Cloud Managed Services: How the Managed Cloud Has Transformed DevOps

Lee Hylton / July 19, 2018

Managed services in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, versus the ol’ on prem! My, have times changed. No more calling or going down to the data center to rack, diagnose, or repair hardware. No more pets to care for. A new reality in which all things are immutable, and with a lower startup cost than ever.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) has really transformed the landscape, creating more of a level playing field for cost management, automation, and development. It can be the trusted ally that helps to reinforce the culture of DevOps in an organization, or simply just a tool for the little guy(s) getting started on their pet project, enabling it to blossom into business in record time.

Managed services is at the core of this revolution — providing the needed oversight and resources to help legacy businesses and startups alike to manage costs and optimize the tools provided as a benefit of AWS residency. One example of a tool that is provided in the AWS Cloud with no additional licensing cost is AWS Systems Manager — a powerful suite that enables advanced maintenance automation, configuration compliance, and inventory management. For free. SSM does more, but those are great highlights.

Let’s talk deployments. IaaS solutions like Cloud Formation or Terraform (yay Terraform!!) have really made things more efficient. Being able to select a template to deploy initial monitoring functions in minutes is incredibly useful. Everyone enjoys having what they want sooner, rather than later.

Additionally, integration of Puppet or Chef in OpsWorks for configuration management has really been useful for those clients that need it.

I don’t know about you, but setting up a MySQL cluster has never taken me a couple of minutes with my own hardware or any of the other managed services that it comes with. How about Amazon RDS — with automated updates, snapshots, and check box to make it a cluster?  Modifying the size of the instances is incredibly easy — allowing me to increase (or decrease) resources on the fly.

Just the separation of monolithic services being broken down into microservices (email not on my web server? Yes please) and updating anything with the equivalent of a flick of the wrist, is so much more efficient. Just by updating my code, committing with Git, getting a quick pair of eyes on my change in a PR review, merge, and push, I can make a tiny change — or rebuild the entire infrastructure. Or, even better, our client’s dev team can make those changes, then we, as their partner, we can review and suggest changes or execute.

Having the community culture of DevOps in Managed Services, while providing best practices and structure so developers can focus more on OMG PLEASE WORK and less on the underlying infrastructure, so they can ensure maximum efficiency. Helping clients get their deployments out in a fast and timely manner is liquid gold to their business.

Having worked in the traditional on premise for many years before adopting AWS as an IaaS, I really enjoy the change. Being able to work more efficiently at hitting and exceeding client expectations, while increasing profitability, is a dream scenario for all MSPs.