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Despite any investments IT organizations may have made to ensure high availability, a global survey of 374 data center managers finds 91 percent experienced at least one disruptive incident during the last 12 months, including downtime related to an outage (54 percent), a cyber or physical breach (38 percent) or some other form of unplanned downtime (34 percent).

Conducted by KRC Research on behalf of Honeywell, the survey finds those same managers are, not surprisingly, looking to reduce downtime (33 percent), improve operational technology (OT) cybersecurity (32 percent), and improve their ability to predict or identify problems (29 percent).

In terms of overall concerns, monitoring during lockdowns (93 percent); potential for downtime and closure (72 percent); OT cybersecurity (72 percent); and maintaining uptime (68 percent) are at the top of the list. In fact, a full 96 percent of respondents said remote management is or would be important to their data center facility, yet only just over a third (34 percent) said they have such a capability in place.

Other major priorities include being able to manage all building systems through a single platform that unifies data and insights (58 percent), the ability to reduce building energy usage to support sustainability goals (54 percent), automation and efficiency (38 percent), and improving energy efficiency (34 percent).

The on-premises data center remains popular

Even though disruptive incidents might be an argument for moving workloads to the cloud, well over two-thirds of all workloads are still running in on-premises IT environments. While some of those workloads might still be lifted and shifted to the cloud in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them will continue to run in those on-premises IT environments well through the end of the decade. As a result, the need for managed services that enable organizations to run and maintain those data centers is not likely to abate any time soon.

What is likely to change is the willingness of organizations to hire full time employees to manage IT operations in those data centers as more workloads shift to the cloud. Some organizations will naturally tend to look to managed service providers (MSPs) to help them manage workloads in the cloud because they lack that expertise, or the role of the IT staff is changing now that many of its members are working from home more frequently.

Just as many, however, will prefer to rely on external service providers to maintain their legacy IT environments. Regardless of which path is chosen, the number of workloads being deployed is beyond the ability of the internal IT teams to effectively manage.

More challenging still, IT environments, for all intents and purposes, are now by definition hybrid both in terms of where applications are deployed, and the types of applications being employed. Most new applications are built on microservices-based architectures that are significantly more complex to manage. These applications will be running alongside legacy monolithic applications well into the next decade.

MSPs can never be sure what workloads they might be asked to manage, but the one thing that is certain is they will be expected to manage any type of application regardless of where it might be running. Some MSPs may opt to specialize in one type of platform over another but the downside of that approach is it tends to limit the size of the total addressable market.

In any application environment, however, the most important things are uptime and, in the event of an outage, the ability to quickly recover. Given the number of disruptive incidents still occurring, MSPs that have skills in both those areas should find their services highly valued both inside and out of the cloud for years to come.

Photo: Andrii Yalanskyi / 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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