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Though the concept of “cloud” is not new, but it has gained more traction in recent years. I can’t think of a CIO meeting happening today in any organization without this word being “uttered”. Yes, cloud today is not classified as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS). It continues to grow by leaps and bounds today where it’s capable of delivering everything as a service, from computing power to business processes to personal interactions. The future of cloud platform will be to provide “Everything as a Service”

Cloud is making all right noises in today’s IT landscape across all the sectors. In very simple terms it won't be incorrect to say that the Cloud Technologies have transformed the way we have been using computing power. Rather than purchasing licenses or hardware, we may now obtain the computing power as a service, buying only as much as we need, and only when we need it. Isn't it nice!!! This new business model has brought vast efficiency and cost advantages to one an all from an individual to giant corporates. The numerous benefits of cloud computing have played a pivotal role in winning over many adopters and are generating significant cost savings, efficiencies, flexibility, innovation, and new market opportunities.

So far about the cloud and what it is all about, let’s now get to the exact motive of this article. We all by now know the power and flexibility (of choice) cloud computing has brought to the table, but having said that the platform is also offering abundant opportunities to tap.

In late 2010, the U.S. federal government announced its “Cloud First” policy—a policy intended to ensure that the power of cloud computing is unleashed in as many federal agencies as possible. It has now been followed by the UK government as well with the announcement of the G-Cloud programme. The ideation was good the implementation maybe not so, the reason being various factors like the scale of Federal IT landscape, decision making workflows, etc. just to name a few. But we can definitely take a cue from their vision. The “Cloud-First” policy is an avenue to allow organizations and agencies to break out of their current restrictive procurement and development practices and embrace cloud with a clear vision and at an accelerated pace.

We all agree that Cloud will be the future (if it isn’t already), so why not plan towards the same from a perspective of leading from the front and come first (and not second as the title of this article tries to suggest)

So what do we do??

Cloud-First methodology to me is doing the following.

- Choose the cloud as your first choice “whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists.”

- Be it procurement of infrastructure, development and design decisions, keeping the cloud in focus will have far reaching advantages and benefits

- Choose a standardized approach which should keep you at par with both cloud and on-premise platforms

- Opt for hybrid cloud environments in case a complete shift to public cloud is not possible at the initial stage

- Have a fail-over plan in-case a back out is imminent\mandatory

Be Noted that this article isn’t trying to suggest that you should just scrap/get rid of existing on-premise deployments in favor of cloud subscription-based options. It's not an either-or proposition. The whole idea is to keep cloud into perspective and make a conscious effort towards adoption of the same.

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