Sunday, October 25, 2009

History Repeats Itself

I have been wrapping myself around the new catch words…Cloud Computing. It is the latest incantation being chanted by the IT Business World. It is being presented as a new idea but it really reminds me of the old mainframe computing of the 1960’s and early 80’s. Remember the days of when mainframes were the predominant model of computing, transitioning through the creation of the personal computer to ASP’s, managed services, Saas (Software as a Service), and now the new catch word…Cloud computing?

I remember the ASP (Application Service Model); it came right after the dot com boom. It was an acronym that had to evolve a few times too and had its buzz for a short time; it never really gained a strong business acceptance. Then the metamorphosis started and whala! The managed services market. This is basically what we all do in business. But to give you an idea, this is Wikipedia’s definition:

A managed services provider (MSP), is typically an information technology (IT) services provider, who manages and assumes responsibility for providing a defined set of services to their clients either proactively or as they (not the client) determine that the services are needed. Most MSPs bill a flat or near-fixed monthly fee, which benefits their clients by providing them with predictable IT support costs. Many MSPs now provide many of their services remotely over the Internet rather than having to perform on-site client visits, which is time consuming and often expensive. Common services provided by MSPs include remote network, desktop and security monitoring, patch management and remote data back-up, as well as technical assistance.

In 2006, Peter Sandiford, Intel’s Resource Center wrote this: With managed services, an Information Technology provider monitors your systems remotely, as if you have a full-time professional IT staff right in your office. From printers to e-mail to network maintenance to storage backup, managed services can keep your computer systems protected and operational.

Where I see this is channel partners aka the middleman. Channel partners is a term that came up with tech companies but the middleman has been around for years. Thank goodness. Think about how many middlemen there are in business: stock brokers, publicists, manufacturer’s representatives, food brokers, resident buyers, VARs, OEMs, MSPs (there’s that term again).

Computers have made our jobs busier and easier. The creations affiliated with computers like software have standardized or simplified our life. And for business, the commercial model varies. Instead of buying hardware, servers, etc., and creating our own network, thanks to the Internet we all can use the network. We are all trying to figure out how to make a living utilizing the new medium…Internet. True it is not so new but capitalizing on it, is constantly evolving.

So what I can figure out at this point is another term has been born. It basically takes what I have been doing for years for very small businesses, pay as you go. But cloud computing is more about a new management and commercial model than it is about a new technology per se. Or here just think of the Internet as the cloud.

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