Cloud computing has been a high-profile topic among technology professionals for the past two years. Publications covering cloud computing have emphasized the public cloud offerings by companies like Google, Salesforce and Rackspace as an easy and cost-effective way to obtain application functionality.

However, cloud computing has much deeper implications for CIOs and their organizations. It bridges the gap between the need for more flexibility from users—location independence, ubiquitous access and efficient utilization of computing resources—and CFOs’ need for fewer capital expenditures spent on IT to allow for more investments elsewhere in the company. By becoming a cloud services provider to their internal customers via a private cloud, IT organizations can provide better service at reduced cost and position their enterprises to be more agile and resilient organizations.

The transition to a private cloud impacts everything from the hardware, software and storage in the computer centers to the skills, roles and responsibilities of IT personnel, as well as the governance processes by which the enterprise manages itself. This paper provides a clear path through the transformation, using insights drawn from real-world experience. The simple but profound framework of “simplify, rationalize, optimize” provides both the broad perspective and the crucial first steps needed to achieve the benefits of the cloud inside the enterprise firewall.

The framework presented in this paper can enable IT organizations to set the direction and pace for the transformation to cloud computing, reach organizational maturity and achieve the most that the cloud model—public and private—has to offer.

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22 March 2011