This is a guest post by Pankaj Arora, Senior Manager in the Global Strategic Initiatives team, Microsoft IT

When Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer publicly declared “We’re all in” on cloud computing in March 2010, he wasn’t just referring to Microsoft’s products and platforms. He also was giving his own IT organization, which continues to be Microsoft’s first customer of enterprise products and services, a mandate to move to the cloud. In the months both prior and since that declaration, my colleagues and I have learned a lot about what it takes to adopt cloud computing at a global enterprise. We now have cloud deployments of all the common models—SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS—and we’re starting to implement Data-as-a-Service and other emerging paradigms.

With numerous deployment experiences under our belt—and industry predictions of even greater cloud adoption in 2012 as a backdrop—I want this community to know about a book I’ve co-authored with two colleagues at Microsoft IT entitled, To the Cloud: Cloud Powering an Enterprise. In summary, the book addresses the Why, What and How of enterprise cloud adoption. It is based on our own experiences and best practices adopting cloud computing, while also drawing on industry and customers experiences. Think of the book as a guide, or “CIO playbook,” in which we lay out a 4-step framework to cloud adoption: Explore, Envision, Enable and Execute.

The book is applicable to most cloud providers and platforms, providing both business and technology guidance throughout. Examples include: How to analyze an application portfolios to identify good cloud candidates, guidance on choosing the right cloud models and providers, considerations for architecture and security, and how shifting operations to the cloud affects budgeting and staffing. The content is supported by frameworks, illustrations, tables and checklists to help the reader move toward action. Written from a CIO perspective, it also addresses adoption concerns and hybrid scenarios alike, and concludes with case studies and context on what the cloud means for emerging markets.

You can learn more about the book at its official website. Pre-orders can be made immediately, and the book will launch globally in mid-January 2012. It is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and direct from the publisher McGraw-Hill – among other outlets.  (E-book versions will also be available upon launch.)  My hope is you find the guidance and lessons as valuable to your organization as we have found them to be at Microsoft IT for our cloud journey.

I’ll have a few more blog posts here in the coming weeks so that you can get an even better flavor of the material. 

Pankaj Arora