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Something akin to a paradox has emerged when it comes to the management of IT infrastructure on the age of the cloud. A new survey of 401 IT leaders conducted by Dimensional Research on behalf of Virtual Instruments, a provider of IT infrastructure performance monitoring tools, finds 65 percent are concerned about the perceived value of internal IT infrastructure team as more application workloads move into the cloud.

And yet, the same survey finds when it comes to outages, nearly a third (30 percent) are more worried about public cloud infrastructure. Another 31 percent say they worry about cloud and on-premises IT infrastructure, while a remaining 39 percent say they worry more about internal IT infrastructure. 

Concerns about internal IT infrastructure are usually tied to the age of the equipment being managed. But the survey also makes it clear that IT leaders are not necessarily buying into the notion that modern infrastructure deployed by cloud service providers (CSPs) is magically alleviating all their infrastructure concerns.

The survey makes it clear that IT organizations — despite a plethora of monitoring tools — don’t have much visibility into what is occurring across an increasingly extended enterprise. Nearly half (47 percent) of all application outages are directly attributable to infrastructure issues, even though 71 percent of respondents say their IT organization employs five or more tools for monitoring IT infrastructure. Despite those tools, over half (54 percent) say they have limited or minimal visibility into applications and infrastructure. Only 25 percent claim they can rapidly determine the root cause of an application issue. Not surprisingly, only 38 percent are highly confident that their IT infrastructure will be able to meet their application requirements over the next two years.

Overall, the survey finds 86 percent of respondents say their organizations experiences two or more outages a year. A total of 61 percent of respondents also admit their organization also experiences four or more significant application slowdowns a year. Those outages and performance issues impact both employees (86 percent) and end customers (79 percent) alike.

The primary sources of infrastructure issues are the network (71 percent), servers (66 percent), storage I/O (46 percent) and storage networking (42 percent).

What this means for managed service providers

The last two combined mean that nearly half of all issues to one degree or another involve storage, notes Len Rosenthal, chief marketing officer for Virtual Instruments.

In general, Rosenthal says whether applications are deployed on-premises or in the cloud, the state of those applications changes in ways that IT organizations don’t often account for.

“The number of users and application patterns tend to change over time,” says Rosenthal.

Clearly, all these IT infrastructure issues create an opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs). With the rise of the cloud and the emergence of so-called cloud native applications based on microservices, IT management is only going to become more complex. It’s already apparent that most IT organizations are already struggling. The challenge MSPs face is finding a way to help internal IT teams to solve those issues in a way that isn’t perceived as an existential threat to their existence. The good news is that most internal IT teams know they need help; they just don’t want everybody outside the IT department to precisely know how much.

Photo:  ra2studio / Shutterstock.

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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