Well I’m sure that you have all heard the drumbeat about the PC and how its days are numbered, even if Mr. Dell wants to buy his baby back.  It has been getting louder and louder and so we decided it was time to explore the world of Tablets and Chromebooks, and yes….the cloud!

You have to remember that I cut my teeth in IT in a world that was very cloud-like.  Thirty years ago it was called “Time Sharing” and what happened was that we rented (that was the term) time on large computers somewhere out in the world and connected via dial up devices.

It was remarkably efficient as there was no way that I could afford an ICL system 4 or and IBM 370 to run my programs and so I just paid for what I used.  That is, in fact, the first of the characteristics of a cloud solution as defined by NIST.  They refer to it as On-demand self-service.

There are five of these characteristics: –

  • On-demand self-service.
  • Broad network access.
  • Resource pooling.
  • Rapid elasticity.
  • Measured service.

They really all apply to the service I was consuming from the UK dialing into computers in exotic places such as Arizona and Illinois.  Hey!  It was exotic to me dialing in from rainy Liverpool at 4 in the morning!

So, as usual I digress.  What I was getting around to is that the PC provided the local processing power as opposed to what I was using which was a “dumb” terminal.  Later we used a strange device call an APPLE 2e on which I was able to run something called a spreadsheet and connect it to the Mainframe in the sky using something called 3270 emulation.  It was very exciting stuff.

Today I am writing this on Samsung Chromebook, using Google docs, where nothing much is local, and the device.  I can also connect to applications all over the world for CRM and Project Management.  It’s eerily similar!  It’s also very likely that the servers that I am connected to are running virtual machines to pool and share resources….just as the mainframes before did with TSO (time sharing option) or VM/CMS (Virtual Machine/ Conversation Management System).

Well the good news is that the Chromebook and the ipad are able to do the jobs we need of them.  We even have some great new innovations such as cloud print….which means that you can print from anywhere to any printer and scan from anywhere to any account, accessible from any device.  I wonder when media people will discover that they can send newspaper and magazine subscriptions to printers in homes, so that all the luddites like me can still hold paper every once in a while?

The interesting thing is that once again, what was old is now new.  If I’m right, what will happen next is that the cloud will merge into “The Fabric” (I invented this so don’t be running off with it!)  and all the devices that we own that are networked and aware will be able to offer up processing services to other applications and so on and so on…..We will be living and driving around in data centers.

Sleep tight!


Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it – Anthony J. D’Angela

Change always comes bearing gifts – Price Pritchett