Cloud Computing rhymes with Mainframe

It does not matter if we are talking about fashion, movies or even IT, things repeat.  Tie-dye, peace signs and 3D movies are making a comeback. Besides 3D movies there are a lot of  sequels and prequels movies too.  It seems like information technology (IT)  is repeating itself too.   Maybe not repeating but at least rhyming.   The latest trend in IT seems to be Cloud Computing.

In a land far far away and a long long time ago there were these things called mainframes.  A mainframe was  centralizedmainframe processing.  These mammoth computers were housed in large rooms with big air-conditioners and ran by men with black horn rimmed glasses.  Then there was a movement towards distributed processing and everyone would keep a copy of everything on their individual workstations.  There were proclamations that the mainframe was dead.

Don’t get me wrong here folks because there have been a lot of improvements from mainframes to Cloud Computing. All the talk about Cloud Computing sounds familiar.  Cloud computing succeeds where the mainframe failed.

With Cloud Computing I get to keep a copy of my files on my workstation.  This allows me to work when I am not even connected to the internet.  With mainframes everyone had a dumb terminal.  It was called dumb because it did not really do anything unless the terminal was physically attached to the mainframe.

Everything is automatically backed up!  Woo hoo!  I don’t have to worry about backing up critical files because they are in the “cloud.”

Since my files are synchronized across more than one workstation,  I can access my files from my laptop, my desktop and even someone else’s computer.


Since I am a self professed Apple head, I use a product called MobileMe.  MobileMe is classic Cloud Computing.  My wife never understood why the calendars on all our computers could not be synchronized, but now with MobileMe my wife can check or update calendars and contacts on any computer or device.  My iphone, my wife’s iphone, my laptop, all my iMacs and even my PC’s all stay perfectly synchronized just like a bunch of synchronized swimmers.

In the end the rumors of the mainframes death were greatly exaggerated .  They seem to be making a come back with a new name (cloud computing).   Cloud computing does offer much more than a mainframe and it succeeds in ways the mainframe failed.

Wait a second!  Tie-dye, Peace Signs, and Mainframes are all from the late 60’s and early 70’s.  What’s next miniskirts, flower power, and an energy crisis?

Read more at Reboot! Rethinking and Restarting Software Development

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 10:24  Leave a Comment  
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