Cloud Computing = Mainframe Time Share?


The latest trend in application delivery is  bit like back to the future – once upon a time, companies that wanted computer processing power used time share or bureau services to access part of a mainframe’s processing power unless they could afford the millions of dollars in capital investment required to buy their own mainframe.    As mini computers became available, more and more organisations could afford their own processing plant on-premise.  Hence the rise of Digital, AS/400, Sequent, Pyramid, Sun….  Then the rise of PCs meant that processing could be split between the client side and the server and further decentralised.

All the talk about cloud computing, software as a service, computing as a utility, on demand all harks back to the timeshare model – you access the processing power that you need on a time-share, pay as you go scalable model.  Except now, it’s not a mainframe at the back end, but data centres full of servers that have been virtualised (another mainframe concept!) to provide these services.

As the quotable Larry Ellison said late last year:  “The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion.”

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5 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    This is a test cross reference to the other blog.

  2. Malcolm Yates says:

    Hi Steve. I was looking for references to the old IBM Bureau based businesses and found you.

    As I started as a mainframe operator, I’ve seen all this too : but sometimes it’s really difficult to tell the generation that grew up on PCs that a mainframe / virtual system is the most flexible business solution to many business problems.

    Anyway – nice post.

  3. Cindy says:

    You’re the grsteaet! JMHO

  4. am fam fit says:

    Hi, this is Agnes Hsu. I just want to write to thank you for your nice comment and posting the course on your website. I actually have published about the origins of Chinese chess and would love to share the information with you. Please feel free to email me at

  5. thanks for the feedback. And thanks for sharing that wonderful unexpected new start! Have fun with it@ Robyn, thank you so much. Your words so often inspire me to keep breathing out fire@ Eric – brilliant stuff. It’s so interesting to hear what you’re all doing.@ Paul, thank you. Brave and free. It’s how my spirit wants her words to be.

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