1. a visible mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere, typically high above the ground.*
Seems like it wasn't that long ago "Cloud" was a weather condition. I remember my dad describing the various types of clouds and what we could expect when we saw them. Those conversations guided my cloud thoughts well into my adult life. But then, along came Cloud Computing.
2. a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet and used to store, manage, and process data in place of local servers or personal computers.*
Cloud computing began appearing around 2000, and really became available on a large scale with the introduction of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud in 2006.
Early adopters found Cloud Computing provided many benefits like provisioning flexibility, seamless scalability, reduced maintenance, resource pooling and much more. Cloud also provided some unique challenges not the least of which was changing people's thinking about how to manage computing resources, software, networks and related infrastructure. For many, the introduction of Cloud Computing and the rapid push for adoption manifested itself in another Cloud definition:
3. a state or cause of gloom, suspicion, trouble, or worry.*
I remember around 2010 Cloud was not fully understood by business people or even IT services professionals. It seemed to me the masses were running from the Cloud, not to it. It's been an amazing transformation of attitudes and evolution of services and technologies over the last few years. And it seems to be accelerating. Customers I spoke with 5 years ago wanted nothing to do with Cloud. Now they are demanding Cloud services. A customer told me recently "I just want to empty our server room". That pretty much sums it up.
Some products and services were a natural fit for Cloud, moving the heavy lifting from computers and servers on site to a virtual environment worked. It also exposed the need for increased network capacity and reliability. Other products and services proved to be more challenging.
Cloud Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) was a challenge due to the heavy burden video places on customer networks and in particular, their broadband connections. I recall conversations with customers angry that Cloud-connected surveillance cameras were competing for bandwidth with mission critical business operations. As is often the case, customer feedback drives product evolution. With some clever engineering and a can-do attitude, Cloud VSaaS is now much more network efficient. For customers with many sites and users, the value of Cloud VSaaS is powerful. The ability to manage a large geographically distributed surveillance deployment on a Cloud platform has introduced unprecedented scalability, deployment flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Those aren't attributes traditionally associated with surveillance systems.
It will be interesting to see where Cloud goes next. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are likely to play an important role in the evolution of technology moving forward. Exciting times. Despite some challenges early on, the future of Cloud looks very bright. It's been said, every cloud has a silver lining!
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