Why Oracle Managed Services are key to driving cloud results

By: Prashant Bhatnagar

Many cloud hosting vendors have invested heavily in large-scale distributed data centers for cloud infrastructure. Over the past few years, the cloud model has become very efficient, with self-service cloud provisioning websites making infrastructure acquisition quite straightforward. Download the ‘Frost & Sullivan’ analyst report highlighting the advantages of running ERP workloads in managed cloud environments.

Numerous companies offer this infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model, leading to a crowded marketplace. Customers who are already on the cloud in a self-managed environment and who are looking for additional savings or services do have options.

One option is to move to a better and cheaper infrastructure provider. However, migrating applications from one vendor to another can be a costly proposal. And choosing a vendor based on price alone doesn’t help you if you are looking for additional capabilities. Another option is to look beyond the self-managed, infrastructure-only environment. This is where cloud managed services come in.

What are cloud managed services?

Cloud managed services include management and maintenance services performed on cloud infrastructure to make it functionally ready from a business user’s perspective. It enables companies to offload infrastructure tasks — such as cloud provisioning, cloud migration, application, and data deployment and day-to-day management functions — to the cloud managed services provider. Doing so generally leads to improved app performance through infrastructure and application optimization, enhanced security and compliance and quicker response for businesses that need to leverage orchestration and automation on a global scale. Based on which layer companies would like to outsource to a managed services partner, there are three common options, each with committed service level agreements (SLAs):

1. Managed through the application layer

Here, the managed services provider manages applications like e-commerce, Oracle ERP or SAP, as well as social media and other web-based apps, through the application layer. The service includes reporting and database patching as well as the support of the corresponding ecosystem from a technical perspective. These plans usually offer SLAs at the application layer. This option includes the services offered in both next two options.

2. Managed through the data layer

In this scenario, the services provider manages through the data layer — typically, databases such as Oracle, IBM DB2, SQL-SVR, and MySQL. This option includes database support and backups as well as the services in option three.

3. Managed through the OS layer

Here, the cloud services provider manages only through the operating system layer. This includes provisioning through cloud automated tools in addition to OS-related support, virus protection and the like.

A description of the managed services should clearly list the roles and responsibilities that the managed services provider offers. Since managed cloud providers have varying capabilities and offerings, it is essential to go into details on the level of their services to make apples-to-apples comparisons. Here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Most managed services functions can be automated, including tasks like a startup, shutdown, and patching and cloning of the application, databases and operating systems. Automated tools, along with the seeded functionality of applications and database tools, do this job.
  1. In contrast to the automated services, other functions — for example, troubleshooting performance and user issues — require active management and care from specialists such as DBAs, OS administrators and storage, and network experts. There is so much that goes on in the background to make and keep systems running, and these functions are typically managed by people rather than tools.
  2. Pay attention to SLAs. A solid infrastructure isn’t worth much if the applications are run poorly and users can’t reliably and effectively complete business transactions. The next big outage may be around the corner without a good managed services team who can ensure guaranteed SLAs for the availability of cloud-based infrastructure and applications.

A managed services solution makes sense for many customers, especially those that want to re-focus their IT resources on their core competencies and other strategic priorities. As I’ve said above, there are many options that enable you to do this. Whether you’re looking for a provider to manage your infrastructure through the OS or up to the application layer, IBM Services for Managed Oracle Solutions can help.

Click here and in just 5 minutes, calculate your potential ROI from migrating and managing Oracle infrastructure and applications to Clouds. The Cost Benefits Estimator identifies key areas of savings that can be reinvested in innovation, such as time to value acceleration, IT labor optimization and reduced infrastructure TCO. Your results are customized based on your company’s size, IT needs, Oracle environments and project scope.

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About The Author

Prashant Bhatnagar

Prashant Bhatnagar is an IBM Cloud Solution Manager, highly accomplished and result oriented technical sales leader in the IBM Cloud Solutioning Center - US, who leads with an entrepreneurial approach to ensure customer realize their IT vision. He drives the team to orchestrate solution selling and improve business results through positive engagement and use of... Read more