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RightScale State of the Cloud 2013: Maturity Matters

RightScale State of the Cloud 2013: Maturity Matters

Last week we introduced our RightScale State of the Cloud 2013 industry survey, a comprehensive report based on responses from 625 industry professionals. Today we’ll dive into more details of the survey findings and show how they indicate that the greater the level of maturity organizations have with cloud, the more benefits they get from it.

By the way, when we say industry professionals, we don't just mean the technology industry. The survey respondents came from a variety of industries, with half coming from technology-focused companies and half came from a wide variety of other industries, including media, financial services, and education. Respondents were a mix of development staff as well as  IT and operations, with almost one in five respondents coming from the business side.

Last week we noted that one of the key findings of the report was that the cloud is a given for organizations of all sizes today. Three-quarters of organizations are adopting cloud, and are at various stages of maturity in their use of cloud. Segmenting respondents based on their cloud maturity reveals that as organizations adopt cloud more broadly, they realize increasingly more value.

As organizations progress in cloud maturity, the workloads they deploy in the cloud get increasingly broader. While development, test, and customer-facing web applications continue to be the top workloads deployed by companies across the maturity spectrum, other workloads are not far behind.  More than 50 percent of organizations that are Cloud Focused are also running internal web applications, batch processing, and mobile apps in the cloud.

Going hand in hand with the growth of the types of cloud workloads, we see that the benefits organizations report from cloud also increase with increasing cloud maturity. Organizations indicate that the top benefits they have already realized are faster access to infrastructure, greater scalability, and faster time to market for applications. These top three benefits are reported by more than 25 percent of Cloud Beginners, more than 50 percent of Cloud Explorers, and more than 80 percent of Cloud Focused organizations.

As organizations move toward more experience with the cloud, more than 50 percent report such benefits as business continuity and increased application availability, better application performance, expanded geographic reach, and increased IT staff efficiency. These findings show that cloud benefits are not only a future expectation, but also a reality today for many organizations.

In addition to an increase in reported benefits, the challenges of cloud show a sharp decrease with cloud maturity. Across the board, organizations with more experience in cloud report fewer challenges with security, governance, compliance, and integration.

As an example, while security is the most-cited challenge, the percentage of organizations that report that security is a significant challenge decreases from 38 percent of Cloud Beginners to 18 percent of Cloud Focused. In other words, the more you learn about how to work in the cloud, the more you understand how to address these issues and the less likely you are to see it as a significant challenge.

Cloud experience also pays off in handling inevitable outages associated with any data center - whether cloud or private. While news of cloud outages inevitably makes headlines, the reality is that in 2012 there were fewer publicly reported cloud outages than private data center outages. Not surprisingly, as organizations increase their usage of cloud and expand workloads, they are more likely to report being impacted by a cloud outage. However, organizations with more experience report that the impacts of those outages were of shorter duration, indicating that they have learned to architect for these situations and put failover and disaster processes in place to reduce their impact.

With increased benefits, fewer challenges, and fewer outages, increased cloud maturity clearly unlocks increasingly higher levels of value.

We have a few more points to talk about next time that will interest anyone who follows both DevOps and the cloud. To read the complete survey results, see the RightScale State of the Cloud Report 2013.