Bert Armijo, VP of Strategy with the Cloud Solutions Unit at CA technologies (, says:

Start small
Cloud computing does not require big initial commitment; you can start as small as building a prototype, something you are comfortable putting up. Use a cloud to develop it, deploy, run tests, try to scale and make it twice as big. Test again, try to break it. Compare your work in the cloud to what it would cost you to do the same application with traditional infrastructure.
Find a small project that has been ignored for a while but always needed to be done, or an application you always thought as of good to have but have never found the time or resources to build.

Try multiple
Clouds come in different shapes and forms, some offer only infrastructure on demand, others give you access to whole development platforms on which to build your applications. Some provide everything pre-built, you only have to drop your code in, while others give a whole virtual datacenter on demand. Each of these offers different functionality and solutions. Try multiple cloud vendors, multiple solutions until you understand what fits your needs best and what you are most comfortable working with.

Watch out for lock-in
When choosing your cloud provider, look for a cloud platform that does not require you to configure your applications so that they only work on that platform or write code to vendor specific API. Or if you do, be prepared to deal with the trade-off you make. Some cloud services can hold you hostage. You get your applications on their cloud and it can be very difficult to get them off if you are not happy with the service. And make sure your provider has multiple physical locations so that if you have to, you can move your application.

Mix internal and external clouds
As you build your cloud strategy, make sure you can use the same approach within your datacenter and with a public cloud vendor. Moving applications and workloads between internal and external clouds will guarantee you have interoperability, and more importantly allow you to create and maintain the same standards and practices – both for the cloud and for your in-house deployments.