If there something the tech industry can agree on, it’s that cloud computing has the potential to deliver efficiencies and flexibility we’ve never seen. I’m a big believer, and incredibly supportive of EMC’s efforts. Largely lost in the love-fest is the stubborn fact that there is no single cloud strategy to consider for your organization, instead think of different layers of the cloud. I suggest four:

Infrastructure – this is right above the hardware. VMware’s vSphere is the best example as well as Amazon Web Services. As with vSphere, its essentially a cloud operating system, with availability, security and performance assurances provided for running applications.

Services – offerings such as EMC Atmos and Amazon S3 are about so much more than just raw capacity. This is a true services layer, with replication, tiering and policy-setting that provides for information storage and distribution.

Environments – here, the whole stack is “cloud-ified,” into a development stack like Windows Azure and Force.com. I’m seeing lots of movement here, as very large customers are allowing their developers to explore and write on these solutions for business-critical applications. This is a valid option for companies.

Applications – as with Microsoft Office Online and Google Apps, the application is the cloud and you dynamically provision. There is clearly interest and significant movement here.

So, what’s the point? Hopefully you’re seeing each layer as very separate, with differing capabilities and potential value. Before launching your “cloud strategy,” think about what you’re trying to get done because most of the answers are out there. Next, I’ll offer some opinions of how the CMA division fits in these cloud layers.



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