Article by Stefano Bonmassar

The evolution of IT architectures, how the distribution model is changing

The evolution of the Information Technology during the last 30 years has been at an exponential rate. Praim itself has played the role of protagonist in this evolution, experiencing the first initial step of shifting from physical hardware to Cloud Computing, in which the predominant component is the virtual one.

Years 60’s-80’s were characterized by success of large mainframes, interconnected on proprietary networks to user-side terminals with limited resources. The model, essentially linked to resources provided by the central computer, made it difficult the scalability of the system as increasing request of collaboration had to physically replaced the hardware.

The beginning of the era of the Personal Computer between 80’s and 90’s and following development of World Wide Web led to a radical change in business organizations and turned powerful mainframes into obsolete devices. On one hand, the hardware resources started to duplicate year after year, on the other hand more and more PCs had been connected together enabling companies to manage applications and data in a distributed way. The explosion of this process also highlighted its limitations: maintenance and safety issues made the management of the system too expensive for companies.

The next stage was about the development of a new alternative model, called Server Based Computing, which also included the centralization of new and powerful application servers, with the use of Thin devices connected in network and architecture Citrix or Microsoft Terminal Server. All of these solutions, at that time, still were dependent on a hardware.

The true innovation came with virtualization, introduced by VMware, who developed the concept of independence between hardware and software. From this point begins the period of Server Consolidation, actual still today, with the virtualization of entire data centers, which can, as this point, use both internal and external resources of the company. That was the first form of what later was called the Cloud.

With the development of the Cloud, companies were provided with software solutions and could begin offering products directly through the Internet. This marked a radical change, as it is no longer necessary to purchase software and install it one’s own PC or server, but it is enough to pay a fee in order to use it. This model, adopted first in the customer market, constantly increases in the business market, is the model defined as “as a service”. The global investments in aaS solutions reports around 20% of grow each year and are recognized as elements of technological innovation, essential for business market.

The Cloud is a part of evolution which started over 30 years ago and constantly represents the base of all services we use everyday, both in private and public companies; it needs to be understood, in order to take advantage if it. However the Cloud introduces important changes in selling and delivering models, ICT professionals… that deserve further in-depth analysis

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