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What Is a Managed Cloud Service?

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A cloud-managed service is a cloud service in which the managed cloud service provider (MCSP) is fully or partially responsible for the management, maintenance, and operation of the service.

What Is a Managed Cloud Service?

A managed cloud service involves the outsourcing of the management of an organisation’s cloud resources and infrastructure to a third-party provider. The provider ensures that the business’s cloud infrastructure is running efficiently and may be responsible for the complete management and control of all the organisation’s cloud infrastructure or just specific services or applications. Responsibilities often include configuration, maintenance, optimisation, security, and migration.

Bringing on a managed cloud service frees organisations from the responsibility of purchasing and maintaining IT resources, such as servers, software, and networking components. Managed service providers may also offer additional supporting services, such as data backup and recovery and infrastructure monitoring.

How Managed Cloud Services Work

With managed cloud services, customers don’t need to set up, install, configure, or maintain software or hardware. The service provider owns, operates, and maintains the data centers and physical infrastructure, and then makes them available via the cloud. 

Customers pay for these services using a subscription model and access resources through a web browser or API. The service provider ensures resources are always available and up-to-date, and provides support for issue resolution and other services like performance monitoring, and security. Providers can deliver managed services on premises, via public cloud, or in a hybrid environment.

Common Types of Managed Cloud Services

Managed service providers offer a wide range of cloud services that allow organisations to tailor their solutions to their business needs, including:

IaaS

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a cloud service that allows organisations to rent or lease virtual computing resources, such as infrastructure, processing power, storage, and networking components on demand from a third-party provider. Using IaaS, organisations can assemble and manage their own virtual data centers while maintaining a greater level of control over their infrastructure. 

PaaS

Platform as a service (PaaS) is a cloud-based solution that gives developers access to an application development platform, including development tools, operating systems, middleware, and databases, using virtualisation. Developers can develop, test, and manage applications in the cloud without having to maintain the underlying platform. 

SaaS

Software as a service (SaaS) delivers complete ready-to-use, cloud-based applications via the internet on a subscription model. SaaS applications are typically multi-tenant with users purchasing licenses to access the same copy of the software, rather than purchasing individual copies of their own. 

BMaaS

Bare metal as a service (BMaaS) is a subset of IaaS, in which MCSPs deploy dedicated physical servers to an organisation on a pay-per-use basis. Unlike traditional IaaS, BMaaS servers do not come with virtualised compute, network, and storage. Customers have exclusive use of the hardware and almost total control over the configuration and management of its infrastructure. 

StaaS

Storage as a service (STaaS) makes storage capacity available from a cloud provider on a subscription basis. Typical STaaS offerings include raw storage volumes, bare metal storage capacity, storage objects, network file systems, and storage applications. 

Commonly Used Managed Cloud Service Providers

Many managed cloud service providers offer a range of cloud computing services to businesses. Some of the most commonly used managed cloud service providers are:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS is the largest and most popular cloud service provider, offering over 165 fully featured services in 78 availability zones (AZs) within 25 global geographic regions. Popular services include Virtual Private Cloud, EC2, and Elastic Compute Cloud.
  • Microsoft Azure: Microsoft Azure is the second-largest global cloud service provider and one of the fastest-growing clouds with more global data centers than any other cloud provider. Azure offers hundreds of services in 60 regions and 116 availability zones across categories including analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), databases, developer tools, DevOps, internet of things (IoT), and more.
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP): GCP is Google’s cloud computing platform and infrastructure known for its powerful AI and ML capabilities. GCP offers a wide range of services in over 200 countries in 34 regions and 103 availability zones. Cloud services provided through GCP include serverless computing, storage, compute, data analytics, AI, ML, API management, and more.

Managed Cloud Service vs. Cloud Computing: Differences

Cloud computing delivers computing resources such as software, platforms, and infrastructure via the internet on a pay-as-you-go (PaYG) basis. Users have complete control over the cloud resources and handle the management and maintenance of them.

