The Cloud and the Industrial Revolution

The Cloud and the Industrial Revolution: Commoditization and Innovation

Recently, I was featured in AllThingsD, discussing the opportunities and innovations still to come from cloud computing, likening the state of the cloud industry to the Industrial Revolution. Similar to how the Industrial Revolution completely changed the entire world’s economy, so, too, will the cloud.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing and the production of goods was comparatively inefficient and disorganized. The advent of steam power through coal and then oil-powered energy dramatically changed things. How? Well, both coal and oil are far denser stores of energy than wood and other energy sources used previously (like water and wind for milling grain). It made manufacturing a lot more efficient, allowing the transport of energy across vast distances in a concentrated form. We could then store it and use it to run mechanized production.


Similarly, we can think of the Internet as a very efficient mechanism for transferring and connecting data. It has therefore transformed the efficiency with which society uses and moves data, producing clearly-evident results. As an extension of that, public cloud computing both raises the efficiency of the hardware (from around 20-30 percent in a typical enterprise to 70-80 percent in the cloud). And effectively, this makes computing much less location-dependent. It, therefore, liberates computing as a resource and doubles the efficiency of that resource. Following this, it’s not hard to predict that it will have a profound effect on computing and technology in general.

We mustn’t forget that computing as a resource drives the world economy and our societies more profoundly today than oil. Significantly, the fastest growing and greatest value-creating areas of modern economies rely heavily on computing power. These are industries such as genetics, pharmaceuticals, technology services and also big science. With this massive increase in accessibility to much-needed computing resources, plus an acceleration of falling prices, one can only imagine the ripple effect this will have on innovation and development.


Already, this model has assisted an entirely new generation of startups as well as internationally-recognized institutions like ESA, EMBL, and CERN, in solving some of the world’s most challenging problems. Since moving to CloudSigma’s public cloud, they have been able to choose the compute resources conducive to their research needs. Thereby allowing them to cost-effectively enhance critical discoveries around climate prediction, genetics analysis, and high-energy physics. Additionally, organizations on smaller budgets can spin up large scale infrastructure to test hypotheses and make new discoveries.

As a result, entire industries are innovating faster, which will directly impact every facet of our lives. In this aspect, this technology is similar to that of the Industrial Revolution. If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, I invite you to read my full article in AllThingsD: Cloud: The Next Industrial Revolution, the link is here


About Robert Jenkin

Robert is a Co-Founder and CEO of CloudSigma along with his long-time friend Patrick Baillie. Robert & Patrick had a vision for a different style of cloud focused around customer requirements not computing frameworks created by the service provider; an open environment where end-users could define their infrastructure in a highly flexible way with little or no restrictions, just like they were used to doing in their own private environments. Their shared vision was the genesis of CloudSigma in 2009 in Zürich, Switzerland and as with many great things, it began life sketched out on a napkin! Robert previously has experience in early stage venture capital and corporate finance in the City of London. Robert is a graduate in Economics from Cambridge University.