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MSPs vs. DevOps Partners: What’s the difference?

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Published:May 11, 2022
Last Modified:November 15, 2022

IT outsourcing allows companies to hand off tasks to third-party experts so that its internal teams can focus on the core business. With nearly 300,000 roles outsourced annually in the US, hiring third-party providers to handle operations like payroll, marketing, and design has become more and more common. Businesses today rely heavily on web-based tools from email and video conferencing to websites and ecommerce to digital wallets and private blockchains. As such, the number of information technology service providers has increased exponentially to support a variety of niche technical needs. A core sector of IT outsourcing is Cloud Infrastructure service providers.

There are two primary types of Cloud Infrastructure service providers: managed service providers (MSPs) and DevOps partners. Investing in the wrong provider can set you back even further than when you started, but, if you know which provider suits your needs, you’re likely to see the benefits that come with IT outsourcing. 

In this article, we’ll discuss both outsourcing providers, their pros and cons, the customers they serve, and which provider would be a good fit for your scaling company. 

Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

What are MSPs?

Managed service providers (MSPs) are third-parties that offer a variety of IT services, including cloud services, data infrastructure, and end-user systems. Their purpose is to deliver these services in addition to ongoing support and maintenance so that businesses can optimize their internal operations. 

What services do MSPs offer? 

MSPs IT outsourcing services specialize in a particular infrastructure of their choosing. Typically the products they offer are from dominating industry providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud (GC), and Microsoft Azure. Many MSPs have a goal to upsell their clients on these proprietary products so that they can grow their partnerships. Common  IT outsourcing services offered by an MSP include: 

  • Server and pipeline configuration

  • System Monitoring 

  • Patch management

  • Security audits and scanning

  • Infrastructure troubleshooting 

  • Infrastructure optimization

  • Cloud migrations 

  • Cloud service integrations

Who is an ideal client for an MSP?

Ideal clients for  IT outsourcing services from MSPs are mid to large-sized businesses with multiple devices (i.e. workstations, servers) and projects involved. Because one of the primary benefits of outsourcing MSPs is the opportunity to scale more easily, their ideal client is a business with rigid goals in place to scale exponentially over a small period of time.

Pros to MSPs

One of the biggest advantages of  IT outsourcing with MSPs is security. Because MSPs partner with larger providers, their on-site systems are highly secure and resilient to outages and downtime. Another benefit with MSPs is that they specialize in a proprietary solution, which means their teams and toolkits are devoted to supporting and monitoring the specific products they offer.

Cons to MSPs

Though outsourcing with MSPs offers many advantages, there are also cons to be considered. 

Because MSPs get paid based on the usage of the products they sell, oftentimes their focus is to point out issues with infrastructure and maximize the products in use. The problem with this approach is that their offerings may be so rigid that they don’t satisfy the distinct needs of certain clients. Ultimately, MSPs aren’t incentivized to save you money and typically offer a flat fee for services, which can be difficult for small businesses and startups without the capital to invest in cut and dry rates. 

DevOps Partners

What are DevOps partners?

DevOps partners are another type of outsourced IT provider that supports businesses of all sizes. Their purpose is to optimize existing solutions and modernize digital infrastructures so that a company is compliant with industry practices at an affordable price. 

What services do DevOps partners offer? 

Unlike MSPs that tend to specialize in one or a few solutions, DevOps partners are proficient in a variety of the latest cloud technologies. They tend to support many of the day-to-day operations of their clients and are motivated to craft the perfect solution for a company while keeping it secure and performant. 

Common services offered by DevOps partners are: 

  • Server and pipeline configurations

  • Software updates

  • Software and Infrastructure maintenance

  • Database configuration and administration

  • System and performance troubleshooting

  • System and performance optimization

  • Cloud infrastructure procurement

  • Cloud migration services

  • Cloud integration services

Who is an ideal client for DevOps partners? 

Ideal clients for outsourcing devops are startups and small to medium sized businesses that cannot afford an internal IT team. Because they are incentivized to find the solution that meets the needs of a company, DevOps partners ideal client would be a scaling business that needs support but does not need an ongoing full-time resource. 

Pros to DevOps partners

DevOps partner services scale based on the demands and needs of a business, not the other way around. Generally, engagement terms are much more flexible, responsive, and reliable support is more reasonable.

A DevOps partner will support your infrastructure and your software systems. A few benefits include:

  • One partner to support your entire technology stack

  • Often provide on-demand support

  • Not incentivized to sell infrastructure


Though outsourcing with DevOps partners offers many advantages, there are also cons to be considered.  Many focus on building lean infrastructure, but not as much on ensuring every recommended best practice is followed. Unless they are a registered partner with the parent company, they will not be privy to all of the documentation, tools, and reports MSPs offer. Also, most DevOps teams operate across a number of cloud providers, so expertise with certain service elements may be higher from the MSP.


Overall, DevOps partners tend to be more agile and holistic with their approach, while MSPs ensure total coverage and are focused within a specific provider ecosystem. DevOps partners generally don't implement "one size fits all" solutions, so they can adjust their approach more easily to find the recipe that works best for your company. IT outsourcing services from MSPs are geared toward larger companies that require compliant and standardized technologies, whereas DevOps partners are for mid-sized companies looking for a specific solution to then scale over time. 
If you want IT outsourcing services and are looking for a company that’s flexible and innovative, then you should schedule a consultation with Tragic Media’s team of digital experts. Not only were we named as a leading software development company in San Diego, but we support companies of all shapes and sizes with building, scaling, and optimizing infrastructures built for each client’s needs.


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