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The evolution of managed IT migrations

Gordon McKenna

Gordon McKenna
CTO, Public Cloud

With rapid disruption of businesses and business models being a reality today, multi-year transformations and migrations aren’t of much use. Yet, most businesses today struggle to deploy nimbler migration models while most managed service providers continue to deploy the old ways of migration and operations.

In the traditional legacy managed service provider world, there was really only one method of managing clients’ IT. MSPs moved clients’ servers from the client’s datacentre to their own. They locked those servers down and managed them, with the client having access to the applications and perhaps the operating system.

These migrations were still complex operations, as they are today. They required comprehensive equipment and applications inventories and detailed move plans, including plans of the equipment move sequence, back-up operations, installation and testing, and procedures for ongoing operations.

But the end result of all of this wasn’t anything special by modern standards.

Most service providers, offering extremely high availability up to the operating system and sometimes up to the application level, had to make sure that the environment was being controlled by a very small number of people in a very controlled and restricted way. Fundamentally, the whole environment was bolted down with a strict process in place that mitigated change.

Then public cloud came along.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) emerged in 2002, providing a suite of cloud-based infrastructure services including storage, computation and even human intelligence through the Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure, released a few years later in 2010, and the company has subsequently added hundreds of cloud services to its portfolio.

Fast forward to 2019, both companies dominate the cloud computing world, with drastically larger services portfolios, and public cloud has become far more prevalent in the world of enterprise computing.

As the cloud and adoption rates evolved, so too did the demands and the needs of clients.

Availability and SLAs used to be the main concerns of business. Nowadays, while those things are still important, companies tend to think more in terms of capabilities and competitiveness. It’s about flexibility, innovation, and agility; it’s about being the disruptor, and not the disrupted. It’s all very different to the old static world, with updates on slow yearly cycles.

Some MSPs failed to adapt to this new operating model, and the new way that businesses were thinking about IT. They transitioned clients to the cloud using the old model. It was still about the lift and shift, replatforming, and refactoring – with little thought for what came after.

But given the power and potential of cloud computing, a different kind of approach was needed – one that allowed clients to deploy fast, fail fast, and innovate fast; a strategy that was long term, that didn’t come to an arbitrary end after the migration was complete.

That gap in the market was why, after extensive consultation with partners and clients, Ensono created what we call our ‘Cloud Transform Framework’, and more specifically, a section of this framework called Cloud Operate – a brand new way of operating our clients’ environment in the cloud.

An end-to-end tailored approach that helps businesses be nimble and achieve impact quickly is critical.

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