Technical and Product News and Insights from Rackspace
Flight to the cloud
Today, with the help of digitalization and modern technologies, the world is going through a kind of transformation that humankind has never seen before. We are already talking about creating colonies on Mars and other parts of the solar system.
AI and ML: The new electricity
Here on Earth, we’re building a whole new form of life by using genetic engineering. Robots are getting smarter and smarter and holding press conferences. The field of artificial intelligence (AI) and neuroscience is exploding and introducing new wonders every day. Machine learning (ML), deep learning, and robotics are changing how we humans think of our intelligence, emotional attachments, and our relationship with machines. The growth of technological advancement seems unstoppable and unbreakable.
The field of predictive analysis and data science is taking over superstitions and predicting the future with surprising accuracy. Even our movies, web series, and TV sitcoms are commenting on these topics.
You might say AI is the new electricity, but consider the implications. As the creation of electricity depended on coal and oil at the beginning of the 20th century, current AI and ML developments depend on data. The cloud plays a significant role in the future of AI and ML because so much data lives in the cloud.
The dawn of the computer age
It all started with the invention of the computer, and since then, the IT infrastructure has increased drastically. We’ve moved from big, room-sized computers to handy laptops and upgraded data storage from giant 45 MB storage boxes to small flash drives. However, the amount of data and the computing resources required to process it has resulted in large data centers and IT infrastructure.
This post starts by describing the traditional data center components and then expands to the advantages of the cloud.
The history of traditional storage
Let’s start with the traditional approach to handling and storing data. In the past, corporations spent millions on real estate assets and billions on the IT infrastructure inside them. Traditional storage includes the following components:
The Selectron tube: Originally developed in 1946 with a capacity of 256 to 4096 bits (32 to 512 bytes), the 4096-bit Selectron was ten inches long and three inches wide.
Punch cards: Until the mid-1970s, computers used punch cards. Fun fact: the use of punch cards predates computers. The textile industry used them to control mechanized textile looms as early as 1725.
Magnetic drum memory: Invented in 1932 and popular in mid-20th century computers, magnetic drum memory came with over 10 KB capacity.
Floppy disks: IBM introduced flexible disks in the late 20th century, and their capacity grew over the years from 80 KB to 2.5 MB.
Magnetic tape: Introduced in 1951, magnetic tapes were heavy, made of metal, and 1200 feet long.
Hard disk drive (HDD): The brownie points for the first hard disk drive goes to IBM. In 1956, IBM launched the first supercomputer with a hard disk drive. It was the size of a refrigerator and weighed about 1000KGs. Hard drives have evolved, and we now have 6 to 8 TB HDDs with a compact design (3.5 inches long and weighing 500 grams).
Solid-state drives (SSD): These transistor-based memory devices are the storage devices of the 21st century. They come with an average capacity of 8 to 10 TB and have excellent read and write speeds. Companies like Hitachi®, Western Digital®, and SanDisk® are making dramatic improvements in flash drives.
We are moving forward with innovations in the field of storage every day, but what’s next?
The cloud offers a whole new set of opportunities, a new platform for dreamers to dream big, a revolution, and an event that happens once in centuries. The idea of the cloud, introduced in 2003 and again in 2006, opened a billion paths in the world of modernization, digitalization, and globalization. Many of the smart devices we see around us aren’t possible without the cloud, and AI is fuelling the growth. In 2006, Amazon launched the first cloud with two major services, S3 and EC2. The services, with a billion updates, are still part of the AWS and are the biggest revenue generators for Amazon Web Services® (AWS). Since then, multiple companies have invested in the cloud. Today, everyone wants to move to the cloud, from new startups to multibillion-dollar companies.
The value of businesses thriving in the cloud is growing from $200 billion to a projected level of $1,250 billion by 2025. Services, such as AWS Lambda® and Google® Cloud Function, take care of the tedious jobs of provisioning, scaling, high availability, and disaster recovery (DR). Customers just need to put innovation and creativity into the applications and services they host.
The cloud has the following benefits:
Flexibility: Undoubtedly, the cloud is flexible with options like on-demand and pay-as-you-go. For example, before the advent of the cloud, expansion to a different continent was a huge expense because of IT needs. Today, it is just a click away. We can change the region and start working in another region instantly.
Availability: Cloud providers are available in multiple locations worldwide, but some businesses don’t have the budget for a cross-continent DR solution. With the help of the cloud, even a small-scale organization can plan for global DR solutions.
Consistency: The cloud consistently offers reliability and readily available data. Overall, the cloud is more consistent than traditional data centers.
At the beginning of the 19th century, electricity came to the world and entirely changed how we think and operate. Today, electricity is everywhere and almost as necessary as water and air. AI and ML, the new electricity, are nearly as prevalent. You can hardly use AI to handle big data sets and process data to make quick decisions without the infrastructure provided by the cloud. The flight to the cloud is well underway. Who knows where we’ll end up? Next stop, the southern hemisphere of Mars cloud region.
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