The Cloud Revolution – 50 Years in the Making, with No Signs of Slowing

November 19th, 2019executiveconversations


The year 2019 has been a momentous one for 50-year anniversaries. Woodstock, for example, occurred in 1969, when half a million people congregated at a dairy farm in rural New York and celebrated peace, music and love.

For those of us from New York, 1969 was also the year the “Miracle Mets” came out of left field to win the World Series. The team had never before had a winning season, let alone contended for a championship. (And they have only won one World Series since.)

And of course, 1969 was the year when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon via the Apollo 11 mission. This original “moonshot” served as inspiration for the National Cybersecurity Moonshot, which government, industry and academic leaders will discuss this week at a first-of-its-kind event. The National Cybersecurity Moonshot Workshop will focus on developing an execution plan for one of the initiative’s six foundational “pillars” – the trusted Ecosystem of supply chain providers needed to deliver the next generation of critical services to America.

A lesser-known event occurred 50 years ago, and it ultimately led to the cloud revolution.

In 1969, the U.S. government established the Advanced Research Project Administration. Known as ARPANET, it was an academic network for scientific users, and an early predecessor to the internet. That created the foundation for supercomputing centers, the commercial internet and Salesforce.com, which pioneered the cloud with its launch 30 years after the rise of ARPANET.

Shortly after Salesforce demonstrated the power of the cloud-based software-as-a-service model (SaaS), Amazon created another cloud category. Amazon Web Services (AWS) led to the rise of cloud computing. As AWS and the cloud grew, and industry analysts began to take notice, new cloud players and offers emerged. Google came out with the Google App Engine in 2008 and Google Compute Engine in 2013. Microsoft Azure debuted in 2010.

Cloud adoption has since ramped up quickly. Gartner projects the worldwide public cloud services market will grow 17.5% this year to reach $214.3 billion. The firm adds that through 2022, the market size and growth of the cloud services industry will be nearly three times that of overall IT services. Meanwhile, IDC estimates public cloud spending will reach $229 billion this year. It expects the space to experience a 22.3% compound annual growth rate in the coming years, leading to nearly $500 billion in public cloud spending in 2023. IDG research indicates the cloud now accounts for 30% of total IT budgets.

Introducing the first-ever Unisys Cloud Success Barometer™

Unisys is widely known for its original research on topics critical to its clients as well as to their customers, with the Unisys Security Index™ the prime example. Last week, we unveiled the inaugural Unisys Cloud Success Barometer™.

Through our research, we talked to 1,000 senior IT and business leaders in 13 countries in an effort to uncover what it takes to drive organizational improvement via the cloud. Nearly all organizations (93%) told us they were in transition to the cloud for their critical IT applications and computing systems. Yet a third of organizations we surveyed said they have seen either no or only slight improvement to their effectiveness due to cloud adoption.

The Unisys Cloud Success Barometer revealed that cloud-done-right efforts involve companies making cloud core to their business strategies. Organizations that did, we found, were more than twice as likely to see great or moderate improvements to their businesses as those for which cloud did not play a core role.

The domain expertise that comes from insights such as these is why organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have selected Unisys to provide CloudForte® – our managed-service offering for secure digital transformation and multi-cloud operations – to support its secure transition to the cloud. This effort will in turn support NOAA’s overall mission, which entails providing climate monitoring, coastal restoration and marine commerce support, daily weather forecasts, fisheries management and severe storm warnings. That’s a very important mission – these activities impact more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product – and we are honored to contribute to it.

We can only speculate about how a technology just being invented now will affect us in 50 years. If it generates the efficiencies the cloud has shown to produce, it will likely be considered another revolution – though given the increasing speed of technology innovation, hardly a miracle. Those are reserved for the Mets.


Tags-   Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud CloudForte Google App Engine Google Compute Engine Microsoft Azure National Cybersecurity Moonshot Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Unisys Cloud Success Barometer™


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Altabef

Peter A. Altabef has served as chairman of the board of Unisys Corporation since April 2018, and as president and CEO of Unisys since January 2015. Prior to joining Unisys, Peter served as president and CEO of MICROS Systems, Inc, as president and CEO of Perot Systems Corporation, and as president of Dell Services, the information technology services and business process solutions unit of Dell.