Abacus to Cloud: Evolutionary Timeline of IT

In this post, let us embark on a journey into the past to retrace the way IT has evolved.

Right from the time Homo sapiens came into their own in the world, they were confronted with problems of input, processing, output and communication. Before the advent of the mechanical age around 1450 AD, the media of communication was speech and later drawing and writing. The input technologies consisted of paper and pens; the permanent storage devices were scrolls and later libraries.

Jacquard's Machine

As the numbering systems were invented, the first calculator in the form of the abacus came into existence. The mechanical age triggered the first information explosion. The slide rule came into use which claimed the honor of being the earliest analog computer. Other mechanical computational devices followed, notably, Babbage’s Analytical and Differential engines and Jacquard’s loom which used punch cards and binary logic.

IBM Mark I

The harnessing of electricity gave rise to computing machines like the Hollerith and International Business Machines’s Mark I (IBM Mark I). Use of electronic vacuum tubes made possible the first-generation computers and programs were started to be written in machine and then assembly language. The second and the third generations followed with transistors and integrated circuits as the logic elements. Computers massive enough to occupy a large room were built called mainframe and somewhat smaller versions termed mini-computers with associated Operating System (OS) and programming languages like COBOL and FORTRAN. The fourth generation brought into being the microprocessor and the IBM PC with MS-DOS and Apple II.

Apple II

The trend continued with higher miniaturization, computing speed, storage capacity and release of better OS and application programs. Then came the internet and now the Cloud Computing.

Internet and Cloud Computing

This evolution has made possible much more efficient computing by centralizing in datacenter, storage, memory, processing and bandwidth. Marked improvement in server virtualization, distributed computing and high-speed internet and mobile smart-phones have contributed to the birth of Cloud Computing evolution.

The subtle but a sea change for IT with the birth of Cloud Computing is that its thrust is now more on providing Services than Technology. Everything about IT is geared to render Service, be it Infrastructure, Platform, Software or Utility.

In order to survive in this new arena, you will have to train your IT team to learn and adapt to this new paradigm.

So now, are you really thinking to move into the Cloud ?

Please share with me !

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