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Even in Azure, Stuff Happens!

Author: Howard M. Cohen

There’s a popular misconception, not just among Azure users, but about cloud users in general, that when you move workloads to the cloud, they take care of themselves.

As an IT Service Provider, you’ve surely faced this many times. It probably comes up when you’re talking with your customer about the importance of systems and network management, and security too. Customers have long had it marketed to them that the cloud relieves them of the burdens of running their IT. Not so much.

You know that. But how do you convince them?

By Definition, Nothing Manages Itself

Here’s a good place to start. Nothing manages itself.

How many great baseball players, even those sluggers who keep smacking them out of the park, how many don’t have a manager?

How many great ballet dancers, musicians, artisans, craftspeople, inventors, manufacturers, how many of them don’t have managers?

It’s the definition of management, something that makes sure something else does what it’s supposed to do at the highest possible level of quality.

Managing Azure

Much of what it takes to effectively manage an Azure implementation is accomplished using automation and artificial intelligence (AI) with many of the tools provided by Microsoft.

Effective management begins with configuring Azure to satisfy a specific customer’s requirements. This involves custom scripting, careful workload migration, constant adjustment, specialized intellectual property and significant expertise.

Day-to-day management of Azure operations requires more than tools, automation, AI, technology skills and know-how. It requires a superb team of professional people who are available at any time to respond to anomalies, action alerts, and respond to urgent requests who have the hands-on experience and insight that can only be gained over years.

Many Microsoft Partners who are actively and successfully selling Azure have not focused on building the systems and the team required to manage these ongoing critical operations for their Azure customers.

Idenxt has, and this enables those partners to still enjoy the significant additional recurring revenue produced by including ongoing management and security services in every Azure sale! Simply choose the services you wish to include, and then add the corresponding Idenxt line items to your Azure invoicing!

Then There’s the Wild Card

And that wild card is you, the user.

While digital devices and equipment are very reliable, and very consistent, people simply are not. Any person can make any kind of mistake at any time. Some may even make them on purpose at times. But literally any person can do something wrong inadvertently. We’re just not as consistent as digital devices. If there’s no monitoring and management in place, that simple error can become an enormous disaster.

If you have ten users, you have ten potential wild cards. If you have a hundred, or a thousand, or tens of thousands, your exposure grows exponentially.

It Doesn’t End with the Incident Itself

More and more businesses and industries are coming under regulations that require them to properly report any incidents that occur as soon as possible. In the heat of working to resolve the incident it is all too easy for everyone to overlook that requirement until the notice arrives that they’ve been fined.

Great Just Doesn’t Mean Infallible

When we’re persuading a customer to move their workloads to Azure the last thing we want to tell them is that Azure might fail in some way at some time.

But that’s not really the point.

In fact, in most cases it isn’t Azure that fails. Microsoft has worked tirelessly to create a platform that is truly resilient and redundant. Very seldom if ever do you hear about an Azure outage. And that’s great!

But Azure is connected to customers through a variety of networks which use many routers and switches along the way to move the data to where it needs to be. Most of these are not operated by Microsoft. In fact, most of them are not operated by the same operator. The internet brings together a vast variety of providers to create the global network we all depend upon. Simply put, there are always as many points of potential failure along the way whether you’re using Azure or a simple server in your own network closet.

When You Sell a Solution, Sell a Managed Solution

Remind your customers that it‘s their workloads that are at risk. So, its not about Azure or any other segment of the network they are seeking to manage. It’s the protection of their high-value data assets.

Explain that management begins with proactive monitoring, and that means there is something actively looking for trouble. Beyond detecting anomalies when they occur, proactive monitoring actively looks for signs of anomalies as they are forming so they can be stopped before they cause any problem at all.

If an incident does occur, general incident management tracks the resolution to completion. Nothing slips through. And all incidents are properly reported to the required agencies.

Along the way, people are kept aware of progress via an automated ticketing systems and ongoing problem management.

Keeping Costs Under Control

Cloud management is often seen as a people-heavy activity. People are needed to watch the various monitoring screens. People are required to action any alerts that occur. People are necessary to assure follow-up is completed.

But that, dear IT Service Provider, is a thing of the past.

Today, all of the monitoring and management services we’ve just described are fully automated by Idenxt, and completely available only to you to sell to your customers as an integral part of your Azure offerings. You’re not selling them Idenxt. You’re selling them your fully managed solution.

Idenxt Azure Management Services reduces your cost of providing top quality monitoring and management to every Azure customer. You needn’t hire anybody. You needn’t manage anybody. Like Azure itself, you simply subscribe your customer to Idenxt services configured to match their Azure environment.

Overcome Objections Before They Occur

When you incorporate Idenxt Azure Management Services into your customer’s solutions you preclude most of the objections they might otherwise raise. “What if this happens?” is responded to with “our management deals with it.”

And your customer sees that solution as coming completely from you.

Want to learn more about it? Give Idenxt a call today and ask about our Cloud Operations Foundation service. It’s a single item code or SKU you order and provide as an integral part of your customer’s Azure solution.

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