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Posted by James Maynard – January 03, 2013 browse all

Cloud Storage – the First 50 Years

Cloud storage can be a nebulous as its namesake. But, like the natural phenomenon, what it holds onto can also be released in a torrent or a sprinkle. What cloud storage means, practically, is the ability to upload your files (often including automated backups) to computer storage devices off your network. Then, you can access these these files from anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection and a device capable of reading the data. Cloud storage is especially useful for photographers, both professional and amateur, who wish to keep their photos safe, regardless of what might happen at their home or work site.

The safety and reliability of cloud storage is accomplished through the redundancy of computer networks and maintaining your data in a professionally-run, climate-controlled environment. The best cloud storage companies like Mosaic Archive take great care to make sure that your data is safe and accessible at all times.

Access to photographs or other data you may have saved through cloud storage is usually achieved though a web browser or web-enabled smart phone.

Cloud storage is generally believed to have first been developed by Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider in the late 1960′s. Licklider, also known as J.C.R., is considered by many computer historians to be one of the biggest names in the history of computing. In addition to cloud computing, he was among the first to envision interactive computing, which comprises such applications as spreadsheets and word processing programs.

Amazingly, this internet pioneer even foresaw a version of the World Wide Wide decades before its actual development in 1989. During August of 1962, about the time Marilyn Monroe died and Roger Clemens was born, Licklider circulated a series of memos concerning ARPAnet, the direct predecessor to the internet. In these notes, describing what he called the “Intergalactic Computer Network,” Licklider laid the basis of cloud computing and storage down for the first time in history.

Almost concurrently with Licklider, John McCarthy, another early pioneer of the computer industry, first developed the idea that a public network could be delivered to homes and businesses as a utility like electricity or water. This idea was essential to the widespread usage of the internet that is essential to cloud storage.

Throughout the 1990′s, the cost of hardware and architecture began to make cloud storage more affordable, which brought the practice into use with the general public. It was just 15 years ago, during a Dallas meeting in 1997, that the term cloud computing was first coined, by Emory University Information Systems professor Ramnath Chellappa. He stated during this meeting that the goal of cloud computing would be a “computing paradigm where the boundaries of computing will be determined by economic rationale rather than technical limits alone.”

Cloud storage is one of the most vital aspects of cloud computing, and after 50 years of development, cloud storage is now widespread, and becoming more popular with each passing year.

There are several advantages to using cloud storage to save your data, including photographs. Although your data can be stored in many areas at once, the system as a whole acts as one, seamlessly providing you access to your images and other files from anywhere that you can surf the cloud. You don’t have to worry about drives breaking down or flash drives becoming lost. The task of maintaining your precious files is now the responsibility of the company performing the cloud storage, saving you time that you can spend on your business or hobby.

There are some concerns about the safety of sensitive information that may be stored in the cloud, since increasing the number of places that your data resides increases the number of places that your data can be hacked. This is known as the “Attack Cross Section.” New technology known as cloud storage gateways will soon eliminate the concern of security when using cloud storage, as well as lower its cost significantly. There is also a chance of losing data as companies go bankrupt, are bought by other companies or change their business model or products.

Cloud storage is usually discussed in conjunction with traditional desktop software like Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture, iTunes, etc. Many new companies are “born in the cloud” as a “Software-as-a-Service”. There is no need to backup these programs to the cloud, because they are already in the cloud. Salesforce.com is the best known example of this. (Think of the difference between Spotify and iTunes.)

Although cloud storage, like anything else, is not perfect, it should be a vital part of your backup and recovery plan for your photographs or other important computer documents. Getting to view your pictures and showing them to friends from anywhere with an internet connection is just another benefit to cloud storage.