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AWS confusion spurs interest in managed cloud services

Companies interested in AWS often need help selecting and deploying the right mix of cloud services. Many are turning to managed cloud services.

Interest in and use of cloud services in general, and AWS in particular, has grown because they promise to be less expensive and easier to deploy than building out a traditional on-premises corporate data center. However, as the variety of cloud services expands and the number of offerings increases, many organizations discover they need help selecting, implementing and effectively administering the right combination of cloud services to achieve business objectives and remain within budget.

Global cloud and data center-delivered managed network services doubled in size from $1,384 million in 2009 to $2,606 million in 2015, according to a report from Statista, a New York City research firm. While those seem like impressive growth numbers, the MSP Alliance has estimated managed services revenue generated by cloud and managed service providers (MSPs) in North America during 2014 equaled $154 billion. In addition, 451 Research predicts that the value of managed services from cloud service providers will grow from $17 billion in 2014 to $43 billion in 2018.

Market size and forecast numbers vary in part because of differences in how each organization defines addressable market opportunities. Regardless of the differences, the studies show there's a growing demand for managed cloud services.

AWS use proliferates MSP need 

The confusion and concerns that revolve around AWS help build the need for MSPs. Although AWS has been the biggest force behind the emergence and rapid expansion of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), it is also the reason why the promise of significant cost savings and simplified computing power continues to elude many AWS users. The proliferation of AWS offerings has made it increasingly difficult for IT and business decision makers to determine which AWS product is best suited to meet their needs. This is particularly true for organizations new to cloud alternatives and unfamiliar with the hidden gotchas of the AWS world.

Selecting the right cloud offering is the first challenge facing organizations. After that, they must determine how to properly implement and integrate cloud services into their ongoing operations. Next, they need to monitor the service's performance and ensure it doesn't encounter any service disruptions.

Many IT and business decision makers are under the wrong impression that they can quickly deploy a cloud offering and it will take care of itself. They assume that AWS will automatically notify them if a problem arises, and even rectify the issue proactively. The reality is that AWS -- and other cloud service providers -- does not provide proactive support unless the customer buys the added level of service.

The consequences can be significant.

In a 2014 survey of 358 IT and business decision makers conducted by THINKstrategies and iNetU, 70% of respondents had to make changes to their cloud design during the migration process. Fifty-two percent of those respondents had to make adjustments within the first six months and 43% reported that their cloud implementations failed or stalled. Among respondents, 49% required an increase in budget within six months.

Given the potential pitfalls of moving to the public cloud, a number of managed services providers are emerging with specialized skills to address the challenges. Cloudnexa, for example, offers cloud management as a service (CMaaS), powered by its vNOC Cloud Management Platform, to provide cloud orchestration and management automation tools for AWS.

As the use of cloud services accelerates, the AWS ecosystem continues to expand and the complexities associated with cost-effectively acquiring cloud services escalate, the appeal of managed cloud services will also continue to grow.

Next Steps

Navigating the AWS Partner Network

How to select an AWS partner

This was last published in April 2015

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Will you use managed cloud services? Why?
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Jeff, your catalog of challenges is spot on. I would add that the "daughter's cell phone bill" problem (as Merv Adrian of Gartner termed it), when cloud costs end up being far higher than planned due to lack of visibility into what's actually running and racking up charges, is another big one.
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