Click here to close now.


Government Cloud Authors: Kevin Benedict, Kevin Jackson, Derek Weeks, John Basso, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, Government Cloud

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Fathers of Clouds – A Tribute

For more than half a century, 'cloud computing' has changed names more often than a Hollywood starlet

By Ray Holloman, NJVC - For more than half a century, cloud computing has changed names more often than a Hollywood starlet.

Utility computing. Time share. Thin client. SaaS. PaaS. IaaS. While concepts have been added and capabilities grown, cloud computing was no more invented by Amazon or other modern vendors in the last seven years reality invented by reality shows. It's simply been advance, repackaged and repurposed for as long as computer connectivity has existed.

In honor of Father's Day, NJVC looks up the family tree of cloud computing to say thank you to six of the fathers of cloud computing.  (And if you're wondering about a gift, a single tie will suffice. Certainly, these guys understand how to share.)

Dr. John McCarthy-
In the manner that genius tends to be promiscuous in emerging fields, McCarthy is often given credit as the father or influencer of many things, including Artificial Intelligence, e-commerce and time-share computing-what may be considered the earliest implementation of cloud computing. In 1961, McCarthy famously described the future of networked computing as a utility. "Computing may someday be organized as a public utility, just as the telephone system is a public utility. Each subscriber needs to pay only for the capacity he actually uses, but he has access to all programming languages characteristic of a very large system. ... Certain subscribers might offer service to other subscribers. ... The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry." McCarthy's vision of the computing network to come was mainframe-based in a way that somewhat missed the bull's eye, but hit the right target, regardless of the technology's name. "We keep inventing new names for timesharing," McCarthy's Stanford colleague Les Earnest told the Los Angeles Times when McCarthy died in 2011. ( "It came to be called servers. ... Now we call it cloud computing. That is still just time-sharing. John started it." For those born in the Internet era, McCarthy's familiar wobbly bonnet of gray hear and thick, black horn-rimmed glasses marked him as someone of another time, and he was-though he may have been a man of the future rather than the past. McCarthy's concept of the rise of cloud computing wasn't perfect-he shortchanged the value of the personal computer-but his implementation of timesharing set a course for cloud computing, which is only just being realized. 

J. C. R. Licklider.jpgJ.C.R. Licklider-In the late 1950s and early 1960s, even technical lexicon came adorned with the influence of Buck Rogers and the space race. Thus Licklider's 1962 declaration of a vision that would become the Internet bore the unmistakably audacious and space age sobriquet "Intergalactic Computer Network." If Licklider spoke on a vast scale, he thought on even broader one, constrained by the bandwidth of the times, not the bandwidth of mind. His Intergalactic Computer Network concept spurred the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, a direct ancestor of the modern Internet and the globally connected world. But "Lick," as he was commonly known, understood the possibilities of cloud computing in a manner more liberating than more utilitarian vision of McCarthy's early predictions. Licklider saw the possibility of global computing as an element of the human lifescape-a tool of personal connectivity, not merely an agent of business.

Kemeny John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz-In pseudo code the duo who created BASIC might appreciate,  "10: IF {Cloud Pioneer} Then GOTO 20    20: PRINT "THANK YOU." Dartmouth Professors Kemeny and Kurtz designed the BASIC programming language to allow students to write programs on the Dartmouth Time Sharing System (DTSS), the first successful, large-scale implementation of time-sharing, in 1964. While the technology was then still called timesharing, the underlying concepts, remote access and shared resources, have the same genetic markers of what is now cloud computing. Kemeny and Kurtz's introduction of BASIC also underscored another key concept of modern cloud computing-ease of use. By the 1970s, the DTSS supported more than 300 users-and 300 pairs of bellbottoms-simultaneously. The system lasted 35 years, before being deprecated in 1999, and proved the feasibility of the earliest cloud.


Marc Benioff-If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the familiar image of Benioff seated beneath a poster of the word software crossed out, must somehow be a collage. In it is an entire biography of how Benioff pioneered software as a service (SaaS) and then wrote the book on modern cloud computing (Literally. You can buy it here  Benioff, a vice president at Oracle by the boyish age of 26, founded in 1999, delivering customer relationship management software over the Internet in a time when the screeching of dialup modems still sound tracked most Web usage. Benioff's mission, "The End of Software," is as brash as it has been predictive in an era that has seen the rise of Google Apps, Amazon Web Services and an entire SaaS industry. remains the single most popular CRM tool; Benioff the single-most visible face of SaaS.

Vivek-kundra-2.jpgVivek Kundra-In the process-driven bureaucracy of federal IT, implementing organizational change can be a little like steering a battleship with a pair of wooden oars. But Kundra, the nation's first federal CIO, managed to leave an enterprise-level legacy during his two-and-a-half-year tenure, highlighted most pointedly by the acceptance of cloud in the federal IT vocabulary. Kundra's "25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT," remains a core vision statement in federal IT; his cloud-first mandate one of era-markers in government infrastructure. Perhaps his greatest contribution, though, was simply consensus building, gaining acceptance for cloud computing among federal leadership through something of a charisma crusade. "The force of his personality [led] to the rapid adoption of cloud computing as a major driver of reform," NJVC Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Services, Kevin L. Jackson wrote in 2011. While the returns on Kundra's initiatives remain uncertain, the first chapter of the book of federal cloud will be littered with references to his work.

Reuven CohenReuven Cohen-Middle ground seems to be a blank spot on the map of Reuven Cohen when it comes to the importance of cloud to IT. "You must adapt or die," the self-titled "digital provocateur" (Read his Forbes blog of the same name here:") declared bluntly in a 2012 blog post, regarding the current cloud transformation in IT and willingness of IT to adapt in general. But Cohen, cloud's aggressively articulate hype man and one-man-IT/PR firm, is a doer, not just an advocate. In 2004, Cohen founded Enomaly, an early infrastructure-as-a-service offering, later purchased by Virtustream in 2012, where Cohen currently serves as an executive vice president. Perhaps most importantly, Cohen's techno-proselytizing, has helped cloud gain acceptance in and out of the IT community.

( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2012)

More Stories By Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson, founder of the GovCloud Network, is an independent technology and business consultant specializing in mission critical solutions. He has served in various senior management positions including VP & GM Cloud Services NJVC, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and VP Program Management Office at JP Morgan Chase. His formal education includes MSEE (Computer Engineering), MA National Security & Strategic Studies and a BS Aerospace Engineering. Jackson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 and retired from the US Navy earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Airborne Logistics and Airborne Command and Control. He also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide. Kevin is the founder and author of “Cloud Musings”, a widely followed blog that focuses on the use of cloud computing by the Federal government. He is also the editor and founder of “Government Cloud Computing” electronic magazine, published at To set up an appointment CLICK HERE

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. Because they can be accessed via the Internet, these devices create a tremendous opportunity to inte...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...