“A hundred years ago, companies stopped generating their own power with steam engines and dynamos and plugged into the newly built electric grid. The cheap power pumped out by electric utilities didn’t just change how businesses operate. It set off a chain reaction of economic and social transformations that brought the modern world into existence. Today, a similar revolution is under way. Hooked up to the Internet’s global computing grid, massive information-processing plants have begun pumping data and software code into our homes and businesses. This time, it’s computing that’s turning into a utility” – This is an excerpt from Nicholas Carr Wall Street Journal bestseller titled ‘The Big Switch’.
If we are not already connected to the internet, immediate access is just a click away. Smart phones, tablet computers, free WiFi, and the ever-increasing use of personal WiFi hotspots, ensure that Internet access is readily available no matter where you are. And if you have access to an Internet connection, then you have access to the cloud. Like electricity, cloud computing soon will be ubiquitous.
Another similarity between computing and electricity is the way in which the delivery methods of each were affected by technological advancements and economic forces. Like computers, electricity was initially used only by businesses. The companies that required electricity produced the power that was needed to operate their factories and manufacturing processes. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, most power plants were privately owned by large businesses.
The same can be said regarding computing power. Almost every business that’s been around for more than a few years continues to own and maintain computer hardware on site. Yet almost every new technology start-up does the exact opposite; preferring the flexibility and agility offered by companies like the web giant Amazon and their massive core infrastructure and data-centres. The days when outsourcing computing power was looked upon with suspicion will soon pass.