Editor's note: Jim Ditmore is a senior VP of IT infrastructure and operations at Allstate. He is a regular contributor to I&T's sister site InformationWeek.

We're long into the hype cycle of cloud computing. That means clear criteria to assess and evaluate the different options are critical. Which of the many cloud approaches should medium to large enterprises take to optimize their data center operations? Typically, the cloud is envisioned as an accessible and low-cost compute utility in the sky that's always available. Despite this lofty promise, companies will need to select and build their cloud environment carefully to avoid fracturing their computing capabilities, locking themselves into a single, higher-cost environment, diminishing their ability to differentiate themselves and gain competitive advantage -- or all three. The chart below provides a primer on the different types of cloud computing. Read full story on InformationWeek


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