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A recent survey done across top Fortune 500 companies shows almost 70% of the CIOs have either heard about IaC from their infrastructure head or they are on their way to implementing IaC. Yet if you look under the hood, while some level of automation has been done, most of the infrastructure is still managed in a traditional / legacy way. What is Infrastructure as Code? How do you determine if your IT infrastructure is truly automated? "IaC is an approach and mind-set to automate infrastructure provisioning and management based on best practices from the world of software development. It underscores consistent, repeatable procedures for provisioning and changing systems configuration". The two key words here are ‘approach' and ‘mind-set'. While ‘approach' signifies that the deploying and managing infrastructure should not be any different from the deploying and man... (more)

Infrastructure Was Then, Private Cloud Is Now and Beyond

Seven years of research with 15,000 data points, as shown below, provides overwhelming evidence that there is a noticeable increase in efficiency with a significant reduction of TCO by moving IT from Basic intothe  Rationalized stage in the IO (Infrastructure Optimization) model. And cloud, or more specifically private cloud computing, offers a roadmap to facilitate enterprise IT transforming from Basic or Standardized into Rationalized. A transition from a traditional infrastructure-focused deployment model into a cloud-ready, cloud-enabled, and service-centric delivery vehicle in enterprise IT is imminent, if not already happening. Building a private cloud is the next step for enterprise IT. Microsoft private cloud solutions are based on  Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (or Hyper-V Server 2008 R2) and System Center 2012 to fundamentally prepare enterprise IT with a te... (more)

More on Cisco UCS, HP Matrix and ITaaS

I just finished reading Project California: a Data Center Virtualization Server - UCS (Unified Computing System) from Cisco. It gave an excellent take on Cisco’s view of how UCS benefits a datacenter. It also explains how new technologies from Intel, QLogic and Emulex all complement the Cisco gear. As a matter of fact, the first [...] ... (more)

Scale Is the Common Abstraction of Cloud Computing

In my experience, for there to be widespread adoption and agreement over a concept, the semantics surrounding that concept must be unique and discrete. If the definition is too broad, there will be too much opportunity for dissenting opinion. NIST’s definition of cloud computing doesn’t really answer the mail when it comes to delivering a definition for cloud computing. In my opinion, it’s nothing more than bucket of attributes that have been previously associated with cloud computing; and attributes do not constitute meaning. To define cloud computing concretely, in a way that can be agreed upon by a majority, we must identify that common abstraction that binds the definition in a unique way. One thing the NIST definition does well is aggregate the most common elements that people associate with cloud computing today. The characteristics, delivery models and deplo... (more)

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 as Private Cloud Enabler

This is the first article of a 5-part series examining the key concepts and operations of a private cloud based on VMM 2012 including: Part 1. Private Cloud Concepts (This article) Part 2. Fabric, Oh, Fabric Part 3. Deployment with Service Template Part 4. Working with Service Templates Part 5. App Controller VMM, a member of Microsoft System Center suite, is an enterprise solution for managing physical, virtualized, private cloud, and public cloud resources. In addition to the system requirements and the new features and capabilities, there are specific concepts presented in this article, although fundamental, nevertheless important to know before building a private cloud solution with VMM 2012. This blog series is for readers with a basics understanding of cloud computing. For those new to cloud computing, I recommend first acquiring the baseline information form: ... (more)

From Bare Metal to Private Cloud, System Center VMM 2012 Delivers

Today cloud computing facilitated by virtualization continues emerging as the service delivery vehicle for IT to shorten go-to-market while facing unpredictable data patterns and workloads. The increasing complexities and growing user expectations make system management on the center stage of a cloud computing solution. In addition to automation, we now need a self-service model to fundamentally reduce the cost structure of required training and on-going maintenance. Besides processes and procedures, we now need work-flows and orchestration. The requirements for a management solution are now the abilities to identify and manage resources deployed to heterogeneous virtualization platforms in hybrid scenarios of cloud computing with predictability and repeatability. A single and unified platform with a consistent user experience to manage all IT resources including ph... (more)

Getting Productive with Windows Server 2012 (Part 3)

This is the last article of my 3-part blog post series for facilitating experienced Windows system administrators to get productive on Windows Server 2012 with a keyboard and a mouse as the input device. Part 1 and Part 2 are focusing on basic user operations with the new Metro UI. To conclude the series, here are two important facts that one should know when running Windows Server 2012. Again, I want to underscore that Windows Server 2012 is designed with cloud computing in mind, and together with System Center 2012 as the foundation of Microsoft private cloud solutions. For those who are working for becoming a Microsoft private cloud expert, it is imperative to master Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 to develop technical depth in implementing and operating of a private cloud. 11. Wireless Support The same with Windows Server 2008, a default installation ... (more)

Windows Server 2012 Installation Options

New and flexible ways to make changes of a Windows Server 2012 installation after the fact are available. And IT pros can now convert a server from and to Server Core, and change the availability of server components that are previously committed at an installation time. This introduces new dynamics and exciting scenarios for improving supportability, efficiency, and security. This article highlights the three available installation options and some key operations based on the Release Candidate, Build 8400. There is additional information of Windows Server 2012 including: a free eBook, available editions, and a reference table summarizing the available features in each installation option available elsewhere. Server Core This is the default and preferred configuration for deploying Windows Server 2012. Server Core was introduced in Windows Server 2008 as a minimal ... (more)

Windows Azure? What's in It for IT Professionals

Windows Azure relevant to Microsoft private cloud solutions is, in my view, as critical as what Active Directory means to Windows infrastructure. In a Windows domain, Active Directory holds the one version of truth and is the ultimate authority of all resources defined. Similarly when it comes to Microsoft cloud computing, there is no question that Windows Azure is the de facto platform as an extension of Active Directory in the cloud. While enterprise IT is transitioning form on-premise deployment to an emerging architecture of hybrid cloud, IT professionals are facing unprecedented challenges to change from managing servers deployed on premise to managing services delivered with hybrid cloud, and at the same time extraordinary opportunities to upgrade and expand an individual's skill profile and become a leader in cloud initiatives and a contributor in IT communit... (more)

Understanding Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

In Windows Server 2008 R2 (WS2008R2), Terminal Services (TS) has been expanded and renamed to Remote Desktop Services (RDS). RDS is the backbone of Microsoft's VDI solutions. And in Windows Server 2012, RDS is further enhanced and with a scenario-based configuration wizard. Still the concept and architecture remain very much the same since WS2008R2. The new and enhanced architecture takes advantage of virtualization and makes remote access a much flexible solution with new deployment scenarios. To realize the capabilities of RDS, it is essential to understand the functions of key architectural components and how they complement one another to process a RDS request. There are many new terms and acronyms to get familiar with in the context of RDS. For the remainder of this post, notice RDS implies the server platform of WS2008R2 and later, while TS implies WS2008. Th... (more)

A Private Cloud Delivers IT as a Service

A private cloud delivers business functions as services and empowers go-to-market, while virtualization virtualizes computing resources supporting the private cloud. They are two different concepts, address different issues, and operate at different levels in enterprise IT. A private cloud goes far beyond virtualization and virtualization is not a private cloud. To conclude this two-part series as listed below, here are the specifics regarding a private cloud vs. virtualization. Part 1: Cloud Computing Goes Far Beyond Virtualization Part 2: A Private Cloud Delivers IT as a Service (This article) An essential part of a private cloud is virtualization that offers opportunities in reducing infrastructure costs, increasing operational efficiency, and improving deployment flexibility. A server instance deployed with a VM offers many advantages over one deployed with a phy... (more)