People generally agree on what the term "Managed Services" means, right? Unfortunately, "Managed Services" is a bit more complicated than a surface-level term. It’s easy to roll a collection of services, products, and tasks under one broad umbrella statement and call it a day. However, the problem is most companies, product owners, IT managers, customers, and engineers have their own version of what a “Managed Service” actually is, as each one’s experiences are unique. Recently, pressure from consumers for clarity around the term and details of Managed Services necessitates exploration in the effort of yielding a more concise explanation.
Welcome to the CenturyLink Cloud, Managed Services.
Bringing Managed Services to the cloud is one of the many facets of the CenturyLink Cloud® Platform offerings.
Managed Services on CenturyLink Cloud provides experts at the ready to maintain and administer your cloud deployments for optimum performance and value. CenturyLink Cloud provides businesses with the power to instantly create managed environments for their most important applications such as production websites, SQL databases, and directory services. Additionally, managed workloads can be scaled with the same speed and agility people have come to expect from the public cloud.
Brief History of Managed Services
Managed Services started with break-fix. Over time, procedures and programs were developed to review logs and user information in order to search for issues before they cause disruptions. In the early 1990’s, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) was developed to monitor and manage systems and devices. This protocol and other remote management software built the foundation for current Managed Services.
Current Managed Services
Physical servers, workstations, and their hosted applications were the original beneficiaries of Managed Services. The scope of what was supported varied and often depended on the contract, the Operating System (OS), applications, databases, and the hardware. The Managed Services software in place today allows providers to work towards two major goals:
Information gathering: The software prowls data and systems searching for problematic symptoms and risks. The software then sends an alert before or when the problem occurs so the provider is aware and can react quickly.
Fixing Problems: The Managed Service Provider (MSP) analyzes the alerts remotely, and then prioritizes and fixes these problems. The management software enables access to vendor release updates, scripts, and remote servers. If hardware failures are to blame, the MSP coordinates with vendors to get replacement parts.
Managed Services are a philosophical change from break-fix mentality in that the focus is on prevention of issues before they disrupt users, management, and/or clients. Technology is such a critical part of every industry that an IT outage can negatively impact the business operations. For example, if the customer relationship management, procurement, or order fulfillment system goes down, the outage can negatively impact revenues and profits.
Cloud Managed Services
Cloud is increasingly becoming the popular destination for enterprise workloads. This shift is driven by a growing need for scalability and agility coupled with the necessity to lower costs associated with maintaining physical hardware and the preference to pay only for the resources consumed.
A common misconception is that a cloud services provider is synonymous with a managed services provider. The cloud itself can be a self-service portal or API-accessible product, meaning the ability to perform most management tasks is presented to users and developers like à la carte, thereby allowing users to pick their own solutions.
Enterprises require high availability, security and critical applications to run smoothly while being compliant to standards like PCI, HIPPA and SOX. A relatively new problem is many companies have been created in the cloud with little or no technical resources available to manage critical servers and applications.
To ensure high availability, MSPs can build, monitor, and manage a client's infrastructure including OS management, patching, backup, security, and compliance with SLA's at the Virtual Machine (VM) level. Additionally, MSPs may also offer Managed Application services for SAP, SAP HANA, and Oracle workloads.
Future of Cloud Managed Services
Time is money and time is of the essence, which means most clients seek true interoperability between multiple environments: physical, on-premise servers, co-located servers, multiple public clouds, and private clouds. To ensure harmony between environments, someone must coordinate the infrastructure. There is also an increased demand to bring historical performance data from the collective infrastructures to the senior leadership in an easily-consumable format to determine how and when to burst usage. In order to address the increasing complexity of enterprises, CenturyLink Cloud ties all the moving parts together for clients. We have embarked on a journey to develop NextGeneration Managed Cloud Services that ultimately will provide:
- A multi-cloud, multi-vendor management platform that enables enterprises to integrate hybrid cloud to the legacy data centers or colocation
- Automated seamless portability between Public and Private Clouds
- Enterprise-grade management capabilities to ensure security and compliance procedures are consistently applied across all cloud resources
- Optimization algorithm that enables users to put the right workload in the right places for the best price and performance models possible
- A single point to control and manage your cloud resources
- Access to historical performance data for all monitored servers regardless of location
- Regularly scheduled updates
- Automatic fault remediation
- Access to remote support resources
Today's cloud consumers demand fast, functional, intelligent offerings. In turn, this shift drives enterprises to become agile and incorporate speed and integration into every aspect of their business. CenturyLink Cloud provides a seamless platform for customers to consume all aspects of their business services via one intuitive, scalable, and on-demand interface, the key to enabling customer delight.
Platform CenturyLink is an operating environment that is automated, self-service, and programmable, thus enabling consumers and businesses to provision and customize our offerings anytime, anywhere.
By developing a clear outline of the advantages of integrating cloud-managed services into an enterprise suite, businesses can understand infrastructure-specific needs and provide common services for specific industries such as health care, retail, and manufacturing. Get Started with CenturyLink® Managed Cloud Services today.