IT suppliers must ensure they can work with customers’ existing infrastructure and not just push cloud, argues MCSA’s Paul Timms
There may be growth in the outsourcing of infrastructure to the cloud and the continued acceptance of software delivered as a service, but many end-user IT teams are not getting caught up in the hype and are carefully assessing what makes sense for their business. Much of the landscape at the infrastructure level is evolution, not revolution, and although there is great value in looking forward, progression must be made at a considered pace.
Most existing datacentre-based, critical enterprise solutions that underpin organisations’ operations are still revered by IT teams. In fact, across many banks, power stations and government departments, a range of legacy equipment – including 25-year-old machines – are still being supported and are still running reliably and effectively.
Most end-user IT teams want to underpin their own skills with flexible support of their infrastructure now and in the near future. This means that IT support partners must understand the cloud in all its forms, whether that is physical, in a remote datacentre, in a hyper-scale provider such as MS Azure, or a hybrid cloud platform.
This evolution that can be seen in the break-fix market is also being driven by the vendors who covet quality IT service providers more than ever, and are looking to protect their IP and the amount of feature enhancement built into current hardware. Vendors are therefore encouraging end users to have a route back to them, directly or via a trusted partner.
The shift in IT services supplier focus gives customers a choice: the simple broker/maintainer option might be cheap, but if they don’t have the full skills and accreditations to equip them to deliver the right service, when it really matters, their value is limited. We see the increasing interactions between traditional infrastructure, networks and cloud bringing in a new level of complexity, where having the wrong support can result in very expensive outages and downtime for the business.
As many end-user IT teams evolve into the new way of creating their critical IT infrastructure, keeping existing datacentres going will prove just as important as choosing the right way ahead. Ultimately, service providers should have end users’ interests at heart and deliver advice first, then provide a solution that results from a clear understanding of their business needs. It is this understanding, rather than simply a need to sell cloud space, that will deliver the best possible outcomes for customers – and further elevate the reputation of the IT sector.