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Amazon Web Services has announced AWS Managed Services. Intended for Fortune 1,000/Global 2,000 enterprises, AWS Managed Services is designed to accelerate adoption of the AWS cloud by automating common IT operational processes and providing full lifecycle services to provision, run, and support its cloud environments. The service was designed with partners in mind and will be available initially in AWS's US East, US West, EU (Ireland), and Asia-Pacific (Sydney) regions.

If you're a managed services provider or SI with a line in private cloud, AWS has just become a bigger threat

AWS has been working on its Managed Services offer with large enterprise customers and partners for a couple of years. The service's feature set includes all the infrastructure management tasks for which IT operations staff, whether in-house or outsourced, are typically responsible: incident monitoring and resolution, change control, provisioning, patch management, security and access management, backup and restore, and reporting – essentially, the tasks described by the ITIL model that most IT organizations have adopted for their on-premise operations, but applied to their AWS infrastructure.

AWS has a history of working with large enterprises to deliver the features and functions they want, and Amazon itself is a pretty large enterprise, for which AWS has designed many of these largely automated managed services. The new service enables customers and service providers to connect their existing IT service management tools to AWS Managed Services using an application programming interface (API) or to use command-line interface (CLI) tools. Customers can also access the service through the AWS Management Console, but realistically most customers and service providers will want to use their existing management tools and connect via the API or CLI.

What's the big deal? After all, AWS is offering managed services only for its own cloud, and the majority of large enterprise customers have truly hybrid IT environments, in which public cloud (excluding SaaS) probably accounts for no more than 5–6% of their workload deployments. That may be, but most traditional systems integrators and providers of IT managed services make their money out of managing legacy IT and building or hosting fully managed private clouds into which they can migrate their customers' legacy production workloads. Now AWS comes along with highly automated infrastructure management that's more efficient than most private clouds and very competitively priced – and it won't lock you into five-year contract either. Put that together with its ability to deliver the service from its regional locations, virtual private cloud network isolation, and more secure data center infrastructure than most large enterprises currently enjoy, and AWS has a very credible alternative to the service providers' private clouds.

This doesn't change the game overnight. Enterprises will still go to SIs and service providers to manage the entirety of their IT environments. They will still use their service providers to help them modernize, migrate, and manage their applications in the cloud. They will still use SIs to manage their hybrid IT evolution. But those IT service providers and SIs that concentrate on managed infrastructure services had better watch out. AWS is threatening to take a bite out of their business, and it's the private cloud cherry that it has its eye on.



Ian Brown, Senior Analyst, Networks and Cloud Services

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