Managed services for public cloud: One size does not fit all

By: Sachin Sachdeva

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With any product or service these days, you have so many options. Public cloud is no different. It’s only natural to want to pick the best combination to get the so-called “best value for the money.” However, sorting out your options is not an easy task.

The information technology (IT) landscape today

Last summer I was on the lookout for a new car as a gift for myself, and as you can imagine, it was tough to make a decision — even more so because I had promised my eight-year-old son that I’d buy a car of his choice. While he liked the exterior of one and the interior of another, I didn’t like any that he shortlisted. It wasn’t long before he became frustrated and said, “I wish we could pick from multiple brands and assemble our own car.”

In reality, even if there was the slight possibility I could do this and stay within my budget, who would’ve provided service for such a custom-built machine throughout its lifespan?

The information technology (IT) landscape today is no different from buying a new car — I’ve heard similar conversations from both business leaders and regular users. Companies expect their IT shops to support agile practices and be cloud agnostic. But doing this usually requires them to consume different services from multiple cloud service providers, either because of the type of the service, architecture, region, service-level agreements (SLAs), cost or some other reason.

IT and multi-cloud infrastructure

Of the many clients I’ve met in the past few years, several have a multi-cloud strategy. They might have private plus public, or only public clouds, but the reason for following such a strategy is very evident: They wouldn’t be able to quickly meet all of their business requirements using a single provider. This could be due to segregation of application components or even the deployment environment. This is the case if, for example, development is running in provider X’s cloud and production deployment in provider Y’s cloud. Above all, these clients don’t want to get locked in with a single service provider.

Application development teams may see cloud as the consumption of any other compute, storage, network or PaaS services. Thus, companies are often tempted to adopt multiple providers. Recent reports from Forrester Research also suggest that the public cloud services market will grow rapidly to $236 billion in 2020. Clearly, the future lies with hybrid environments that use private plus public or multiple public infrastructure.

Such discrete sourcing is almost always accompanied by deployment and management challenges. From an operations team’s point of view, having subscription services from different providers means multiple management consoles, additional skills to manage them and multiple vendors to deal with. All of this means more time and money spent on your company’s IT infrastructure.

Managed services for public cloud

For IT leaders, it’s no longer practical to continue increasing skillsets of limited staff with ever-expanding technology and skills. An interesting solution to consider is using a third party service provider that can not only design, build and manage services for private cloud, but also manage services for public clouds. Such a solution could help companies remove the management burden from their IT teams so they can focus on the tasks that are most important.

With single relation, procurement is also possible. It would be as if you have a one-stop shop to get everything, including cloud infrastructure and managed services, from a single provider.

If you imagine what a hassle it would be to service a custom car with equipment from several brands, you’ll see how convenient it would be to have a one-stop shop for your IT services. And with public cloud managed services, companies can now plan and size their infrastructure without worrying. They no longer need to retro-fit their growth strategy with limited cloud infrastructure. Rather, they can choose the best option and truly take advantage of the benefits while they continue their hybrid journey.

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About The Author

Sachin Sachdeva

Hybrid Cloud Architect, IBM

Sachin Sachdeva is a Hybrid Cloud Architect with over 17 years experience in IT Industry. He has been working with IBM Bluemix and other public clouds and have extensive experience on working with Enterprise cloud design and implementation. Some of his interest areas include Interruptible architecture, Serverless computing and Containers.

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