Monday, May 19, 2014

Cloud and Timesharing - Around we go!

“Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!”

If you remember those words, you probably remember…timesharing computer services.

As government – and the rest of the world – moves into a more comprehensive Cloud environment, the IT world looks more and more like it did in the 1970’s, in the days of the Teleprocessing Service s Program – that was “timesharing” services, when vendors provided a great deal of the computer services for agencies on remote computer systems.

In the Timesharing world, customers used commercial computers (Hardware as a Service) over commercial telecommunications lines (analogous to Internet connectivity) to perform their mission functions (Software as a Service), generally on the agency’s own data, which resided in the commercial data center (“Cloud”-like).

While not quite a perfect match, the analogy is awfully close to the way we are moving today. In those days of early “mass computing, commercial telephone lines were the communications backbone, evolving into dedicated telecomm lines from customer (client) to service provider (“server”).

There are lessons to be learned from those days. The same issues confronting us today were around then. There was a different spin on them, but it would certainly be worth a look to the past to see where there are lessons to be learned:
Service levels
Data transparency

Do you have any recollections that are relevant to our new Cloud World?