Article Operational Excellence for Managed Service Providers: its all about Automation
By Insight UK / 1 Sep 2021 / Topics: Cloud
By Insight UK / 1 Sep 2021 / Topics: Cloud
Over the past few years, companies have become increasingly dependent on cloud infrastructure. The advantages of the cloud are well-known: cost reduction, scalability and continuity. There is only one downside: cloud technology is complex. For this reason, the trend is to outsource the management of cloud environments to a professional IT specialist. This offers many business opportunities for Managed Service Providers to develop new cloud services and solutions for their end customers.
The MSP market is evolving rapidly. Competition is fierce, and the administrators are under constant pressure to deliver. Therefore, any MSP that wants to ensure profitability in the long term should take steps to optimise processes and achieve operational excellence. There are different strategies to do so, but they all come down to automating manual tasks to do more in less time, save expenses and reduce risks.
Well-known platforms as Microsoft, Citrix, VMWare and Veeam offer advanced tooling to help you automate operational processes. Use these to your advantage. If you want to achieve Operational Excellence, automation of the following procedures should be on top of your to-do list:
Setting up hosts manually is usually very time-consuming and also tricky. A simple slip of the finger can deviate configurations and differences between hosts that are hard to trace.
Writing automation scripts for deployment and configuration is more than a good investment for an MSP. It is a necessity if you want to achieve Operational Excellence. The initial set of deployment scripts can be used over and over again to copy or to adjust. Your IT administrators will be thrilled.
The flexibility and scalability of the cloud require a perfect administration of licenses and costs. For an MSP, it is impossible to keep track of the portfolio of every single customer without the proper tooling, let alone guarantee correct billing. Customers want to add users, new services or even complete environments on the fly. Licenses and requested capacity may differ from day to day.
Automating licenses and cost management not only benefits the MSP. However, it is equally essential for the end customer to have a topical overview of its assets and expenses. Fortunately, there are some great tools available that may help you and your customers out. A win-win situation.
One of the main advantages of working in the cloud is the flexibility to scale resources on a technical level to ensure maximal performance at any time and place. To automate these processes, you need advanced tooling for monitoring, alerting and scaling itself. Sure there are challenges to overcome and make it all work. Just take it step by step. Automated scaling is worth the ride. Think of happy customers, less operational costs and no more precious time spent on continuous monitoring and tuning.
Cybercriminals threaten the cloud, but they also offer the chance to develop managed security services for your customers. IT security is a broad topic that covers different areas like user authorisation, (web) applications, data, network and infrastructure. To address all these challenges, you will need various tools and solutions. Platforms like MS Azure, Citrix and VM Ware incorporated extensive functionality to secure access to applications and databases. In addition, Veeam offers innovative solutions for network monitoring, alerting, backup and disaster recovery.
Automated security is a hot topic, but where to start? Easy. A cloud security assessment helps you to identify and analyse the most critical risks for your organisation. Once you know these risks, you start from there and build them up.
What level of automation do you need to achieve Operational Excellence? How do you get there? We at Insight have been working with partners like you across Europe for many years, providing valuable time, knowledge and support in many (hybrid) cloud scenarios. We can help you monitor and optimise your cloud cost, map it against your existing budget, and suggest improvements that will lower your total cost.
Contact one of our cloud specialists to find out how we can support you in optimising your cloud costs in line with your business goals, whether you are designing your first workloads in the cloud or work entirely cloud-based.
This article is part of a series based on Microsoft’s WAF (Well-Architected Framework), where you find much more helpful guidance. WAF improves the quality of workloads operating in the cloud by focusing on a set of common architecture principles, including cost optimisation, operational excellence, performance efficiency, reliability and security.
As a multi-vendor software licensing, workload and platform specialist, we can guide you through all stages of your strategic cloud journey with a series of workshops, assessments, services and best practices, from the first exploration of cloud or hybrid opportunities and benefits to support and optimisation after migration. So no matter where you are in your journey, we help you find new ways forward and accelerate your business.
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