Thoroughly Modern: Remote Managed Services Fill In For Retiring And Overburdened IT Staff
July 10, 2023 Raymond Hammell
If you manage an IT department, you’ve likely received that dreaded 2am phone call, or you’ve had to hire someone to replace a retiring IBM i systems administrator. And, if you’re like most IBM i professionals, you probably wish you had more time to focus on strategic activities (or take a vacation!) instead of worrying about day-to-day systems maintenance.
Managing IBM i environments requires a specific set of skills that can be hard to come by, leaving IT departments struggling to keep up with growing infrastructure, data volumes and business demands. Tedious maintenance and repetitive tasks add to the burden on already overtaxed staff, leaving little time for strategic initiatives that drive growth.
What does IBM i support look like for your organization? In a recent survey, a staggering 70 percent of organizations reported that they struggle with retiring resources, lack of skills, and the inability to meet the growing demands of the business. Many of the IT leaders that I speak with do not have a reliable, experienced backup to help them meet their goals, such as hardware monetization, cost reduction, cloud adoption, compliance, HA/DR, OS upgrades and simply sustaining the health of the IBM i system.
It is imperative to address these gaps before they impact your operations and the business. For an increasing number of companies, the solution lies in Remote Managed Services. In this article, I’ll dive into the inner workings of Fresche Remote Managed Services and share how entrusting the management of your systems to expert IBM i admins and engineers can help you reduce IT spend, minimize risk and free up your team to work on strategic initiatives.
Why Remote Managed Services For IBM i?
Remote Managed Services aren’t just for IT departments who are struggling with resources and backlog. Organizations that have adequate resources can benefit by using Remote Managed Services as a second set of eyes or an after-hours backup. The external team could also complete mundane, non-revenue generating tasks and enable internal resources to focus on strategic initiatives.
If you operate a lights-out facility, you can use Remote Managed Services as a cost-effective back-up to maximize the uptime for your systems and monitor and maintain the health of your environment after hours.
Here are some additional reasons why organizations are turning to Remote Managed Services:
- Expert Resources for Effective Monitoring: A Remote Managed Services provider will proactively monitor your environment to identify and resolve issues quickly. In many cases, this attention and expertise will enable them to address issues before they affect your operations. They take care of the tasks needed to keep your business running so you can focus on strategic initiatives.
- Reduce Expenses: We all know that hiring IT professionals can be costly, especially if certain areas of expertise don’t require a full-time employee. As it becomes increasingly difficult to find IBM i skills, we’re seeing system administrators or DBAs fill multiple roles. They might also have to maintain other platforms or the network and/or support systems after hours. Remote Managed Services gives you access to talent without the hassle of recruitment, overhead and re It can also help lower expenses by shifting capital expenses to an operational expense.
- Protect Your Business: Online threats are constantly evolving and it’s essential to mitigate risks while maintaining compliance. A Remote Managed Service provider will help you navigate these challenges on an ongoing basis.
- Prioritize Strategic Initiatives: Technology unlocks endless possibilities for growth, automation and integration. Remote Managed Services streamline tasks, so you can redirect internal IT resources toward innovation and growth.
- Peace of Mind: You’re no longer fielding 2am phone calls and trying to figure out issues as they pop up. A Remote Managed Service provider can monitor your systems after hours, on weekends and on holidays. They will also ensure that your backup recovery windows are being sustained, so they don’t interfere with your Monday morning production window.
Remote Managed Services With Fresche
When engaging with a Remote Managed Service provider, I always recommend looking for an organization that offers a flexible, scalable solution. Your environment and needs are unique, and the service should reflect that. The provider’s offerings should also meet you where you are today, while providing the resources to help you move forward.
I detailed our services in a recent webinar, but here’s a brief recap of what you can expect from Fresche:
- Flexible Services: The possibilities with Remote Managed Services can seem overwhelming. If you’re unsure where to begin, offload non-revenue generating tasks to start. This could include backups, security, maintaining system health, high availability, or disaster recovery. From there, you can scale services up or down to meet your needs.
- 24/7/365 NOC (Network Operations Center) and System Monitoring: This includes daily monitoring and taking a proactive approach to sustaining your environment’s health with proactive backups, configuration and IBM i management.
- Expert Management: Our team consists of IBM i and full-stack experts who can assist with everyday tasks and/or help you build strategic plans to ensure that your IBM i environment supports your organization’s growth.
- Location-Agnostic IBM i Management: In the past, Remote Managed Services have been challenged by the infrastructure’s location. How will you set it up? What kind of network connection will you need? A system in, say, the Asia-Pacific region or South America could impact how an admin accesses it. Today, all of this is more easily achieved via VPN or direct network connection. No matter where your IBM i systems run – on-premise, in the cloud or hybrid – Fresche’s system admins and engineers provide technical support services for IBM i and accompanying systems (AIX, Linux, and Windows Server).
- Workload Management: We provide Remote Managed Services tailored to your workload (dev, test, production, archive, etc.).
Fresche’s remote managed service offering is hands-down the most comprehensive Remote Managed Service offering that I’ve seen anybody in the MSP space provide. We’ve scaled this model to make sure it fits the needs of each of our clients regardless of where their IBM i exists. Here are just a few additional examples of what we can do:
- Monitor application messages and escalate
- Monitor thresholds for job queues and escalate
- Assist with RCA issues
- Process save/restore requests
- OS upgrades & PTF installation
- Investigate backup failures and resolve
- Manage user profiles
- Maintain OS-related jobs and subsystems
- Source and object promotion to production
- Keep documentation and escalation up to date
- Maintain LPAR network config (DNS, Hostname, Host table, and so forth)
- Assist with performance issues
Adopting The Crawl, Walk, Run Approach To Cloud
It’s almost impossible to have a conversation about Remote Managed Services without mentioning cloud hosting. Fresche also offers cloud solutions and we recommend a crawl, walk, run approach to cloud adoption. A lot of customers come to us unsure of what it would take to move to the cloud, and we often recommend that they take advantage of Remote Managed Services now, then transition to the cloud or implement DR or HA.
This helps you develop the necessary trust in ability to support the health and longevity of your IBM i environment. You have plenty of options depending on your goals. Regardless of whether you want to slowly adopt cloud or if you want to jump right in, we have you covered.
We can provide a remote managed service to maintain and sustain the health of your environment so you can rest assured that you’ve got somebody on the back end, like a resource maintaining the health of your IBM i. We can even expand that into your Windows Server, your Linux, and your AIX environments and provide these services to sustain the health of your entire environment.
Have a question about Remote Managed Services and how they might fit in with your IT strategy? We’re always happy to discuss your goals and how Fresche might be able to help. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with a strategist here.
Raymond Hammell is cloud and managed services architect at Fresche Solutions. With about 25 years in cloud and managed services, Raymond is a subject matter expert for cloud solutions, high availability and disaster recovery.
This content is sponsored by Fresche Solutions.