Can DevOps and MSPs Get Along?

September 14, 2021 / by Frederid Palacios

As more and more companies look to modernize their operations, adoptions of IT trends such as DevOps and MSP services have skyrocketed. While the two concepts are popular individually, there is growing speculation of the possibilities of their conjoining. Both DevOps and MSPs offer technological optimization but seem to contradict one another in some critical areas. Even so, as companies continue to seek innovation, they wonder if these concepts could come together to take operations to a greater level of efficiency and speed. To determine if DevOps and MSPs have the potential to work together, we will discuss the implications of their partnership.


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What’s the Difference?

MSPs focus on providing IT services to other businesses. While most organizations have an internal IT department of their own, MSPs are advantageous for several reasons. To start, MSPs provide companies with a heightened level of IT care, monitoring, and managing IT tasks from troubleshooting, maintenance, installation, and more. In addition to this, MSPs typically possess state of the art technology, serving as an excellent cost-saver for organizations without such advanced equipment. Essentially, companies receive a greater level of IT services at no additional labor to their internal IT team – allowing them to focus on more pressing and strategic tasks.

On the other hand, DevOps is an approach to software delivery that focuses on the collaboration between developers and IT operations – hence the name. The primary aim of DevOps is to shorten the systems development life cycle, providing continuous delivery with high software quality. This concept is most often used when organizations want to move existing legacy servers to the cloud or need to consolidate data.

While the two concepts may seem fairly similar, they do not feed into one another. In actuality, the two have worked in contradiction to one another. Traditionally, it has been the case that the more your company outsources services to MSPs, the less it is able to utilize DevOps. When companies outsource their IT operations to an MSP, they lose control of the processes surrounding IT. As the MSP you choose is a trusted expert, companies tend to blindly allow MSPs to dictate the tools, culture, and processes being used.

Essentially, DevOps is not possible without an IT Ops department. If your IT services are outsourced to an MSP, you relinquish control of this department to some extent. Even if you maintain a small portion of responsibility for your IT operations, you can still only partially embrace DevOps – to the extent that your internal staff can support it. As a result, it is not feasible for companies utilizing MSPs to embrace DevOps – until recently.


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Finding an MSP that Embraces DevOps

While traditionally, companies had to choose between utilizing an MSP or DevOps, that may no longer be the case. The fact still stands that when you decide to obtain the services of an MSP, you relinquish some control of your IT culture. But while this used to mean that you couldn't embrace DevOps at all, it now means that you need to obtain a DevOps-friendly MSP.

Many MSPs choose not to work with DevOps because it is more complicated when IT operations are run by a third-party provider, but some MSPs accept the challenge.

Utilizing DevOps through a third-party provider can make it more challenging to achieve the seamless communication and feedback that DevOps typically demands, but it is possible. With an MSP dedicated to transparent communication, clear data sharing, and collaboration in IT operations, incorporating DevOps in your IT portfolio can be done.

To utilize the two concepts conjointly, your MSPs will need to put in a bit more work than without DevOps, but it can be done, and doing so may become more common as the two concepts grow in popularity. While it may require more labor, utilizing both an MSP and DevOps can be highly advantageous.


Benefits of a DevOps-Friendly MSP

Increased Culture Control.The primary challenge of utilizing MSPs and DevOps simultaneously revolved around the lack of culture control that MSPs provide. Fortunately, with a DevOps-friendly MSP, what once was a disadvantage of using an MSP, now becomes an advantage. In embracing these services together, you can take back control of your IT culture while still reaping the same benefits of utilizing an MSP. This means that not only are you receiving an enhanced level of IT support and care, but you also have the autonomy to choose the culture, tools, and processes being used within your IT infrastructure.

Maintain Your Customer Base.One of the most significant benefits of utilizing DevOps is a heightened level of collaboration. As you can collaborate more between developers and IT operations, you are able to deliver more value to your customers. This is an invaluable asset to have as a company, which is why so many are eager to adopt DevOps into their organization. With a DevOps-friendly MSP, you can continue to deliver an unmatched level of value to your consumers, all the while reaping the benefits of outsourcing to an MSP. As you continue to maximize value for your customers, your customer base will grow and remain loyal – improving your bottom line.

Best Possible Tools and Services.A DevOps-friendly service provider will ensure that your organization possesses the best possible processes and resources to help you achieve success. Your MSP will oversee the software development and IT operations teams within your organization, guaranteeing quality and efficiency in sync with the high software quality created by DevOps.


Best of Both Worlds

Until recently, it seemed impossible for MSPs and DevOps to work cohesively, forcing businesses to choose between the two concepts. Fortunately, as technological trends took off, this challenge is no longer a problem. Today, companies can obtain the services of a DevOps-friendly MSP, opening their IT infrastructure up to a world of new possibilities. When conjoined, these concepts can offer organizations the flexibility, cost-efficiency, and productivity of an MSP, while benefiting from the speed and adaptability created by DevOps. As a result, companies can experience the utmost care and high-quality processes, optimizing their IT processes. With a DevOps-friendly MSP, it is possible for DevOps and MSPs to work together, offering businesses the best of both worlds.  

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Frederid Palacios

Written by Frederid Palacios

Fred Palacios is a seasoned software architect with more than 20 years of experience participating in the entire software development cycle across a host of different industries--from automotive and services to petroleum, financial, and supply chain. In that time, his experience working closely with high-level stakeholders has provided him with a strategic vision for developing the right solutions to flexibly meet critical business needs. As CTO of Intertec, he's continuing to focus on the creation of business-critical applications for large enterprise projects, particularly those that handle high concurrency and large datasets. He is passionate about using technology as a tool to solve real-world problems and also mentoring technical teams to achieve their maximum potential and deliver quality software.

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