Guest post originally published by Marcello Testi, CNCF Cartografos Working Group Member

This blog post takes a closer look at the Technology section of the Cloud Native Maturity Model (CNMM). To learn more visit the Cartografos Working Group GitHub repo. In the conclusion of this post, you will also learn about how to contribute to the CNMM.

The CNMM is a companion for organizations that are starting, or are in the middle, or have been just considering a future Cloud Native transformation. Its contents are organized leveraging 5 main topics: Business Outcomes, People, Policy, Processes and Technology outline a five-level journey to excellence.

There isn’t by any way a dominating realm for cloud native maturity and, as you see from the list of such realms, technology is one of five. It’s no secret that you cannot achieve cloud native maturity (and its desired business outcomes) unless you work on “people”, “policy”, and “process” too; but even so, it’s quite obvious that technology is the driver that makes changes possible (also, we have a packed landscape of that).

Cloud Native Technology Maturity

So, let’s dive into the “Technology” section of CNMM, and let’s see what it can offer to you, as a developer, as a decision maker, as a stakeholder in the cloud native transformation process.

In its prologue, the CNMM helps you identify the expected situation at the start of the journey. The first notable thing is that you and your teams are not supposed to be “elite”: you should have a general understanding and possibly experience with cloud infrastructure management, modern applications development, and deployment styles. And yes, the CNMM takes into account that at the beginning of the journey, you may have some luggage (and technical debt) to take with you: existing code, team skills, deployment strategies, requirements for handling state and data flows, QA procedures, integrations… All of this luggage might get you started, but some of it might hold you back and should be left at some point in the journey.

Before exiting the CNMM’s prologue, let’s also consider the crucial final note about how the Model refers to the tools listed in the CNCF Landscape: consistently with the maturity concept, the Model will primarily reference graduated or incubating projects, leaving room for sandbox projects only at higher maturity levels, where teams and organizations are more confident in walking uncharted roads. You should also note that the CNMM goal is not strictly prescriptive about practices and tools, nor does it want to “crown” a project in place of another as your go-to solution for any specific purpose. While maturity grows, teams will identify the best tools for their current goals.

What Does Your Tech Journey Look Like? 

We’ll let you find out by yourself, but we’re leaving here some breadcrumbs to follow. The journey takes you from internal team experiments to production-grade excellence, building on your staff’s growing confidence in managing all the moving parts of a well-oiled Cloud Native machine. 

Going live into production isn’t the end of the journey, but quite an early stage of it. There isn’t even a real end to the journey, because at Level 5 of the MM you get very confident about your mostly automated architecture, so confident that you can embrace continuous improvement as everyday practice. Also, new technologies are introduced regularly that may require you to revisit early stages of the model.

The CNMM in its current form offers six points of view of technology on your journey to Cloud Native excellence, starting with the practical foundations of infrastructure management. The five-stage growth plan is an exemplary pattern found in every section of the Model: you begin evaluating the requirements and how they match against your team’s skills, you complement your team by integrating operations into the software engineering workflow, you end up implementing policies and automation described in code.

A similar pattern emerges from considerations about application architecture, runtimes and containers, release strategies, testing and QA, and security: while technical skills grow, they come across people management, process transformation, policy definition.

The CNMM is an ongoing effort carried on by the Cartografos WG. You can find us on the CNCF Slack at #cartografos-wg. We meet every other week, and we very much welcome contributions coming from any positions in the Model’s spectrum, non-technical included. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think about the technology section described here, the CNMM, and your personal and organizational journey to Cloud Native adoption.