Think back roughly 10 years ago. Worldcom had just imploded, the Treo 600 was the hottest phone out there, and Microsoft had just launched the Xbox Live service. Each of these examples were major evolutionary steps in computing. For me personally, I had just taken my first tour of a Switch and Data (now Equinix, a major partner of ours) data center in Tysons Corner, VA. I recall being in awe and thinking that this is the future. Essentially, you could lease space in a warehouse that was designed to be extremely redundant, impervious to a natural disaster, and to host high-speed servers in basically the same fashion as someone becoming a tenant in an apartment building. In my eyes, I had seen the future.
About that same time, I had given a presentation about the potential of third generation (3G) mobile network communications technology. In essence, I described how one day, you’d be able to communicate – via phone - with people in ways that were never possible before - sending pictures, videos and much more. Take a look around. Thanks to the iPhone- and Android-enabled phones, we are living that moment now. The 3G mobile infrastructure has enabled the Internet to be connected to every phone and its users, allowing them to experience things that 20 and 30 years ago, we imagined were only possible in the movies.
We’re in the midst of another massive paradigm shift for computing.
Fast forward to today. In Ashburn, VA there are more computing data centers then there are Starbucks. It’s like the DotCom boom all over again, but with a new buzz - Cloud Computing. Companies are popping up all over the place with brilliant ideas and instead of building their own infrastructures with huge capital expenditures, they are hosting it in the Cloud, enabling companies to utilize capacity as needed and pay based on their usage.
Startups such as Zynga have been built completely in the Cloud. Based on confirmed reports, Zynga alone has over 15,000 instances...the unofficial number I am hearing is actually closer to 100,000. The Cloud provides the ability to build a hugely successful business and to scale infinitely while minimizing the capital hardware expense and systems engineering expertise that is often detrimental to a young startup. The Cloud has enabled Zynga to focus on improving their service without being concerned with managing the physical hardware.
Another great example is Netflix. They said the following:
“Amazon’s focus on data center infrastructure allows our engineers to focus on building and improving our business.”
This is what the Cloud is all about. In the past, companies had to manage their own infrastructures but today they can focus on improving their product or service while minimizing any hardware maintenance or support activities.
“We think cloud computing is the future.”
It is. The amount of innovation happening regarding Cloud Computing is unquantifiable and it will only continue. I feel like it is deja vu all over again and I’m walking through that Switch and Data data center. But this time, I am working for a company that has become a major contender in this computing renaissance.