There has been major market traction this past year in the deployment of cloud services, but the discussion still too often focuses on cloud in the singular. Our experience has shown that companies are not typically adopting a single approach to cloud, but rather are embracing a rich set of approaches that provides them with flexibility and control. While many are building  private clouds; others are building public clouds, many differentiated on industry specific characteristics. Increasingly, we see organizations using a mix of these options, consuming services from multiple cloud providers as well as building their own private cloud capacity.   But, all expect a secure and assured cloud experience.  Regular readers of this blog will recognize this as what we at Cisco we refer to as a world of many clouds. IT leaders must be prepared to build or acquire a portfolio of business application services in the world of many clouds.

Each customer’s journey to cloud is unique. A company looking to build a private cloud may begin by consolidating, virtualizing, and automating their infrastructure. Others may look to select a virtual private cloud or managed cloud services. Organizations planning to offer commercial cloud services will need to take a different approach to cloud. They will need to focus on envisioning a portfolio, building out the required infrastructure, ascertaining an effective marketing and sales approach for their services and then quickly iterating their approach based on what they learn in market. All of these cloud models require a sound IT infrastructure. The key to unlocking the full potential of cloud computing is abstracted, open, and programmable infrastructure. Cloud is not only changing the way the business thinks about IT, but the way IT must think about its design.

If you would like to learn more about why long-term cloud value lies in the data center foundation and how to architect today’s and tomorrow’s clouds,  please join our panel discussion on the role of infrastructure in cloud computing. This webcast with Cisco’s Jim McHugh and Forrester’s James Staten will take place on December 6 at 9:00 am PST. More details can be found at this site: www.cisco.com/go/ucscloud.