Many organizations are drawn to Amazon Web Services (AWS) because of how quick and easy it is to provision new infrastructure to either augment or replace existing infrastructure. At first blush, AWS capabilities — instant access to resources, pay-as-you-grow economics, infrastructure as code, and near limitless capacity — are very appealing.
However, at some point, most businesses realize that operating infrastructure in AWS is not as simple as they had first imagined. It is not uncommon for companies to encounter one or more of the following challenges after moving workloads to AWS:
Compliance audits: The organization’s AWS environment is subject to an audit for the first time, and the organization realizes that they cannot prove that their AWS environment meets their compliance requirements.
Architectural uncertainty: The organization has production workloads running in AWS but does not know how well those workloads were architected; they do not know whether their design is vulnerable, or if it is architected to best practices.
Unplanned downtime: An unexpected infrastructure or application outage may expose flaws in the organization’s AWS implementation. For instance, service recovery may take far longer than the organization expected resulting in penalties for SLA violations.
Skills gap: Developers at an organization often create AWS deployment templates and instruct the IT staff on how to provision the environment into production. Once the environment is in production, though, the IT staff do not know how to support or maintain it.
Attrition: If the organization’s primary AWS subject-matter-expert goes on vacation or leaves the company, the company may be left unable to support their AWS environment.
Searching for Answers
When faced with these problems, organizations often question their decision to move to cloud, followed by a review of their approach to cloud operations. Because of the time required and scarcity of available talent, customers may choose to engage a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to manage their AWS infrastructure for them. An MSP with deep experience running AWS infrastructure and workloads can not only provide guidance on ways to improve the environment and increase availability, they can also implement the required changes. Examples include:
Compliance audits: If you are faced with a compliance audit for PCI or SOX3, it makes sense to engage an MSP that specializes those audits. Not only will they assist you with passing your current audit, but they can ensure that your environment remains within compliance as requirements change over time.
Best practices reviews: An MSP that is a member of the AWS Well-Architected Review Program (WARP) can perform comprehensive assessments against AWS’ five pillars of a well-architected cloud environment. They can also develop and implement a remediation plan to refine or re-architect your environment to align it with Best Practices principles. Many MSPs will include an annual WARP with their customers, and often AWS will offer incentives for remediation steps recommended by a WARP.
Unplanned downtime: An MSP with a focus in Solutions Architecture can help design an AWS environment to align with SLA requirements. They can also implement the design if the organization does not have the resources available to perform the work.
Skills gaps and attrition: An obvious benefit to engaging an MSP is that the they become responsible for hiring and retaining knowledgeable resources. Because attracting and retaining capable talent is a core competency for MSPs, they can source and deliver knowledgeable resources with technical depth in AWS.
It is important to choose an MSP with the capabilities to address your specific pain points. Most MSPs will say they can address some or all of the challenges above, but finding one that has advanced AWS skills and certifications will yield a much better result.
With over 30 years of experience providing consulting, professional, and managed services, Taos is a trusted resource for hundreds of organizations. Our consultants have more than 125 AWS technical certification along with deep cloud experience that span the cloud lifecycle from requirements, through design, deployment, transition, operations, and ongoing optimization. Taos is an AWS Advanced Partner with the DevOps Competency certification. We are also part of the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) as well as the Well-Architected Review Program (WARP).
If you need help along your AWS journey, Taos is here to help.