6 Cloud Computing Maturity Model

Maturity models are used to benchmark our organization against others in the industry. Mostly based on the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), the Cloud Maturity Model measures Cloud capability against six defined maturity levels.

Since Cloud adoption is a long-term process, a true awareness and understanding of an organization’s current capability in Cloud computing helps in crafting a sustainable strategy and architecture to harness the full benefits of Cloud and reduce the risks associated with Cloud adoption and transformation.

There are various Cloud Computing Maturity Models available in the market. While a detailed study of these various models are outside the purview of this paper, it is worthwhile to, at least, discuss one model so that the readers have a general idea of Cloud Maturity Model and how it could be useful in defining a Cloud strategy.

The Open Data Center Alliance (ODCASM) Cloud Maturity Model supports multiple perspectives in order to accommodate the variety of cloud adoption patterns that different organizations will encounter. They explore an organization’s maturity across each of the individual cloud service models: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and Info-aaS. The CMM plots the progression of structured cloud service integration from a baseline of no cloud use through five progressive levels of maturity, as shown in Figure below.

The figure below gives a summary description of each maturity model.

Figure – Open Data Center Alliance Cloud Maturity Model

According to ODCA, these CMM levels enable the realization of a number of cloud characteristics which in turn translate into the enablement of business functionality and value. These business outcomes are the recommended results of positioning capabilities within the various CMM levels: capability gains, efficiency gains, quality gains, and velocity gains, which ultimately result in powerful business strategy enablement.

  • Federated. Federation refers to the ability of identity and access management software to be able to securely share user identities and profiles. This ability allows users within a specific organization to utilize resources located in multiple clouds without having to generate separate credentials in each cloud individually. IT is able to manage one set of identities, authorizations, and set of security review processes. From the user perspective, this enables seamless integration with systems and applications.
  • Interoperable. There are two key concepts of interoperability: (1) The ability to connect two systems that are concurrently running in cloud environments, and (2) the ability to easily port a system from one cloud to another. Both involve the use of standard mechanisms for service orchestration and management, enabling elastic operation and flexibility for dynamic business models, while minimizing vendor lock-in.
  • Open Standards. The term “open” refers to both software and standards. Open source software operates at a fast rate of change supported by diverse, vibrant community updates. These frequent update cycles provide access to the latest features and capabilities, including performance and efficiency improvements. The use of common APIs or abstraction layers makes it easier for end users to rapidly consume cloud services from different providers to meet business requirements. Even if the software is not open source, it should adhere to open standards, in order to maximize the benefits of cloud deployment.

ODCA has defined Cloud Maturity Model for each of the below perspectives:

  • Business perspective
  • Technology perspective
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service Maturity
  • Platform-as-a-Service Maturity
  • Software-as-a-Service Maturity
  • Information-as-a-Service Maturity

It is not necessary for an organization to aspire to CMM Level 5 in all cases – different levels in the different capability areas may be quite acceptable and may meet that organization’s requirements adequately. It is up to each organization to determine for itself where it wants to be, and what actions and enablers will take it there, per capability.

The key takeaway from the various perspectives of ODCA Cloud Maturity Model is that it helps an organization to define a well-thought out Cloud adoption roadmap. The cloud adoption roadmap provides an end-to-end visualization for how the technical use of cloud technologies in the enterprise develops over time. A typical technical adoption roadmap is represented in Figure below.

Figure – Technical Cloud Computing Adoption Roadmap

This adoption roadmap gives context to technical planning and assists organizations in quantifying existing deployments and the steps that following from that point.