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Mobility serving as cloud enabler

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
September 28, 2012

The rapid rise of mobile devices, which are becoming prominent in light of the ability to constantly connect to the web from a variety of locations, is helping to fuel cloud computing growth. As the two technologies grow in similar trajectories, technologies that help them work well together, such as business process management software, can offer critical services to businesses.

According to a recent CloudTweaks report, the cloud's history goes back as far as the 1960s, with the technology rising largely due to network improvements.

A brief history of the cloud

The core idea of cloud computing was formally defined sometime in the early 1990s, but the processes that make the cloud workable dates back as far as the 1960s. At the time, personal computers were not a viable option for most businesses. Instead, companies would invest in a single mainframe that would be connected to dumb terminals - screens that display data and screens that enable interaction, the news source explained.

Over time, this model grew to companies using servers and other systems to attach to thin client PCs, a model that offered considerable potential in the 1980s and '90s. However, the need to use a physical data cord to attach each thin client to the data center systems limited this model's growth, the report said.

Eventually, data center service providers evolved to the point that they began using small internal networks to cluster specific resources together, and used a cloud in diagrams to show where the divide between vendor and user control. This model led to the core idea of cloud computing, though the model is similar to the mainframe system used in the early days of computing. According to the news source, this rise of the cloud has been made possible, largely, by improved networking capabilities that allow constant access to the web, making cloud data accessible enough to use the solution as a major IT model.

Why this history matters

Cloud computing and networking options are clearly intertwined. Without connectivity, users are unable to access the cloud. In a business era increasingly dependent on mobile devices, the constant web access is vaulting the cloud into a significant place. As a result, BPM software and similar tools that integrate the mobile and cloud channels to optimize functionality play an essential role in creating operational benefits from technological innovation.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product Marketing

Malcolm Ross