A modern day parable, well-told and deserving of a sequel.
In the beginning there was a website. People saw that it was good and wanted one. The website became so popular that soon hundreds of millions of people had one and it was used for many different things.
The website was kept on a special computer called a server that was shared with other websites. As the website became ever more popular the other websites on the server didn’t like all the attention it was getting so they asked it to go away and use a server of its own.
In time the amazing popularity of the website meant that it would be kept on two or more servers, often a long distance apart so that if one server stopped working the website would still be available elsewhere. This too, in the eyes of the people, was good.
All this while the things you could do with a website became cleverer and cleverer. There came a time where it wasn’t just used to hold information for people to read. It was useful to hold information that other computers would access to help them do their job. This was often important information that was worth lots of money to its owners.
It isn’t only websites that got cleverer. The people that made the computers they kept them on were also very smart and thought up lots of exiting new ways of making their computers bigger faster, cheaper and more reliable. Better all round really.
They spotted that some websites got very popular very very quickly and told their owners that they could have as many servers to run on as they wanted as soon as they liked. They called these computers Virtual Machines and said that many of them together were known as a cloud.
People thought that this too was a good idea especially as you didn’t have to buy any servers – you just rented them in the cloud and paid for what you used. The cloud got bigger and bigger and lots of people got really excited about it. The nature of these things is that experts began to appear and talked knowledgeably about cloudy things and pretty soon everyone decided that they would have to talk about the cloud or they would feel left out.
One day one of these experts was asked by his small son to explain to him what the cloud was all about. His daddy was often late home from work and the boy was interested in finding out about what kept him out when he should have been home reading bedtime stories.
The man was of course pleased to be able to impart some of his wisdom to his son and the two of them sat down on the sofa to talk about it. The daddy explained to the little boy that the people kept their important websites in the cloud. This puzzled the little chap because he could understand how he might play a game on a computer but not on a cloud. “Where was this cloud?” he asked.
“Hmm” said the dad. “It could be in America or Europe or some other place.” He wasn’t quite sure.
At this point the small boy burst into tears. He couldn’t quite see how he would play a game on a computer and not know where the computer was. “What happens when the computer goes wrong and I need to reboot it?” He used his mummy’s computer at home which was old and often had to be switched off and on again to make it work. He had also picked up lots of technical computer words in his short time on the planet.
“Don’t worry my boy” said his caring father. “The clever people in the cloud will fix it for you.”
The little boy padded off happily to switch on his mum’s PC and left his father alone to his thoughts…