Managed Cloud-Native Services on the Rise

A report published by Information Services Group (ISG) suggests the complexity of cloud-native technologies such as Kubernetes and emerging service mesh platforms is driving more organizations toward consuming managed services delivered via the cloud versus deploying these technologies on their own.

Blair Hanley Frank, a principal analyst at ISG, says while there is a lot of interest among developers in building and deploying microservices-based applications built using containers, the number of organizations that have the skills required to manage platforms such as Kubernetes remains comparatively slight.

Rather than managing Kubernetes and all the attenuated technologies required, Frank says more developers are opting to rely on a managed service. Most often, that managed service is provided by a cloud service provider. However, as hybrid cloud computing evolves, it’s apparent that managed service providers (MSPs) that can deploy Kubernetes across multiple clouds will see increasing demand for that expertise, says Frank.

The ISG report evaluated the capabilities of 41 providers of various types of managed services based on cloud-native technologies. It cites HCL, IBM and VMware as leaders in three quadrants and Accenture and Sysdig as leaders in two. Aqua Security, Check Point Software, Dynatrace, HashiCorp, Mirantis, Palo Alto Networks, Splunk and Wipro are named as leaders in one quadrant. D2iQ, LightStep, Mphasis and each were named Rising Stars.

Of course, any report based on quadrants only captures the state of IT market segment for a brief time. In many cases, innovations that have occurred either shortly before or after a report is published are not considered. However, the report does makes it clear that competition is already fierce across MSPs ranging from IT services providers to traditional IT vendors that have expanded their reach into managed services.

Most of the early deployments of Kubernetes clusters were done by internal IT teams before managed services based on cloud-native platforms began to mature. Now it’s not uncommon for an internal IT department to deploy its first Kubernetes cluster themselves before opting to reply on a managed service to deploy and manage Kubernetes at scale. Not only is it proving difficult to manage complex Kubernetes clusters environments at scale, but more IT organizations also now lean toward managed services in part because large swaths of internal IT teams are working from home to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, Frank notes, digital business transformation initiatives have been accelerated, most of which require cloud-native technologies to deploy microservices-based applications constructed using containers. The amount of time many internal IT teams might have expected to make a transition to new platforms has been shortened considerably, he says.

Historically, managed services have accounted for less than 20% of the consumption of IT services. In the age of cloud consumption, there’s obviously been more consumption of managed services. Less clear is to what degree managed services might be the primary way Kubernetes and associated cloud-native technologies are consumed. Regardless of approach, the one thing that is clear is there soon will be more Kubernetes to manage than ever.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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