Mark Settle, Personal diary… July, 2017
Just returned from an anniversary party to commemorate ten years of public cloud computing.
I joined several other CIOs who were pioneers in using Amazon’s Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) when large enterprise instances initially became available in 2007.
Who would have ever thought that things could have changed so much in ten years?
Even as little as five years ago, large enterprise CIOs thought that public clouds such as EC2 would only be used on a limited basis, primarily for the development of non-business critical applications.
We responded to the threat posed by public cloud vendors by virtualising our own data centres, automating our provisioning processes, procuring capacity in advance of demand, and upgrading our system monitoring capabilities.
We thought that we could provide the same services as the public vendors and would only utilise public clouds on an as-needed basis for application prototyping or scalability testing.
We referred to this as the bursting model for hybrid cloud computing in which one bursts out to public platforms on a temporary basis for very specialised purposes.
Five years ago, we were smugly entrenched behind our firewalls believing that the gravitational forces exerted by our corporate data warehouses and the information security concerns of our corporate executives would ultimately deter any wholesale movement of enterprise computing to the cloud.
None of us really saw Big Data coming. We thought Big Data was a trendy buzz word, never fully understanding its true implications.
Network and database engineers found a new lease of life with the advent of Big Data.
The desire to move terabyte and even petabyte-sized databases around the Internet spawned a whole new generation of data management technologies.
Content delivery networks (CDNs), initially developed to stream video across the Internet, were hijacked by large enterprises to transport business data.
CDNs triggered investments in data compression, data caching, dynamic latency routing and database virtualisation that revolutionised data transport capabilities.
Similarly, investments in data encryption, data aliasing, key management, field-level access controls and session segmentation technologies considerably reduced information security concerns.
While there will always be computing workloads that will never be performed outside the corporate firewall, these technologies have liberated a considerable cross-section of business-related data from the security constraints that existed five years ago.