Cloud based managed service provisioning is the process of outsourcing IT support for cloud-based services. These services can include but aren’t limited to, disaster recovery, virtualization, gateway, and dedicated network services. The term ‘managed service provider’ (also referred to as a ‘MSP’) is sometimes used interchangeably with “platform managed service provider” or “infrastructure-as-a-service”. These providers provide virtual infrastructure as well as application service providers on demand.
The concept of managed services started with the internet. The internet’s premise was built upon the idea that users need fast and reliable access to key services like email, messaging, and file storage. This was accomplished by developing a model where users would own and maintain the infrastructure, while internet service providers would provide the applications and the connectivity to the end-users. This model called for a managed service provider (MSP) who would act as an intermediary and offer platform solutions to the users.
These types of businesses grew out of the cloud service providers’ desire to provide a better way of providing these services to their clients. They wanted to simplify their IT support staff while still maintaining control and accountability over the end-user’s environments. The key to this concept was virtualization. Software virtualization provided the tools that allowed for easy creation of virtual environments. Virtualization also reduced IT costs by reducing server needs, maintenance, and backup, and increasing server reliability. These are the primary reasons why software virtualization is used for the management of hosting environments today.
Business continuity, or also known as business recovery, is another advantage of cloud environments. With this service, an MSP manages the continuity of a company’s information technology infrastructure. This allows companies to create a cloud environment which is more stable and has the ability to withstand disasters such as failure of servers or networks. With disaster recovery, users can easily restore their data from a previous point in time. It also allows them to restore critical business applications and data which can lead to a better financial outlook and operating efficiency.
These advantages have made virtualization and disaster recovery planning a must for many businesses. While it used to be difficult for companies to make these investments, thanks to technology improvements, it is now easier than ever. Many companies prefer to use a managed service provider (MSP) for this purpose, since it offers the best return on investment. For instance, a business can get four to five times more value for each dollar spent on a managed service provider than they would get with a stand-alone disaster recovery plan.
There are two primary ways to utilize these Managed Service Providers (MSPs): on-demand and off-demand. On-demand refers to the application of resources when they are needed. In the event that a company does not have a dedicated IT team, an MSP will deploy and manage a set of tools and applications to handle their workloads. The applications deployed by an MSP can be managed directly by the IT team, or they can be hosted in a data center or a remote location. By deploying applications and tools, the IT team can quickly identify potential issues with the infrastructure and quickly implement solutions.
Off-demand managed services refer to the utilization of managed services and resources. Since there is no centralized IT infrastructure, off-demand managed services refer to the deployment of resources when they are needed. This is a more expensive option than on-demand, since the resources do not need to be backed up and secured by a trusted third-party. However, the benefits of a virtualized disaster recovery and virtualized infrastructure allow for the execution of more functions in less time than with on-demand resources. Furthermore, since the resources are managed through a service provider, users can have access to a variety of tools and applications that they would not be able to achieve without the backing and security of a service provider.
The benefits of virtualization to an MSP include the ability to reduce IT costs, provide a higher level of operational efficiency, and enable access to a wide range of applications and tools. Virtualization and disaster recovery can help companies reduce costs by improving the time it takes for a company to restore operations to normal conditions, reducing IT costs by reducing training expenses, and allowing users to access a variety of applications and tools. Additionally, virtualization and disaster recovery can provide access to applications and tools that may be outside of the company’s infrastructure, increasing efficiency by reducing the time it takes for applications and tools to be available in a remote site. These benefits also allow companies to make greater use of their in-house IT professionals, while decreasing IT costs associated with hiring additional staff to support these activities. Finally, by providing disaster recovery and virtualization as an integrated solution, businesses can ensure that they maintain continuity at all levels, including their own in-house IT department.