Rain falling from clouds

30 years of accumulation: A timeline of cloud computing

Developments in bandwidth, processing and open-source networking over three decades have made cloud as ordinary as the weather.

The first Ethernet adapter card for the IBM PC released, introducing fast, inexpensive connections that would enable cloud computing.

Software Tool & Die founded, first public dialup Internet Service Provider and "still proud to be the best."

In a $500 million deal, FAA undertakes wholesale IT outsourcing to Electronic Data Systems Corp. under the Computer Resources Nucleus program.

Navy launches IT-2 to build secure, global network to deliver fast Ethernet to 270,000 users worldwide, with browsers, continuous TCP/IP connections.

The term "cloud computing" is coined by University of Texas professor Ramnath Chellappa in a talk on a "new computing paradigm."

VMware founded, introduces software providing completely virtualized set of hardware to a guest operating system.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center upgrades to 100 megabits/sec Asynchronous Transfer Mode network to accommodate virtual LANs, a stepping stone to the cloud-enabled office.

Salesforce.com founded in San Francisco apartment.

Defense Department shifts communications networks from ATM to a 1-gigabit/sec Ethernet backbone.

Government agencies begin developing computer "grids," an open-source networking technology that lets users share resources in a manner not subject to central control.

Interior Department becomes one of several agencies to experiment with adopting the application service provider model for delivering applications to workforce.

Agriculture Department links XML soil survey data with GIS, an early example of using software as a service to link devices across the Internet.

State Department launches pilot to switch out PCs for thin clients at overseas posts and domestic offices.

EPA announces project to use grid computing for air quality monitoring, a sign that government acceptance of collaborative networks is widening.

Intel releases Pentium 4 models, first Intel processors to support virtualization on the x86 platform.

AMD releases Athlon 64 processors, the first to support virtualization.

Amazon launches Elastic Compute Cloud, an infrastructure-as-a-service that lets organizations contract for computers to run their applications.

File hosting and synchronization service Dropbox Inc., founded by MIT student, making cloud storage a commodity.

Apptis Inc. and ServerVault Corp. announce secure, managed, federally compliant cloud infrastructure.

OMB issues "cloud first" mandate, requiring agencies to identify three services to move to the cloud and retire associated legacy systems.

GSA announces it will use cloud computing as primary means for hosting the government’s official information portal, USA.gov.

SAP offers agencies Enterprise Resource Planning via the Terremark cloud, enterprise-level software-as a-service.

GSA moves 17,000 e-mail users to Google Apps for Government

DARPA seeks mission-resilient cloud to ensure military can withstand attack against pieces of the network.

Energy Department sets up YourCloud to broker secure cloud services for agency and national labs.

Salesforce.com unveils Government Cloud and AppExchange, multitenant services designed for the public sector.

CIA inks $600 million deal with Amazon Web Services to build a private cloud, bolstering confidence in security of the cloud.

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.


  • 2020 Government Innovation Awards
    Government Innovation Awards - https://governmentinnovationawards.com

    21 Public Sector Innovation award winners

    These projects at the federal, state and local levels show just how transformative government IT can be.

  • Federal 100 Awards
    cheering federal workers

    Nominations for the 2021 Fed 100 are now being accepted

    The deadline for submissions is Dec. 31.

Stay Connected