The more things change, the more they stay the same


April 11, 2017 by Kenneth Fisher

T-SQL TuesdayKoen Verbeeck (b/t) is hosting T-SQL Tuesday this month and our topic is The times they are a-changing. In other words How does the cloud impact you and your job?

Well, to discuss how I feel about the cloud I have to go back a bit. When I first started programming, way back in the dark ages (the 80’s), we used terminals to log into a mainframe and did our work there. We paid for any computation time and the storage for our files. Now I was in college at the time, so I paid using the credits I was given but the principal still applies.

We were also starting to see personal computers getting powerful enough to be useful and becoming more and more prevalent. Over the next few decades, those personal computers became powerful enough to handle most tasks and we switched gears. We learned to program on individual PCs, use them for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. Some of the more powerful of those machines became servers and we learned to use them to do the harder work. Highly intelligent programs were written to store and manipulate data. We started taking backups so we didn’t lose the data, indexing, and arranging it so we could access and update it quickly. And so on and so on.

Unfortunately as powerful as these machines became they were expensive, aged out quickly, required knowledgeable people to maintain and sometimes our tasks required more computing power than we had on hand. So some smart people got together and created something new. The Cloud. Someone else maintaining the computers, replacing parts as needed, updating software etc. And then renting out storage and computing power. (If at this point you guessed that I’m saying there are some fairly obvious parallels between the old mainframes and the cloud, well, you are correct.)

So how is the cloud affecting me? In a very similar way to how PCs affected me. I’m learning a new environment, new tools, etc. And guess what? In 10-20 years when the next great thing comes out, I’ll learn some new tools, and a new environment and move on.

Oh, and in case you are interested my company has a bunch of people today who use mainframes and work with programs that someone from the 80’s would recognize. I don’t see anything in use today going away anytime soon.

2 thoughts on “The more things change, the more they stay the same

  1. Bernie Basel says:

    I know from personal experience some of those mainframe programs were written well before the ’80s 🙂 I have not thought it but cloud computing does resemble the experience programmers from had before the PC revolution. Coming from an operations and systems background I was always on of the ones ‘behind the curtain’, For many years I saw programmers drop off their work at the ‘window’. Knowing little of what actually went on behind the glass. Or really caring as long as their work was done.

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