bret clement

Value From The Cloud

– Bret Clement, Senior Director of Global Communications, RightScale, says: 

RightScale recently released its 2014 State of the Cloud Report, which echos a key finding of the 2013 State of the Cloud Report: cloud maturity matters. As organizations adopt cloud more broadly – value from the cloud usage increases and challenges decline.

Gaining the benefits of cloud computing including increased agility, flexibility and efficiency requires a shift encompassing both technology and culture. Cloud-enabling your enterprise is a journey through several common stages. RightScale has defined a Cloud Maturity Model that helps define these stages.

The Cloud Maturity Model

The Cloud Maturity Model identifies four distinct stages of common enterprise cloud adoption:

• Cloud Watchers are organizations that are developing cloud strategies but have not yet deployed applications into the cloud. Cloud Watchers want to evaluate available cloud options and determine which applications to implement in the cloud.

• Cloud Beginners are new to cloud computing and are working on proof-of-concepts or initial cloud projects. Cloud Beginners want to gain experience with cloud in order to determine future projects.

• Cloud Explorers have multiple projects or applications already deployed in the cloud. Cloud Explorers are focused on improving and expanding their use of cloud resources.

• Cloud Focused businesses are heavily using cloud infrastructure and are looking to optimize cloud operations as well as cloud costs.

Why Cloud Maturity Matters

RightScale has research data that shows as companies use more cloud, they unlock more value. For example:

• Workloads Expand: As organizations progress in cloud maturity, the types of workloads they deploy in the cloud get broader. Test and development applications top the list, with more than 85 percent of cloud-focused companies deploying them in the cloud. Customer web apps (78 percent), internal web apps (70 percent), batch processing (62 percent) and mobile apps (54 percent) also are deployed in the cloud by a majority of Cloud Focused organizations. Only social apps saw significantly fewer cloud deployments in 2014 at 18 percent (down from 23 percent in 2013).

• Benefits Grow: Respondents also report a growth in the benefits that organizations get from cloud computing as they mature. Organizations indicate that the top benefits that they have already realized are greater scalability, faster access to infrastructure, higher availability, and faster time to market for applications. These top three benefits are reported by more than 29 percent of Cloud Beginners, more than 50 percent of Cloud Explorers, and more than 79 percent of Cloud Focused organizations.

• Challenges Abate: While the benefits of the cloud increase with experience, the challenges of cloud show a sharp decrease as organizations gain expertise with cloud. Security remains the most-often cited challenge among Cloud Beginners (31 percent) but decreases to the fifth most cited (13 percent) among Cloud Focused organizations. As organizations become more experienced in cloud security options and best practices, the less of a concern cloud security becomes.

A Blueprint for Your Stage of Cloud Maturity

Depending on your current stage of cloud maturity there are several areas you should focus on in order to move forward in your cloud journey. Here are a few things you can do depending on your current stage.

Cloud Watchers:
• Define your cloud strategy: Define your adoption patterns for cloud. Make sure you have executive sponsorship and communication on the value you expect to get from cloud. Get the Definitive Guide to Cloud Strategy.
• Design your cloud infrastructure: Make sure you understand the basics of how you will connect clouds with your on-premise infrastructure, what technologies you will use, whether portability is important, and how you will manage your cloud environments.
• Identify show cloud use: Take a helpful, not adversarial approach. Understand what value cloud is bringing to “shadow” cloud users and identify what is needed to safely support existing cloud use.
• Plan first POCs: There will be a learning curve to cloud, so get started with some POCs and experiments to build expertise. Start with “quick win” applications that are well-suited for cloud.
• Form a cloud council: Create a cross-functional team that is excited to push forward in the cloud journey. Ensure they have executive sponsorship.

Cloud Beginners:
• Plan your cloud portfolio: Most large enterprises will have a multi-cloud strategy and leverage a portfolio of that includes public cloud, private cloud and virtualized environments. Determine which clouds you plan to use, even if you plan to start with one cloud.
• Design your cloud architecture: Make sure you understand the basics of how you will connect clouds with your on-premise infrastructure, what technologies you will use, whether portability is important, and how you will manage your cloud environments.
• Launch real workloads: Based on your POC learnings and application assessment, pick several workloads and launch them in the cloud for “real” use. Dev/test and external-facing web applications are good places to start.
• Automate operations: Prepare for growth by determining how to automate processes – including provisioning, patching or operational scripts, monitoring, scaling and shut down.
• Implement basic governance: Ensure that cloud workloads are secure and in compliance. Provide guidelines on cloud use. Ensure you have visibility, auditing and cost tracking of cloud apps.

Cloud Explorers:
• Offer a self-service portal: Gain agility by providing an automated self-service portal to enable developers to easily leverage the cloud. Set a goal to provision in under an hour.
• Expand workloads: Create guidelines to push appropriate new app development to cloud. Continue to migrate existing applications to generate business value.
• Move toward hybrid/multicloud: Once you’re running a few applications in the cloud, look at building out your cloud portfolio. Add new geographies or cloud providers. Take the next steps toward hybrid cloud.
• Implement HA/DR architectures: Make sure you have architected for high availability and disaster recovery by leveraging multiple regions or clouds. Put in place autoscaling, monitoring, and automated failover processes
• Track and manage costs: Ensure you can track costs and provide showback or chargeback. Get educated on cloud provider pricing and purchase options.

Cloud Focused
• Implement cloud first: Move toward cloud as the default option. Determine whether some data centers can move toward maintenance-only mode or de-commissioning.
• Migrate workloads between clouds: Become proficient at moving workloads between clouds to reduce costs or gain leverage.
• Implement DevOps: Fully automate and standardize deployments from development through production.
• Broker cloud services: Ensure your cloud portal supports deployment across all your clouds. Define rules to determine which workloads should go where.
• Optimize cloud spend: Provide ongoing tracking of cloud spend. Implement forecasting of cloud costs. Implement processes to reduce waste, adjust purchase options or move between cloud providers.


Cloud maturity matters. As you progress in your cloud journey and gain expertise, the benefits of cloud will increase while challenges will abate. Take a proactive approach to steadily advance your cloud maturity and reap the rewards of increased business agility.

RightScale has helped more than a thousand enterprises, large and small, in their journey to cloud. Whether you are defining cloud strategy, implementing your first cloud applications, or increasing your use of cloud, RightScale can help you achieve your cloud goals.