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With AWS Managed Services, what will be left for IT to do?

The cloud, to varying degrees, did away with the need to manage huge, on-premises IT infrastructures. Fortunately, IT staffers on company payrolls were still needed to migrate apps and data, and manage these new-fangled, cloud-based, virtual infrastructures. Now, with 2017 just days away, it’s fair to ask if that management role is on the cusp of disappearing, too,

Not surprisingly, it’s Amazon shaking things up again. On Dec. 12, 2016, Amazon launched AWS Managed Services (AWSMS), essentially Amazon’s offer to provide fee-based infrastructure operations management for your enterprise.

In his blog post announcing the service, AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr said organizations want to “relieve their staff of as many routine operational duties as possible.” You’ve got to wonder if the CFO interprets that as “relieving as many staff as possible.”

Targeting the Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 enterprises (yes, it’ll trickle down eventually), AWSMS, according to Barr is “backed up by a dedicated team of Amazon employees” ready to provide incident monitoring and resolution, change control, provisioning, patch management, security and access management, backup and restore, along with reporting. An IT department can connect AWSMS to its own management tools (if you still opt to have any) via a new API and command-line interface.

So, Amazon can host your entire IT operation and now manage every aspect of it. It can warehouse and fulfill customer orders for the products you sell. With its own in-the-making fleet of trucks, drones, and aircraft, it can package and ship to your customer’s door. It can provide credit-card processing.

With drone delivery now a reality after a successful tryout in the U.K., there’s isn’t much that Amazon can’t do, except, perhaps, for the actual act of coding new applications. And, of course, there are tools to vastly simplify that process, too.

After all of this, the only ones left standing could be application developers, despite — or thanks to — Amazon’s vast array of development tools. No matter how much of a business’s IT operation Amazon hosts, operates, or manages, Amazon can’t know what it is you want your application to do. For that reason, I can’t imagine AWS wanting to build applications for you.

The managed services aspect was previously the domain of specialized IT staffers or other third-party managed service providers (MSPs), typified by Rackspace, but Amazon — at least for now — has them covered. Instead of cutting MSPs out of the ecosystem, AWSMS is positioned to embrace them. Partners have the opportunity to provide four different services specific to AWSMS, including onboarding, integration with customer ITSMs, application migration, and application operations.

Where do you come down on this? Is your organization ready to cede ops management to AWSMS? How does this change your IT plans for 2017 and beyond? No doubt have pretty strong opinions about this. It’s the season for sharing, so share those opinions with us. We’d like to hear from you.

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