Cloud technologies have been around for over a decade now. Most businesses have adopted cloud at the core of their IT in some form or another, but we are still far from seeing the potential of the cloud used to its fullest.

Cloud nativity provides many benefits. Above all, they enable business-driven application development: no longer will you have to wait for months to get that server infrastructure running securely, and it is always scaled correctly.

“With cloud native, you can concentrate your efforts on building the actual services and applications instead of infrastructure”, says Qviks Head of Cloud Business Jari Lindholm. “You could say that, the higher you climb on the cloud nativity ladder, the less time you will use on the infrastructure.”

Based on our experiences with customers and general observations on cloud usage, we have come up with the Cloud Native Maturity Model. We use the model to measure our customers’ level of cloud nativity and use that as a basis for helping them utilize the opportunities of the cloud better.

Unlike in our Data Maturity Model, here you can skip the lower levels and jump straight to level 4 – Cloud Native.

Level 1: On-Premise

Your servers are in your server room or maybe in a data center. This is how things were 10 years ago, and in a way this is level 0, as nothing is actually stored on a cloud server yet. You have to hire a large number of people for system administration and you might even have people who are responsible for replacing broken hardware. Everything is self-managed.

Starting a new project on this level is slow and requires planning. We could call this IT-driven development. The biggest advantage of this level is that you can customize everything, but it will cost you a substantial amount of time and money.

Level 2: Cloud-Based Infrastructure

This is the level of most organizations today. There is no more physical hardware to maintain, but virtual machines or maybe containers running in the cloud. You no longer need to worry about hardware failures and can scale your services to meet the demands of the users. Your security is also probably better than on the previous level; even launching new projects is faster.

The downside is that your are still infrastructure-based and, although in the cloud, you are still firmly planted in the old world, albeit a virtualized version of it.

Level 3: Managed Cloud

At this level, you are already utilizing most of the opportunities the modern cloud can offer. You have a fully scalable container system running in the cloud that will never run out of capacity. You can deliver your services to your customers in their own region, so the user experience is always fast.

You are still responsible for the updates, backups and security of your data, and your devops teams keep your applications and business alive.

Level 4: Cloud Native

Welcome to the new cloud. Your services are fully managed, including the apps and databases: no more updates, no more administration as your applications are now kept alive by Google’s or Amazon’s engineers and, most importantly, your services won’t break unless you break them. You are no longer paying for processing power just in case you happen to need it, you only pay what you use. Your infrastructure scales automatically and your developers can focus on developing.

At this level, you can utilize business driven development: when there is a business need, your app team can start to deliver right away, without the need to build any IT infrastructure.

Looking for more info about cloud native? Check this Cloud Native Computing Foundation and this What is cloud-native? The modern way to develop software!