In discussions on cloud computing, I often talk to architects who have been told to create a "cloud strategy." This sounds appropriate enough, but there’s a devil in the details: When the task is "create a Technology X strategy," people often center strategy on the technology. With cloud, they aim to get a good definition of pure cloud and then find places where it makes sense to use it. The result is a technology strategy silo where cloud is placed at the center and usage scenarios are arranged around it. The problem with this is three-fold:

  1. Considering the full business dynamics of any given usage scenario, there is a wide continuum of often strongly competing alternatives to pure cloud (including cloud-like and traditional options).
  2. The rapid pace of market development means that business value equations along this continuum of options will keep changing.
  3. Your business needs integrated strategy for many technologies, not simply a siloed cloud strategy.

The point of a strategy is to enable good decisions over the long term. With cloud, one’s evolving decision framework should put the business decisions to be made at the center, arranging options — pure cloud, cloud-like, virtualized, traditional — around the business decision. This is what a good architecture strategy does, and the best way to develop a strong approach to cloud is to integrate cloud as an option into broader strategies. Consider infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) as an option within your overall infrastructure strategy. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) might factor into your application platform and development strategy. Your business solution road map might have a place for software-as-a-service (SaaS). Building cloud into these other strategies: 1) establishes a good foundation for making strong business decisions; 2) offers protection against getting caught up in cloud hype; and 3) provides a stronger basis for evolving toward pure cloud through stages like server virtualization, internal cloud, and hosted cloud.

To read more, go to a longer post at or to this Forrester report.

What are you doing to protect your organization from cloud hype?