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Cloud Computing Journal | Jonathan Ginter | Dec 8, 2010

The Internet is going through a major transformation, shifting from the “Internet as application” to the “Internet as data provisioning system,” and from fixed to mobile platforms like smart phones and tablets. It’s nothing short of a revolution. Traditional forms of web analytics and web performance monitoring are being rendered obsolete. The concepts of “page load” or “visit” or “visitor” are quickly disappearing. Sites are rapidly becoming service-oriented providers of data to hungry mobile applications and it is already throwing a monkey wrench into management tools, transforming the way that the industry will need to think about user behavior and service levels.

The current over-emphasis on cloud technology has obscured an even larger and more important shift – the shift away from “Internet as application” to “Internet as data provisioning system.”

The tech industry has always suffered from pendulum swings and this is no different. In the ’80s, people used thin-client terminals to access centralized applications hosted on mainframes or mini-frames. In the ’90s, the industry shifted to fat clients in the form of desktop applications that offered a richer and more compelling user experience. This most recent decade saw a swing back to thin clients as browser-based interfaces took over. This allowed applications to move back onto centralized servers for easier maintenance and management. That same desire has driven the current rise in virtualization and clouds, which have allowed for the explosion of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS providers such as Salesforce, Amazon, Rackspace and Terremark.

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