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One of the most frequently recurring conversations around cloud computing is about trying to define what cloud actually is. Some will say that cloud is just virtualisation with a few bells and whistles, while others will claim it’s just basic automated infrastructure.


Both of those positions are actually correct, except for the crucial word “just”. Both virtualisation and automation are necessary, but not sufficient, to build a cloud.


The difference between virtualisation and cloud has been explored here before, so I won’t repeat my colleagues’ points. Instead, I wanted to focus on automation, and how putting an intelligent automation strategy is an important step on the path to the cloud.


Many enterprises are debating their move to the cloud. It’s no longer a matter of if, but of how and when. Is it better to try for a big bang approach - “Great news, everybody! From Monday, everything is in the cloud!”? Or is it better to go with a phased approach, trying to get each step right?


One good way to get to cloud is try to get a good level of standardisation and automation in place first, before opening the doors to end users. Intelligent data center automation solutions such as BMC’s BladeLogic suite will help users smooth the path to cloud. The first step is to get a handle on what is going on in the data center today. With that information, it becomes possible to define what the desired state is, understand the difference between the actual state and the goal state, and address that discrepancy. This will make everyone’s life much easier when the time comes to move to a true cloud computing model.


For more on this topic, read the free whitepaper: Automation—Your Path to the Cloud. Please share any feedback in the comments below.