What Can I Expect from Microsoft Azure Managed Services?

Stacy Cote

If you’re considering migrating to the cloud but don’t have the in-house talent or bandwidth to manage the transition, it can be a daunting project too easy to put on hold. Increasingly, organizations want the flexibility, cost savings, and rapid application deployments available with Microsoft Azure solutions. Now, thanks to the rapid growth of Microsoft Azure managed services providers (MSPs), it’s possible to partner with a third party to get the insights, support, and day-to-day management you need to make the most of these tools without overburdening your staff. Here’s a closer look at what to expect from a Microsoft Azure managed services provider.

What Is a Managed Services Provider?

A managed services provider supports your Microsoft Azure systems and applications, or helps you extend your capabilities. An MSP provides knowledgeable insights to help you determine what you need, designs your ideal cloud solution, manages your migration, and then provides ongoing management and optimization support.

Cloud Assessment and Planning Services

Cloud assessment and planning services help customers at the beginning of their cloud journey to understand what it’s going to take to make a successful transition. Typically, the process begins with a detailed analysis of the current environment, workloads, applications, and technology. Then, based on your unique goals, the MSP can help you plan and design a Microsoft Azure solution that’s right for your unique needs.

Right-sizing Solutions

Microsoft Azure can be a cost-effective way to access the cloud and pay only for what you use. Expert Azure MSPs can look at your historical performance and planned usage to strategically recommend deployments and approaches that best fit your needs—while keeping costs in check. To assist with long-term planning, an MSP can help you understand the total cost of ownership, show you how to scale up or down as your needs change, and recommend specific options (such as annualized purchasing) that can reduce costs.

Managing Cloud Migrations and Deployments

A critical, hands-on aspect of Azure MSP services includes overseeing cloud migrations and deployments. An MSP can help guide your team from the planning phase to the active migrations—or handle the entire process for you. This includes migrating your data and determining the best path forward for your applications: decommissioned, re-platformed, remediated, or consolidated. Leveraging best practices, they can help determine how to provide a seamless migration that minimizes downtime and impact on users.

Ongoing Operations Management and Configuration Oversight

Once your data is in the cloud, an MSP really shines by providing the day-to-day ongoing management support needed to optimize performance. These services can include automation and orchestration, patching updates, configuration management, backup and disaster recovery, and identity management. This support can also include ongoing configurations management, such as password resets, policy management, and troubleshooting operations and changes.

Cloud Monitoring Services

With cloud monitoring services, an MSP can provide you with 24/7 support to ensure that your systems and applications are operating efficiently. This service can include systems health monitoring for factors such as CPU and disk utilization, memory usage, and OS performance. At the application level, individual solutions can be monitored for speed, performance, and security to provide the best user experience possible. Not only do Managed Services Providers actively and remotely monitor all aspects of the Azure environment, but they take steps to remediate any issue. Monthly reports can provide key insights on performance, cost, and usage, as well as complete visibility into the health of your environment.

Customer Support

Even with robust remote monitoring, challenges can arise. A managed services provider ensures that your IT team and any affected end users have knowledgeable customer support that’s available to them 24/7. With an MSP, you don’t need to identify the cause of the outage or understand what steps need to be taken to fix it. Instead, simply contact your partner and you’ll get the support needed to get your systems back online—all while freeing you up to focus on your core business.

Ongoing Microsoft Azure Upgrades and Optimization

Managed services providers can also help existing Microsoft Azure users get more out of their deployment. Whether you’re seeking to build on a pilot project and expand your usage across the organization, or take key steps to use more of the features that are available, an MSP can assess your current landscape, report back what they find, and then provide a roadmap to get more value from the cloud. With optimization, the assessments occur after deployments are done and help ensure that you keep your technology growing at the same rapid pace as your business needs.

Related: 5 Things to Look for in a Microsoft Managed Services Provider

If you’re thinking about moving to the cloud and embracing Microsoft Azure, it can seem like a big step. With the expertise, support, and insights of an experience Azure managed services provider, you don’t have to go it alone. Learn more about how Connection’s managed services solutions can help you successfully migrate to the cloud today.

Stacy is the manager of Microsoft Cloud Solutions Program Operations at Connection. Stacy is a Microsoft Certified Professional with software licensing experience across all Microsoft product lines and five years of specialization in cloud products. In her free time, Stacy enjoys cooking and spending time with her three children.