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A survey of 326 IT executives conducted by the market research firm Omdia on behalf of Canonical, finds only 6 percent are relying on a managed service provider (MSP) to manage cloud infrastructure.

However, the same survey also finds that 83 percent have seen spending on cloud infrastructure expenses increase over the last two years and that 23 percent have no visibility into how much they are spending. Only 58 percent said they believe their public cloud costs are predictable. Well over half (57 percent) do feel they are paying “a lot” for cloud infrastructure even though more than half (53 percent) noted they qualify for discounts on cloud services offered by providers.

The most widely employed cloud service providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS) at 60 percent, Microsoft Azure (49 percent) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) (33 percent). The most widely deployed software on cloud infrastructure are web applications (57 percent), followed by file storage (52 percent) and databases (51 percent).

Greater scrutiny of cloud costs creates opportunities for MSPs

During uncertain economic times there is naturally more attention being paid to the total cost of IT. Cloud costs have become a much larger percentage of IT budget which is leading to more scrutiny of how cloud resources are being consumed. Therein lies an opportunity for MSPs to play a larger role in managing cloud infrastructure at a time when FinOps is starting to gain traction as a framework for managing cloud infrastructure resources more programmatically.

For example, a large percentage of cloud infrastructure is still manually provisioned by developers using scripting frameworks. But developers also tend to make mistakes when provisioning cloud resources that can result in data being exfiltrated by cybercriminals via a port inadvertently left open.

In addition, it’s worth noting that cloud infrastructure is becoming more difficult to manage as organizations employ multiple providers of these services. The odds an internal organization will have the skills needed to effectively manage multiple clouds is low indeed.

Finally, cloud computing environments are evolving as more cloud-native applications are being built and deployed. The bulk of applications running in the cloud today are monolithic. As such, they typically consume a set of IT infrastructure resources dedicated to running that application. Cloud-native applications take advantage of Kubernetes to scale consumption of IT infrastructure more efficiently so over time the cost of running a cloud-native application should be less than a monolithic application.

Capacity planning can add structure to cloud management

It’s still early days as far as deployment of cloud-native applications is concerned so the bulk of applications running in the cloud will continue to be monolithic for many years to come. The one thing that is certain is cloud computing environments are going to become even more challenging to manage than they already are.

The management of cloud computing will inevitably need to become more structured. The issue is many organizations that have never known anything other than the cloud may not even be aware of what capacity planning as an IT discipline even is. The one thing that is certain is the more costly cloud computing becomes, the more likely an organization is going to be amenable to a little extra help.

Photo: FrentaN / 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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