7 ways the cloud is changing

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The word “cloud” is one of those nebulous words that people deploy with steadfast conviction. When politicians get in a bind, they like to say that the solution to a problem is more “education.” Doctors toss off the word “rest.” And for the last decade or more, everyone in the IT shop from the intern to the CIO knows that the right answer to any question is “the cloud.”

The word, though, hides a great deal of complexity and confusion because it has meant so many different things over the years. Before the buzzword was even adopted, mainframe companies sold timeshare systems. The first early colocation companies rented accounts on Unix servers. Companies like America Online offered cloud-like storage and computing services under the guise of entertainment.

This evolution has continued even after the word was crowned. The earliest offerings were just dozens of thin virtual machines running on fat servers. You could pretend to be root even…


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