Traditionally every managed services team consisted of different team members with different skill sets, performing multiple roles for e.g.
- DC Ops/Administrators: Responsible for providing Hands & Eye Support in data centers for Server/Storage etc.
- Network Admins: Responsible for installing and managing Network Devices like Routers, Switches, Firewalls, cabling, etc.
- Monitoring Team: Responsible for monitoring various monitoring tools and generated alarms and escalate to different teams based on alarm types.
- Manage other aspects like the physical security of data centers, cooling systems, etc.
However, as Cloud Service providers came into the market a massive shift started happening from Hosted/On-premise datacenter more simpler and agile way of working and managing the infrastructure.
Teams started embracing the speed at which the Servers and other infrastructure components were deployed in Cloud. Engineering teams did not have to wait for 2-3 months to get the new hardware in place to launch a new application. However, as the traditional roles were eliminated, people had to re-skill as they no longer had to manage Hardware devices like Physical Servers, Storage, Backup tapes, networking devices, etc.
Due to this shift, teams re-skilled and learned new services provided by Cloud Services providers. Which in turn, facilitated rapid deployment, automated configuration management, scaling of infrastructure based on demand and load, etc. With the new skills, the team is more focused on higher productivity work which facilitates businesses in increasing agility as well as embracing new age methodology like Agile, DevOps, etc.
In the traditional data center, there were separate teams which were taking care of Physical servers and devices while a different team is taking care of virtual server provisioning, etc.
Another benefit that organizations get by embracing cloud is cost savings. Usually, in the traditional environment, managed services team had to plan and procure capacity to fulfil ad-hoc requirements, which were not always clear, and often Datacenter teams had to acquire an additional capacity for facilitating workloads which often went unused, and the excess capacity was hardly utilized twice or thrice in a year.
However, in Cloud, capacity could be increased with a click of a button, hence, instead of waiting for new servers to be deployed for 2-3 months, this can now be done within 5-10 minutes and once it is not required it can be decommissioned which helps to keep the operational cost down.
Moving to the cloud has enabled Managed services team to manage the complete infrastructure as code instead of doing everything manually, which was done earlier while operating in an on-premise/hosted environment. This has enabled teams to automate complete infrastructure deployments & management, which allows developers to work in close collaboration with infrastructure teams as it has enabled them to effectively utilize the available capacity without the need of over-provisioning resources.
Evolution of Managed Services
Managed services teams have come a long way from managing on-premise datacenter to infrastructure hosted in Cloud. With Infrastructure as a Service model provided by Cloud Providers, organizations working on providing managed services have been enabled to upgrade the skill set of managed services team while eliminating redundant tasks, which were of low value. Managed services teams are now performing higher value tasks enabling businesses to improve productivity and efficiency.
Managed Infrastructure services organizations are now using Agile & DevOps best practices to manage servers & applications running on servers in Cloud. Infrastructure management teams are now better utilized and equipped with technical skills to manage complex workloads in Cloud. Traditionally managed services team used to focus only on provisioning of servers and once that was achieved, servers were handed over to Developers & Application teams to install, configure, & fine tune the servers and applications.However, in Cloud, it is now managed services team which does the installation, configuration, fine tuning of applications & servers so that Developers can focus on the development instead of worrying about how the server or application has to be installed or configured.
However, in Cloud, it is now managed services team which does the installation, configuration, fine tuning of applications & servers so that Developers can focus on the development instead of worrying about how the server or application has to be installed or configured.
Comparison of MS teams in different environments:
Benefits of moving to Cloud Managed Services:
- Organizations no longer need Datacenter Operations Team to be physically available at the site.
- No need to worry about various compliances, which needs to be managed in a data center environment. For, e.g., physical safety/security, etc.
- No need to install/manage physical devices.
- No need to have specialized skills like Storage Admin, Network Admin, etc.
- Cloud managed services team can quickly install pre-built AMI’s that saves on execution time.
- No hand & eye support needed in Cloud.
- Complication of managing different devices are eliminated, for, e.g., Fortigate/Cisco Firewalls, Checkpoint Firewalls, NetApp Storage, etc.
- No need to wait for months for the new hardware to provide additional capacity on a temporary or permanent basis.
- Reduced capital investment as you don’t have to pay for a temporary spike in required capacity.
- Don’t have to worry about Hardware failures and hardware replacement as it is managed by Cloud Provider (AWS, Azure) in the background.
- New age tools specifically made available on Cloud facilitates quicker adoption of DevOps best practices (Puppet, Ansible, Jenkins, etc.)
- Leverage services like Chef, OpsWorks for configuration management.
- Easy migration and manageability of application from On-premise to Cloud and vice versa.
- Cost savings on human resources required to manage a data center (on-premise/hosted) compared to management of servers running in Cloud.
- High availability and SLA’s offered by Cloud Service Providers take the burden off the businesses to worry about infrastructure availability.
- Cloud Managed Services team are now skilled to carry out higher value tasks instead of focusing on just provisioning a physical server and cabling of connected equipment’s etc.
To conclude Cloud has brought about a massive change in the way businesses used to consume services. Businesses have become agile and needed to bring services quickly to the market. Moving to a cloud and using Managed services has enabled the business to align goal of its Information Technology departments with the business goals while realizing a higher return on investments and being focused on core business functions.