One of the cornerstones of an IT department has always been a Managed Service Provider. These MSPs were put in place to manage and monitor resources at a physical, local level and ensure that a company was getting the most they could for their dollar. Now, as small and large businesses alike trend toward both virtual and cloud solutions, some MSPs are concerned that they may end up on the endangered list of IT jobs.
With the advent of the virtualization, companies began to move some of their data to off-site storage locations, and once virtualization achieved mainstream status, talk of the cloud began. Both public and private clouds offer businesses of all sizes the chance to move their data off-site and take advantage of applications, networks and systems they need from half a world away, instead of depending on their own physical hardware. This has meant a shift away from the need for MSPs, as physical server numbers have declined and companies focus more and more on the virtual – which already comes with managers and monitors not only built right in, but taking care of it in its new physical home.
But MSPs shouldn’t despair just yet as there are a number of avenues left to pursue. One is consulting – cloud consulting is a simple leap for most MSPs to make, and will become big business in the coming years. Another is to refine the MSP role to deal with hybrid clouds, in which some of the cloud is off-site, and some of it is on. This is becoming more common as companies see the need to hang on to mission critical data, and the hybrid cloud offers a unique way for an MSP to stay in the game.