloud phase began in 2007 when the classification of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS was formalized. Throughout the history of cloud computing, some of the world’s leading computer/web organizations have made some very interesting breakthroughs.

Evolution of cloud computing over the past ten years?

While initial growth was slow, cloud services have grown significantly in the last ten years. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and OpenStack had all launched cloud divisions by 2010. This aided in making cloud services more accessible to the general public. Cloud services have since taken over a large portion of the tech industry, and cloud transitions or migrations have become commonplace.

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As organizations adopted cloud services, the concept of combining public and private clouds emerged. These “hybrid clouds” allowed businesses to customize their implementations and integrate cloud services better. Apple released iCloud in 2011, allowing consumers to begin using cloud storage in their daily lives.

Over the last decade, businesses of all sizes have readily adopted cloud services in search of improved services and long-term cost savings. As a result of this adoption, the number of organizations using software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings more than doubled between 2015 and 2017. In addition, a large number of startups have entered the market. In 2017, 55 new SaaS companies were founded in India alone.

However, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) has been the most rapidly growing sector. In 2018, five providers dominated the IaaS market: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, and IBM. Industry values reflect this, with revenues expected to exceed $623 billion by 2025, up from around $12 billion in 2010.

If you want to learn more about cloud computing, refer to these articles:

Different Characteristics of Cloud Computing
Different Characteristics of Cloud Computing
On-demand self-service, broad network access, and being highly elastic and scalable are some of the fundamental characteristics of cloud computing. The characteristics of cloud computing explain why cloud computing is...read more
Introduction to Cloud Computing Deployment Models
Introduction to Cloud Computing Deployment Models
A cloud deployment model is defined by where the infrastructure for the deployment is located and who controls that infrastructure. The cloud deployment models denote the specific type of cloud...read more
The hypervisor in cloud computing
The hypervisor in cloud computing
The hypervisor creates a virtual platform on which various guest OS are implemented and controlled on the host computer. A hypervisor is also known as a VMM (virtual machine monitor). It...read more

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When did the cloud begin to evolve?

In the mid-1990s, this concept was technically introduced. It became popular with the introduction of Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services.

What is the primary advantage of cloud computing?

The primary benefit of cloud computing is that your data is stored, backed, and kept safe in a reliable and confidential location.

Who was the first cloud service provider?

The first cloud provider is Salesforce.com.

What are the three major types of cloud computing services?

The three major types of cloud computing services are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

About the Author
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio