A new survey of 500 IT professionals published by INAP, a provider of managed services, suggests the rate at which application workloads will be shifting away from on-premises IT environments in 2019 is about to accelerate. The INAP survey finds that while 85 percent of survey respondents work for organizations that still own data centers, 55 percent of those respondents also rely on IT infrastructure in cloud or dedicated hosting environments. Just over a third (34 percent) also make use of a colocation data center.

The big issue for MSPs is the percentage of the workloads running in these various environments that are managed by them versus an internal IT staff. The INAP survey finds over half the workloads in the cloud (52 percent) are delivered as a managed service, compared to only 19 percent deployed as managed dedicated servers. Another 38 percent of respondents are also running workloads in a co-location facility.

Most of the managed services in the cloud today are delivered by cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google. As the application workload environment continues to evolve, it’s clear there will be greater demand for managed services that not only span multiple clouds, but also on-premises IT environments. Just because a workload was developed in one location, does not mean that workload will run in the same place once it gets deployed in a production environment.

Challenges created by the migration to the public cloud

The survey finds the top three reasons for shifting workloads to the public cloud are improved resiliency (44 percent), improved security (38 percent) and improved network performance (36 percent). Overall, survey respondents ranked their top two challenges as protecting the organization from cyberattacks (36 percent) and migrating applications to the cloud (34 percent). Tied for third are adopting and/or managing a multi-cloud strategy and scaling infrastructure for business growth at 28 percent each.

The issue of most interest for MSPs is the level of stress and fatigue being experience by internal IT teams. Well over half the survey respondents (58 percent) say they are frustrated by the amount of time they spend on routine IT tasks. The top three areas where IT professionals say they are spending too much time are monitoring (25 percent), user administration and access control (23 percent) and server and data management (21 percent).

The survey also notes that on average, IT professionals have their personal time interrupted six times per month by infrastructure-related issues.

Clearly, many internal IT organizations need more outside help in specific areas. The real challenge is making it acceptable for them to seek the help they need, from a psychological perspective. After all, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity. Alas, too many internal IT professionals still view managed services as an existential threat to their existence.

The irony now is that many of them have no issue with relying on managed services when it involves a public cloud. Therefore, MSPs should consider positioning their offerings as the equivalent of a cloud computing experience, except delivered on-premises or in a co-location facility. After all, if an IT organization is already relying on a managed service in one physical location, it’s hard to object to applying the same concept somewhere else closer to home.

Photo: Jesse Bowser / Unsplash

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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