By Mark Holdsworth, Solutions Architect
More and more enterprises are migrating to the cloud, whether public, private, or hybrid. To keep pace with business and user expectations, IT must devise a strategy for managing a range of environments, including on-premises, data center, and cloud, often with existing staff and limited budgets. Engaging a Managed Services Provider (MSP) is the answer.
Managed Services and the Cloud
A MSP offers day-to-day remote operational support that can complement an IT department’s cloud strategy. Migrating to the cloud means following a shared services model in which the cloud provider supplies the physical infrastructure, while the enterprise supplies the applications and security. Engaging an MSP, though, adds a management layer between in-house IT operations and the cloud, freeing IT up to focus on innovating for the business and helping IT be more business centric. Doing this will help IT become more relevant to your organization and the users you support.
While, at first, the two – MSPs and cloud – may seem to be divergent approaches, they comprise a well-balanced mix of shared services and outsourced, remote management of those services. When an IMS extends into a cloud environment, public or private or hybrid, the business experiences all of the benefits of a traditional co-managed services arrangement expanded to cover the cloud environment, which can include a multitude of tools, portals, escalation points, and vendors. A MSP brings this all together to achieve remote management via a single pane of glass. For example, a MSP can provide remote monitoring and management support for operating systems and enterprise applications, with the ability to spin up and spin down VMs as needed, while also providing connectivity management between your data center and cloud, as well as the same SLAs guaranteed for on-premises managed services.
Accudata’s MSP Use Cases
Working with NetEnrich, who uses Vistara, a Software as a Service (SaaS), Accudata can monitor across the IT stack. Accudata can truly monitor closet to cloud – not only network equipment in your local office and data center, but equipment in the IDF and MDF at your remote sites, as well as public and private cloud environments, all with one tool. Recently, a customer with a very small IT footprint experienced a catastrophic data failure and worked with our Network Operations Center (NOC) team, as well as our consulting resources, to resolve their issues using this tool.
Because Accudata’s NOC is supplemented by a diverse consulting staff, we were able to offer another customer full management of Citrix and Exchange. Working with SunGard Availability Services, who provides managed services up to the operating system level, Accudata provided full application management, including a single point of escalation through its Technical Account Management team, without the customer having to augment its staff.
The cloud may seem ready-made for disaster recovery (DR), but managing a reliable DR site and keeping it up to date requires dedicated staff. A current Accudata customer needed to get its DR environment up and running, but its existing staff was already at capacity, and hiring new resources was not an option. Accudata provided full alert and remediation services that eventually extended into the customer’s production environment. The operational support provided by Accudata’s NOC team allowed the customer to focus on IT projects and its core business instead of daily maintenance.
MSP Enables IT Relevance to the Business
IT is often viewed as one of the business’ many service providers. Instead, IT must think of itself as a value-add for the business, a competitive advantage along the lines of what CIO Magazine has termed the differentiated model of IT. The demands placed on IT focus on doing it right and doing it fast, but for IT to truly differentiate the business from others in the market, IT must become a trusted advisor to the business, driving innovation. Engaging an IMS frees up in-house resources and budgets so IT can move into a more strategic role within the enterprise.
So, how do you know when you’re done with a cloud migration? You’ve engaged a MSP, and now you can focus on innovating and driving business value through IT.