In Cloud Computing, What Goes Around Comes Around

Dennis Byron

File this under "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." Or as I prefer, "What goes around, comes around."


Bill Snyder of Infoworld called me on July 29 in the process of writing his post about the Yahoo/HP/Intel agreement on cloud computing. He had previously interviewed me for a feature article he did on cloud computing in general. I agree with his general take that the recent announcement is a matter of HP/Intel/Yahoo catching up with IBM in cloud computing.


But when he told me about the Singapore connection to the Intel/Yahoo/HP deal (it seems to be required to alternate the order of vendors' names in describing the Yahoo/HP/Intel agreement), I had a senior-moment flashback. It turns out it was possibly a faulty remembrance but instructive just the same. I remembered a big cloud-computing-related telecommunications deal that Data General (DG) had been involved in with Singapore and Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) back in the late 1980s. As Bill says:

"Also noteworthy is the participation of the Singapore development authority. The city-state has a history of interest in innovative IT projects, says analyst Dennis Byron of IT Investment Research."

Actually, I can only find on the Internet that Singapore built a big cloud of data communications connectivity around that time and that DG and NTT were going to build software switches that enabled clouds around the same time (but the DG-NTT deal didn't pan out). I can't find that the two were in any way connected. (Please e-mail if you can remember a connection between the two events or any connection between DG and Singapore. Do not e-mail if you know I am wrong; I don't want to ruin my upcoming vacation.)


But the point that Singapore has been out front on such things is still relevant.


Now the instructive part is that the Googling I was doing on the subject led me to a long-forgotten DG name, Colin Crook, who had been senior VP of the communications division at DG that was doing the work with NTT (and something with Singapore, unless my memory has gone). Before DG, he had held senior positions at Rand and Moto, and subsequent to DG he was CTO at Citicorp and taught (or did whatever fellows do) at Wharton.


I then started reading some interviews Colin gave and articles he co-authored during the Citi/Wharton period. We're talking some real ahead-of-the-curve thinking in e-commerce, financial services, social computing, and -- although no one called it that -- cloud computing. (Unfortunately, Bill Snyder, I didn't find that he ever mentioned Singapore, but I am still looking.)


Also, in general, if you want to understand what computing will be like from 2010 to 2019, go back and see what people like Colin Crook were saying between 1995 and 2005.

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