February 08, 2012, 3:08 PM — Many companies and government agencies are moving toward cloud computing. One of the key benefits of the cloud is its ability to offload complex application- and data-services to third parties for management or infrastructure, enabling data center managers to purchase compute cycles and storage capacity in a more cost-effective, granular way. Instead of bulk capital expenditures for large servers and storage arrays, you can purchase computer time based on actual usage of CPU cycles and storage by the number of gigabytes or terabytes used.
In essence, the cloud changes your cost and management structure for IT from buying equipment, hiring professionals and operating internal data centers to a services-oriented paradigm in which you buy just what you need when you need it. It becomes someone else's problem to make sure everything is secure, available and reliable.
However, there are always tradeoffs in handing control of your IT to someone else. You need to be sure it's worth it, and it works.
Here are ten items to check out before you leap to the cloud: