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As IT departments across the globe embark on their cloud computing journey, they inevitably discover that cloud computing is the ultimate "paradox of ease."

Things that should be difficult are handled by the cloud with suave finesse. On the other hand, things that might be dismissed as trivial turn into nightmares.

So, cloud computing is like a two-sided coin with an "easy" side and a "challenging" side. With that analogy in mind, your journey might seem like a series of coin tosses that in the long run you are likely to have an equal probability of encountering both the "easy" and "challenging" sides of cloud computing in no predefined sequence.

Is the cloud computing journey really so unpredictable?
The answer to this question, a resounding "no", is substantiated by feedback, in the form of interviews, articles, panel discussions, etc., from early pioneers who are now in advanced stages of their own cloud computing journeys. Charting the journey of these early pioneers also helps demystify the seemingly random "coin toss" journey into one that is characterized by a well-defined bell-shaped difficulty curve as shown in Figure 1.


Fig. 1 A difficulty curve, a well-known concept in the gaming world, describes the way that the difficulty of play changes as a player progresses through the game over time.

The difficulty curve shown in Figure 1 is typically referred to as an "Early Peak, then Trail Off" difficulty curve. The curve illustrates that a typical cloud computing journey starts off relatively easy followed by a significant ramp in difficulty as major projects are undertaken.

Once the organization crosses over the hump, however, the journey starts down a fairly long "tail off" of difficulty. The easy start can be explained by the myriad cloud options already available to IT organizations today.

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