by Ohad Dallal, VP Managed Services at Comm-IT and Joe Brown, Content Strategist
With the advent of the cloud, companies began to shift their assets and apps from on premises servers to the highly available, highly reliable and highly secure cloud platforms of AWS. The first step of this migration required many of the services that used be run by on-staff IT professionals to be run by top-notch service providers, especially utilizing the tools and services developed by and offered by Amazon Web Services. This first generation of managed service providers (MSPs) focused largely on streamlining operations according to meters. For instance, they would track resource consumption and monitor availability and performance during off-hours, such as holidays and team vacations, to try and keep environments cost-efficient, e.g. with the help of AWS CloudWatch. Also, security levels were maintained to assure regulation compliance and continuity plans were implemented and maintained, promising the flow of operations.
Service level agreements of first generation MSPs focused on issues that alleviated customers from the need of handling menial tasks, such as patch management, incident management and access management, using AWS’s automated managed services.
Next-Gen Cloud Capabilities
Cloud computing was taking baby steps in the first decade of the new millennia; it has since matured and has become the platform on which most major corporations conduct their business, data and applications. If in the early 2000s, the main discussion was of shifting CapEx to OpEx, we now speak in completely different terms. Cost-Efficiency is no longer merely a tool to convince people to move to the cloud, it is a pillar of all cloud-based activities.
In addition, cloud services and capabilities have expanded and expanded, with applications being developed, stored and managed completely in the cloud. Cloud-native does not just mean that your app or service are completely born in the cloud and that all the advantages of the AWS cloud are built into it; it means that your organization has already adapted the business values that come with it: rapid time-to-market, agility and scalability, to name a few.
With this shift in the market, both regarding cloud capabilities and customer demands, MSPs need to shift as well. The service provided must address business-efficiency, i.e. business expansion and growth, and not just saving costs and menial efforts. MSPs will continue to ensure that patch management and change management tools are in place, but they have to think bigger and be true partners to the entire business process of their customers.
In other words, Next-Gen MSPs, such as Comm-IT, need to be able to deliver higher-business value to their customers by supporting and creating as fully automated IT environments as possible, to seamlessly integrate new infrastructure, software and apps with almost no human involvement.
Likewise, they must fully adopt the DevOps culture, and help the different parts of the organization communicate easier and better be it developers, IT or even management. This also means that serverless architecture needs to be adopted where possible, including developer tools, such as AWS Lambda and the AWS tools for CI/CD, AWS CodeStar, AWS CodePipeline AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodeDeploy. Gone are the days where large servers and expensive licenses are needed for development and operations. Simply put, MSP providers need to help their clients be as agile as possible.
And with the purpose of business expansion to be as fluid as possible, MSPs need to help their customers work in containerized environments, on services such as Amazon Elastic Container Service and AmazonElastic Kubernetes Service, which allow their apps or services to be bundled together and launched on any platform. This is crucial for success, because the market demand for ‘application anywhere’ is constantly on the rise.
Lastly, and perhaps most significant different from the First Gen MSP services, is that of service intelligence. If in the past MSPs collected operational informations to improve resource usage, now they collect business-relevant informations, with the help of advanced and automated ML/AI tools, which can be presented for decision makers on Amazon QuickSight. Demand, usage, regional trends and much more can be deduced from the in formations handled by your MSP. This allows for both near- and long-term planning, which means you can create a more robust business plan, and even scale your business up and down more rapidly in response to changes in the market.
To summarize, Next Gen MSPs are not just service providers, they are trusted business consultants and a true partner to your success. Comm-IT is committed to your success and to ensuring your business continues to move forward, also thanks to the managed services we provide, utilizing the best tools and infrastructure of Amazon Web Services.