Envisioning the Cloud
Envisioning the Cloud: The Next Computing Paradigm
A MarketspaceNext Point of View by Jeffrey F. Rayport and Andrew Heyward
Every few years, a revolution changes the way we use computers. Think of huge mainframes in the 1960s, minicomputers in the 1970s, personal computers in the 1980s, and cell phones and smartphones in the last decade. What technologists like to call “the cloud” is the idea of computing on demand. Indeed, the cloud is accessible through any digital device — a laptop, a cell phone, or a smartphone — that can connect to the Internet. In this sense, the cloud is not an island, but a global connector to the world’s information and users. The result is a dramatic advance for users in accessibility, specialization, collaboration, and ubiquitous access to processing power and storage. And by altering the basic economics of access to computing and storage, the cloud has the potential to reshape how the U.S. economy — along with the world’s — is organized and operates.
To realize the enormous potential of the cloud, the role of government must be to clear the way for cloud computing, not to pave it. In this paper, it is argued that there are eight fundamental elements for “enabling” the cloud to realize its full potential. While policy-makers can play a supportive role, the cloud — like the roll-out of the Internet before it — is taking shape on its own, in ways largely governed by market forces. But policy action can safeguard the cloud’s future as the basis for a flourishing new technology sector here in the U.S., and this paper proposes that the cloud is one avenue for the U.S. to re-assert economic and technology leadership on a global stage.
Listen to a segment of Jeffrey Rayport and Andrew Heyward’s presentation at Google DC Talks >>