By John | December 31, 2008
Chris Sears, one of Atlanta’s finer cloud enthusiasts has earned some battle scars on the forums discussing the topic of “Cloud Computing”. I remember him once telling me that he had done some research on the original sighting of the phrase “Cloud Computing”. So this afternoon when I posted a tweet asking the titled question he sent the following response:
As for the origin of the term “cloud computing”, there are a few possibilities…
- In May 1997, NetCentric tried to trademark the “cloud computing” but later abandoned it in April 1999. Patent serial number 75291765.
- In April 2001, the New York Times ran an article by John Markoff about Dave Winer’s negative reaction to Microsoft’s then new .Net services platform called Hailstorm (if you want a laugh sometime, ask a Microsoft Azure person about Hailstorm). It used the phrase “‘cloud’ of computers”. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/09/technology/09HAIL.html?ex=1230872400&en=5d156fc75d409335&ei=5070
- But my personal pick is in August 2006, where Eric Schmidt of Google described there approach to SaaS as cloud computing at a search engine conference. I think this was the first high profile usage of the term, where not just “cloud” but “cloud computing” was used to refer to SaaS and since it was in the context Google, the term picked up the PaaS/IaaS connotations associated with the Google way of managing data centers and infrastructure. http://www.google.com/press/podium/ses2006.html
Much like “Web 2.0″, cloud computing was a collection of related concepts that people recognized, but didn’t really have a good descriptor for, a definition in search of a term, you could say. When Schmidt Google used it in 2006 to describe their own stuff and then Amazon included the word “cloud” in EC2 when it was launched a few weeks later (August 24), the term became mainstream. People couldn’t definite it exactly, but they roughly knew it meant SaaS apps and infrastructure like Google was doing and S3/EC2 services like Amazon was offering.