As cloud computing becomes the norm for the average enterprise, the average cloud solution is becoming more complex – hybrid cloud has become mainstream in order to meet the needs of a more centralized approach to cloud services across an entire organization. A ZDNet article earlier this week offered some interesting statistics around this point:
Enterprises increasingly acknowledge the role of central IT to set policies (up from 31 percent to 44 percent this year). Among enterprises, the central IT team is typically tasked with assembling a hybrid portfolio of supported clouds. Their top priority is to leverage hybrid cloud (29 percent), while 27 percent look to central IT to deploy public clouds, and 23 percent are tasking central IT with private cloud development.
Similarly, Forbes had this to say on the topic:
Organizations are employing at least six clouds, on average. Multiple cloud adoption — a hedge against vendor lock-in, as well as a strategy for drawing multiple sources of outside expertise — is now commonplace. Multiple cloud strategies are also evenly divided between public and private services.
Both articles go on to point out that one of the biggest challenges facing IT managers in this more cloud-centric enterprise world is the lack of expertise and trained personnel to deliver these complex solutions. In fact, this was cited as the number-one cloud challenge by 32 percent of technology managers. It’s no surprise then that managed cloud services are also on the rise. As the enterprise gets more comfortable with the cloud, they are looking for specialized manage service providers (MSPs) to develop and deliver cloud strategies, as well as manage day-to-day operations and optimization. Some of the most asked for services include:
- Public and private and cross-platform management, in one place: As mention above, enterprises are using, on average, at least six clouds. These multi-cloud strategies are divided across private and public cloud, and, perhaps more importantly, across vendors. Enterprises are looking to implement the best possible solutions for their needs. They are turning to MSPs with cloud-agnostic skill sets, capable of developing a tailored solution – not to be handed a simple, out-of-the-box solution.
- DevOps as part of a cloud strategy: It is said that DevOps and cloud are “twins that are closely linked.” In order to deliver software applications and features quickly and efficiently, a DevOps strategy needs to be developed as part of your overall cloud strategy and it seems as thought many organizations are realizing this. DevOps is now being adopted by 74 percent of organizations, up from 66 percent in last year’s survey. Adoption among enterprises (1,000 employees or more) is even higher, reaching 81 percent. Enterprises are looking for MSPs with experience beyond basic cloud set up and management, but who can also offer insight into long-term DevOps optimization as well.
- Configuration Management: Piggy-backing on DevOps slightly, configuration management tools are an integral part of overall IT management and, as cloud adoption continues to rise, a more integral part of cloud adoption strategies. Configuration management tools from Ansible, Puppet, and Chef are growing, with Chef and Puppet now each in use by 32 percent of respondents and Ansible by 20 percent. Enterprises are looking for an MSP with expertise in these specific tools, as well as configuration management in general, to improve visibility, control, and performance of their IT cloud solution.
Gone are the days of simple, out of the box, cloud solutions – if there ever were such days. Unfortunately, not all MSPs are equipped to handle the growing demands of the enterprise. For more information on the best of the best MSPs out there, check out:
CRN’s 2015 Managed Service Provider 500 (2016 list, coming soon!)