Whether you understand Cloud frameworks, operating models, taxonomies and deployment options, or not, you are already in the cloud. Cloud computing offers unparalleled business benefits, but only to the extent that it fits in an overall sourcing strategy, meets business needs, and safeguards your investments and data. Successful cloud adoption includes examining the elements of a business case, a careful, staged plan for adoption, and increasing awareness across the variety of players in cloud computing service models. (See How Cloud is Impacting GRC)

Did I do that?

Not entirely sure if you know the extent of your existing cloud footprint?  Don't be embarrassed, it's become almost impossible to tell. Where we once invested substantial time assisting companies to address their web footprint analysis, the inventory today has grown well beyond corporate reputation and branding.  Your business is literally everywhere, and that isn't even clearly in a camp of being good or bad.  It's both.

If you feel concern about your investment and regulatory risks, you're not alone.

Cloud computing, on its own, is a benign concept, identified as having these five attributes:

  • delivers IT capabilities that scale with demand, rather than being defined by a fixed set of assets.
  • is delivered as a well-defined service, instead of as a product that needs system administrators and maintenance.
  • is typically based on the open Internet technology, which increases its interoperability.
  • is priced according to recurring subscriptions or has usage-based charges, rather than having an up-front cost.
  • enables resources to serve multiple needs for multiple consumers, rather than dedicating resources for individual infrastructure, software, or platforms

Definition of Cloud Computing

Choosing a cloud provider or service has a lot of similarity to the familiar challenges in working with any outsource vendor.  Both rely on external staff, involve provider owned assets and carry a high degree of risk over vendor lock-in.

External Staff

  • Same: External staff performs a number of activities, for example, maintenance of hardware and software applications and the development of new software.
  • Similar: the move to outsource or use cloud is often driven by a lack of skilled, internal staff
  • Same: Assets, such as servers, are typically owned by the provider of the service rather than the consumer.
  • Different: Cloud services can cost-effectively address a need for more innovation than the current organization can handle
  • Same: There is a potential for vendor lock-in. Once a contract with the supplier is in place, it becomes difficult to switch providers.
  • Different: Services, configurations, and assets can have a much greater degree of proprietary elements and requirements, or
  • Different: Cloud and virtualization can offer a degree of portability that obsolete hardware or the need for specialized expertise to maintain various flavors of infrastructure literally go away.
  • Both Cloud and Outsourcing are viable solutions to eliminate legacy applications by moving them to an outside provider.  The best solution is always to sunset one-offs and legacy builds in favor of modern, more flexible solutions.
  • Provider-Owned Assets
  • Vendor Lock-in Potential

A company's path to adoption is never a single straight shot.  Typically, the journey looks something like this:

Cloud and Virtualization Steps Along the Journey

The extent of your organization's adoption likely falls somewhere along this grid.  There's a fairly good chance you don't even realize the extent to which you already use cloud services.  Or if you're like the fastest growing companies in the world, you think a lot about your cloud adoption strategies, and here are some of the main reasons why:

Business Value in Virtualization

For a comprehensive list of the top providers in cloud and virtualization technologies, feast your eyes on the outstanding pictorial produced by CloudTimes.  Click this image to view it full-size in its native location.


Images and content on this page are influenced by the Cloud Essentials Foundation and Virtualization Essentials courseware, produced by ITpreneurs and the Cloud Credential Council.  Definitions are established by NIST and CSA. Please visit these sites and notice additional wrappers and pointers to their most recent cloud information.