In the late 1990′s, AdminiTrack co-founder, Don Draper, and I began working on AdminiTrack.com, focusing on the hosted Internet application model, which was a hot concept at the time. Many businesses were excited about the potential for utilizing applications on the Internet with good reason. The promise of Internet-based applications represented the opportunity for an organization to avoid large startup costs, increase the speed of deployment, and enjoy virtually pain-free upgrades and maintenance. The concept enabled companies to focus on their core competence, instead of diverting resources to develop, manage, and support an in-house system.
When AdminiTrack.com came out of beta in mid-2001, Application Service Provider (ASP) was the buzzword of choice for the hosted application. At that time, ASP’s were divided into two main categories: companies that provided industry-focused applications, like AdminiTrack’s issue tracking application; and companies that provided remote access to standard desktop or server applications.
As the Application Service Provider industry grew, a number of consortiums sprang up to support the ASP movement. After a few years, everything seemed to change; and the new buzzwords quickly became “on-demand” and “Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)”. The concept was basically the same as the ASP model, but also expanded to include web-accessible functionality though web services, XML, and the like. Fast forward a few more years, and now the current buzzword-compliant term is “cloud computing“.
One of the most fundamental challenges I see with cloud computing is its definition and scope. From a high level, it is a fusion of technologies and terminology such as virtualization, Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, service-oriented architecture, and more, depending on who is providing the description. While the underlying concept of providing cost-effective, outsourced, remotely accessible, Internet-based services and functionality remains, the names and arrangements of specific components may differ.
What is Cloud Computing?
Following are a few links to other experts who give their definitions of cloud computing:
Cloud Computing Journal
The Cloud View
Daryl C. Plummer from Gartner