What should my managed AWS service include?
The are many different flavours of managed AWS services available on the market. How do you find the one that's right for your team and evaluate it against a standard set of functionality?
In this article, we will have a look at what a managed AWS service should include and what's available directly from AWS and how CloudOps delivers a complete managed service for AWS & Azure.
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What is an AWS managed service?
A managed service is a cloud-based IT service that delivers a specific function, such as website hosting or data storage, on behalf of another company. The managed service provider (MSP) owns and operates the infrastructure and provides the associated management tools, while the customer pays a monthly fee for using the service.
Many independent software vendors (ISVs) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses then offer managed services that run over the top or alongside the services from the public cloud providers like AWS.
Why would I want a managed service?
The main benefit of using an AWS managed service is that it can help you to save time and money by outsourcing the management of a complex solution to a team of experts. This frees up your in-house IT staff to focus on other projects and tasks that are more closely aligned with your teams goals.
What should a managed AWS service include?
When you're considering a managed AWS service, there are a few key features that you should look for:
- Security - 24/7 monitoring and threat detection
- Incident management - Proactive monitoring for incident early warning and detection and fault recovery
- Automation - Automated processes such as scalable architecture based on demand
- Cost savings - Cost monitoring, alerts, analysis and recommendations to drive savings while maintaining performance
- AWS experts available - Access to AWS support and advisory services when needed
This should be the baseline for any managed AWS service and from reading the list it's pretty obvious that the first 4 points really need a software approach. A consultancy alone will not get you where you need to be with a robust AWS platform underpinning your business.
What should each of these service areas give your team?
- Security / Compliance - With a managed AWS service in place the security of your AWS deployment should be covered. This should no longer be a concern for your team, alerts and security audits should be included. Your AWS infrastructure should be security hardened to the level you need for your business operations
- Operational Efficiency - Elements such as auto-scaling should make your AWS deployment more cost-efficient and take advantage of the core benefits of cloud services to provide an on-demand approach
- Availability / Resilience - Often the network monitoring element of any managed AWS service is underestimated, this often gives you insights into your AWS deployments that improve availability and resilience or allow you to tweak these areas as needed
- Best practice - Your team should have confidence that the service will perform checks based on the well-architected framework (Best practices) and make recommendations to improve these areas if they are deficient. Risks or recommendations for action should also be recorded and actions to remediate recorded as well
- AWS Support - Access to a team of AWS-certified experts when needed, mainly for advice and support for changes/expansion of your AWS footprint acting as a cloud service delivery manager. Often you will find with cloud management software that your need for run-of-the-mill support will diminish
- Time - All of the above should free up your team to concentrate on your roadmap instead of firefighting your cloud infrastructure
All of these elements should collectively change the way your in-house team works with the cloud and the overhead/cost of running AWS infrastructure within your business.
What is AWS Managed Services (AMS) from Amazon?
Amazon the AWS company provides packaged AWS managed services (AMS), the full details of which can be found on their website along with details on other cloud services they offer. There are more resources and an explanation of where it becomes relevant in your cloud journey.
This service is also built around AWS best practices such as the well-architected framework.
One of the key questions is always how much does AWS managed services (AMS) cost?
The details for this are a bit light on the AWS website as it's noted you should contact sales for the full details.
This service covers all the areas mentioned so far in this article and its part of the standard AWS services, so why wouldn't you use it for your needs?
- If you have infrastructure running in another public cloud provider like Azure, then it wouldn't be covered
- The services require set-up and configuration and then a learning curve within your team as well
- Cost - this is discussed below
The underlying pricing model is explained and consists of:
- Pay-as-you-go approach (Consumption based)
- Only pay for the individual components you need as long as they are in use
- Calculated based on; the number of instances, usage fees of all other AWS services in use
From the example customers shown as case studies and the language used in the FAQ, this is a service aimed at enterprise customers. Like the AWS support plans, which we have covered in detail here, smaller customers or those running a custom application for their customers might not be a fit for this service due to cost.
How can a managed AWS service help my team manage AWS infrastructure?
Using AWS managed services that you put in place for your organisation should give you confidence and peace of mind. A core goal is that it should automate the day-to-day operations and free up your internal team.
This would allow you to get back to focusing on your core roadmap and goals for your business. This should give your team peace of mind that cloud management is looking after your AWS infrastructure 24/7 - All of the elements above allow you to move forward with confidence and stop firefighting AWS infrastructure issues. For more on this read our article about using CloudOps to enable NoOps. The NoOps movement looks at how you can automate your operations and then reassign those resources to development or other areas of the business.
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How does CloudOps deliver managed AWS services?
CloudOps from igroup provides unified cloud management, so it delivers each of the core areas identified above. It does this by integrating directly with both Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. As well as integrating the leading proven open-source cloud management tools into one portal.
Native cloud integration
CloudOps integrates directly with AWS & Azure for identity as well as pulling cost and performance telemetry.
- AWS: CloudFormation templates for easy setup using an External ID
- Azure: ARM templates for easy setup based on Azure Lighthouse
- AWS and Azure APIs - For direct access to cost and performance telemetry
CloudOps also brings together a group of best-of-breed open-source technologies for managing your cloud. Each of these links into the CloudOps cloud management portal and gives you the visibility you need of your AWS cloud.
- Prometheus (https://prometheus.io/docs/introduction/overview/)
- SaltStack (https://saltproject.io/)
- Jenkins (https://www.jenkins.io/)
- Zabbix (https://www.zabbix.com/)
- OSticket (https://osticket.com/)
Each of these technologies underpins a core functionality area within CloudOps and the microservices architecture of CloudOps allows us to plug in more tools as we develop the platform.
There are a number of other technologies used in CloudOps under the hood but these are the most well know.
All of this gives you the cloud management capabilities you need for your business in one self service cloud management solution that is plug and play with AWS and Azure.
IG CloudOps is a certified AWS partner (Our partner network listing is here) and CloudOps has passed the AWS Foundation review as well as being available in the Azure marketplace. You can also see customer reviews and feedback on Capterra and read our case studies to get an idea of how customers are using CloudOps.
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CloudOps is designed specifically to give you full transparency, control, and support, for your cloud infrastructure.
Steve Rastall - Managing Director
Get in touch: Steve.Rastall@igroupltd.co.uk
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