Not surprisingly, most IT organizations are paying a lot more attention these days to cloud optimization in the wake of the economic downturn driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. While much of that focus may initially begin with the goal of reducing the cost of running workloads, before too long, many organizations wind up reinvesting whatever savings they generate into deploying additional application workloads.

In fact, one of the major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has the accelerated rate at which applications have been migrating to the cloud. Many organizations have sped up the long term plans they had in place to eventually shut down local data centers, simply because it’s now easier for IT teams working from home to remotely build and deploy applications in the cloud.

Reliance on MSPs

However, cloud migrations of this magnitude rarely happen of their own accord. Organizations rely heavily on external IT resources and expertise to make those migrations. Now, many of these same organizations are finding that managing cloud computing environments is becoming even more challenging. As a result, demand for cloud optimization expertise continues to rise sharply despite the state of the overall global economy.

Recognizing this issue, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is now providing IT teams with additional free credits if they conduct a review of their cloud computing environments using a Well-Architected Framework it has created for this express purpose. Microsoft is in the process of defining a similar set of best practices for Azure cloud deployments.

Both AWS and Microsoft are certifying partners to conduct these reviews on behalf of their clients. The cloud service providers are anxious to reduce the number of support calls being generated by IT organizations that have for one reason or another either sub-optimally configured their cloud computing environment or, created a security vulnerability because some element of that environment has been misconfigured altogether. AWS is also working with providers of cloud optimization tools such as nOps and distributors such as Ingram Micro to automate as much of that review process as possible.

Greater efficiency

The primary benefit to IT services providers that conduct these reviews is that they gain insights into deployment issues that generate demand for their expertise. As machine learning algorithms continue to advance, the amount of time required to conduct these reviews is also dropping dramatically. This week during the online AWS re:Invent conference, for example, AWS unfurled Amazon DevOps Guru, a fully-managed operations service that uses machine learning to automatically detect operational issues and recommending specific actions for remediation.

Regardless of how reviews are conducted, the goal should be to enable organization to maximize the return on investment they are making in the cloud. The cost of contracting external IT expertise will appear relatively trivial compared to either the costs reduced or, more likely, the efficiency gains that enable organizations to deploy more cloud applications. In terms of potential margins for IT services providers that means cloud reviews are about to become proverbial gift that keeps on giving for years to come.

Photo: NeoLeo / Shutterstock

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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