The IT sector is full of hype. But once in a while there is a genuine inflection point, a moment at which the way of doing things fundamentally changes due to the introduction of new technologies. The rise of cloud computing is just such an inflection point. Cloud computing is the next stage of the Internet computing model, one in which organizations will consume services, not technologies. These services will be ready to run, available outside the office walls, and be paid for on the basis of usage, just like water or electricity. As the cloud and services model matures, not only will businesses be able to solve old problems more inexpensively and rapidly, they will also be able to address new challenges that were previously out of reach. Cloud computing promises a more flexible "services" model for IT systems that puts the business unit or end user at the center of the process. In this way, both the IT organization and the business itself become more agile. At the same time, cloud computing promises to reduce the delivered cost of IT through a greater degree of resource utilization, automation, and self service. This will not happen overnight. It will not be next year, nor even within a year or two. But as time passes, more and more companies will find themselves in a position to be able to source services wherever they like: inside the organization or from any provider, whether it be Google, IBM, HP, EMC, Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon, T-Systems or any other cloud computing vendor. This book is a comprehensive introduction to cloud computing and its most prominent enabling technology: virtualization. In the first part, you are guided through the visions, concept and models behind cloud computing. You will learn how your organization can profit from cloud-enabling technologies and how you can incorporate them in your IT infrastructure. Part II of this book consists of "Industry Outlooks": in depth articles from industry experts. Part III offers a series of useful case stories, covering a broad diversity of virtualization and cloud-related issues. Further to the development of this book, the development team that is responsible for the content of this book, has developed a certification program on Cloud computing, the Cloud Certification Program. This vendor-neutral Cloud Certification Program provides professionals with the opportunity to obtain globally recognized credentials in cloud computing. The CompTIA Cloud Essentials course Exam is intended for IT professionals who wish to certify that they have the required knowledge and understanding required to complete and pass the CompTIA Cloud Essentials Exam on cloud computing. Anyone who passes this exam to obtains the CompTIA Cloud Essentials Professional certificate.