In a managed cloud service solution, on the other hand, the service provider has control over the cloud infrastructure and is fully responsible for the operation, maintenance, monitoring, availability, and support of the cloud services they provide. Providers may limit how users can use and configure resources. 

Managed Cloud Service vs. Bare Metal: Differences

Bare metal is a physical, non-virtualised server with no operating system (OS) or software installed. Bare metal servers are dedicated to a single user who is fully responsible for its management and maintenance, including the installation and configuration of the OS and software and the patching, updating, monitoring, and troubleshooting of the server.

A managed cloud service is a virtualised service delivered over the internet and shared among multiple users. The service includes the management, maintenance, and support of the associated cloud resources by the service provider and customers pay for the service using a PaYG model.

Benefits of a Managed Cloud Service

Managed cloud services offer several benefits to organisations, including:

Customized Services

MCSPs can help you determine the services that best fit your workloads, especially if you want to create a hybrid or multi-cloud environment that is more complex to configure than a single-cloud deployment.  

Scalability

Managed cloud services enable you to deploy additional resources on an as-needed basis and pay only for the additional resources you use. This means you can quickly and easily provision resources to adapt to changing business requirements without the expense of purchasing additional resources and infrastructure. 

Cost-effectiveness

With managed cloud services, you only pay for the resources you use. This is not only more cost-effective than purchasing and maintaining your own hardware and software, but it also helps you to monitor your budget and control IT costs. 

Security

Managed cloud service providers implement security controls, threat monitoring mechanisms, and the relevant compliance regulations and standards to improve data security. 

Improved Availability and Reliability

Managed service providers employ measures such as redundancy to guarantee reliable access to all your cloud resources. In the event of a failure, the system will automatically fail over to the next redundant instance to ensure continued access to services. 

Disadvantages of a Managed Cloud Service

Despite its many benefits, such as customization, cost-effectiveness, and scalability, managed cloud services come with some drawbacks, including: 

Dependence on the Service Provider

Because the provider wholly manages and maintains the managed cloud services, you rely on the provider to maintain availability and performance. If there’s a service outage at the provider’s end, it could affect your ability to access and use the services. 

Security Concerns

Managed cloud services use a multi-tenant model where multiple customers share the same resources, and customer data is stored in the same location. If strict security measures are not in place, there’s the risk that your organisation's sensitive data could be exposed to other tenants. 

Limited Control

With a managed cloud service, all cloud infrastructure is built, managed, and maintained by the service provider. This means you have less control over how services are used and implemented, limiting your ability to support custom or unique business requirements. 

When to Use Managed Cloud Services: Examples

Managed cloud services can be a good choice in a variety of different scenarios. Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Disaster recovery solutions: Managed cloud services can be used as part of a disaster recovery plan to provide backup and recovery services in the event of a disaster or system failure. With a disaster recovery as a service solution, failover is quick and easy, and you don’t need to build and maintain your own infrastructure.
  • Big data analytics: Big data applications require high-performance storage solutions that can handle large volumes of data. The cloud is an excellent resource for storing, managing, and analysing this data. Managed cloud services can provide the capacity you need for storing and processing large data sets with tools such as Spark and Hadoop.
  • Internet of things (IoT): IoT sensors generate large volumes of data that need to be analysed quickly and efficiently. Managed cloud services can provide the infrastructure, speed, scalability, and support necessary for storing, processing, and analysing data generated from IoT devices and systems.

Tap Into the Benefits of Managed Cloud Services with Pure

Pure Storage® offers several “as-a-service” solutions that enable your organisation to leverage the benefits of managed cloud services, including: 

Evergreen//One™ (formerly Pure as-a-Service™): Get the security and performance of an all-flash infrastructure with the agility and flexibility of the public cloud in a simple, flexible subscription model.

Evergreen//Flex™: Own flexible storage on your terms. Maintain complete ownership in a flexible subscription, based on your utilization of purchased capacity.

Pure Cloud Block Store™: Create flexible hybrid-cloud solutions with AWS or Microsoft Azure and pay as you go.

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