With the cloud seemingly everywhere these days, we thought we’d ask the question: Where did it come from? And, perhaps more importantly, where is it going?

Herb Grosch with the IBM 701

Herb Grosch with the IBM 701

The roots of the cloud can be traced back to the 1950s, when scientist Herb Grosch theorized that the entire would world someday operate from 15 large data centers, which would be mostly shared by GE, IBM and other computer giants of the time. In the 1961, computer scientist John McCarthy also envisioned a future with the cloud, saying at MIT’s centennial celebration that “computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility.” He went on to say, “Each subscriber needs to pay only for the capacity he actually uses, but he has access to all programming languages characteristic of a very large system … Certain subscribers might offer service to other subscribers … The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry.”

Fast forward to 1997, as hardware and architecture are becoming more affordable, Emory University Information Systems professor Ramnath Chellappa uses the term cloud computing in one of his lecture classes. A few years later, the world saw its first real applications of the cloud, first with limited use by Salesforce, soon followed by others. Realizing that they were only utilizing 10% of their data storage capabilities, some companies saw an opportunity and created a sort of internal cloud for employee use; seeing dramatic efficiency improvements, they soon began making this new cloud service available to the public.

Now, several years later, the cloud is everywhere. Consumers and businesses alike use it to access software, backup files, and work and play more efficiently.

What do you think? Is the cloud ripe, and ready for further explosive growth? Or is it just hype, and a predecessor to an even better technology yet to come? Vote below, and tell us why in the comments.

[poll id=”320″]