One of the really difficult aspects of cloud computing for most established IT organizations is the fact that the move to clouds, even private clouds, is not a simple, intuitive one. Replacing the bulk of both technology and process with a focus on capacity as a service--an automated, self-administered service--results in many organizations "experimenting" with the cloud, but few pushing any barriers. To make matters worse, we are in that wonderful "discovery" phase of a technology, where there are few if any guides to how to do it right, with minimal risk, and those that do exist are generally personal opinions, not "burned in" recipes for success.
This post does not pretend to be such a recipe. However, over the course of the last several months, culminating in some great conversations with some really smart people the last few weeks, I've come to realize that there is a basic maturity model for moving from data center consolidation architectures to true open market cloud architectures.
Remember maturity models? They've been around for some time, but a couple of years ago there was a small burst of creativity among system integrators and analysts alike, and maturity models were defined for a variety of IT subjects, ranging from business processes to technology architectures, such as SOA. The basic idea was to lay out some milestones, or even "gateways", to be achieved by IT as they worked towards achieving some idealized computing or process goal.
To that end, below is a simple five phase maturity model that I and others believe describes the stages of evolution for an enterprise data center trying to achieve cloud Nirvana: