The cloud is becoming a viable option for scalability and resilience, but it requires fundamental rethinks in terms of architecting and building web applications in order to fully take advantage of the benefits of moving to the cloud. What we are seeing in the industry is a risk-averse trend for organizations to adopt cloud services-based applications, that I have categorized into the phases listed below. Which phase is your organization currently in?

P1: Evaluating

Organizations are willing to trial out the features of cloud services for trivial or non-business essential functions. Primary drivers are cost efficiencies and elasticity. Use cases include application development sandboxes.

P2: Hosting/Consolidating

Organizations are migrating peripheral services to dedicated virtual hosting providers. Common implementations include peripheral/edge services such as E-mail scanning; DNS hosting and Static Web Page/FTP services. On-premise and Cloud boundaries are very clearly defined within the Enterprise Architecture and the Cloud is commonly relegated to extranet or the perimeter-edge of the Enterprise computing environment.

P3: Infrastructure Virtualization/ Disaster-Recovery (IAAS)

Organizations approach cloud services as an extension of their computing infrastructure, largely due to interoperability between on-premise and cloud-based virtualized environments. Some organizations also see an opportunity to update their off-site Backup; Disaster Recovery and Data Compliance/Retention practices by employing a dedicated managed services provider. Key drivers are cost efficiencies, managed outsourcing of specific tasks and key task automation and alerting. The organization is starting to embrace Cloud environments and internal stakeholders perceive that the negative/downside risks of cloud computing are acceptable on a very limited scale.

P4: Hybridization (SAAS)

Organizations start identifying potential application candidates that can be deployed onto a cloud environment, by way of an application upgrade or feature extension. Lead candidates for hybridization may be influenced by software vendors who are offering their products in hybrid or cloud-based variants. Hybridization or Cloud-migration of business applications carries a significant degree of business risk and such decisions usually involve key decision makers.

P5: Cloud Native Architecture Development (PAAS)

Organizations have built up a certain degree of comfort with their cloud service providers and internal technology stakeholders begin embracing technical advantages of moving to Platform As A Service (PAAS). Such implementations require significant investments in evaluating the benefits of Cloud Architectural Patterns and potential re-architecting of existing applications to subscribe to Cloud Services paradigms. Cloud Services are seen as a key element of business strategy execution and receive high-level stakeholder support. Key drivers include enhancing competitive advantage as well as operational efficiencies realized from self-provisioning, elasticity.

Current State of the Nation

RoadChimp sees that the majority of businesses out there are still moving from the P2 to P3 stage, where a number of organizations have started adopting IAAS and SAAS through dedicated Managed Services Providers and Vendors. The uptick onto cloud Platform providers is still in it’s early days, since standards and maturity models still need more time to amalgamate and gain widespread user adoption. The exception to this is largely technology-based startups (Post 2008) who are largely leap-frogging traditional on-premise infrastructure and executing their business logic directly on the cloud.