Getting your head around the self service portal requires some thought and careful planning, not because it is hard to use but because it requires a change in the way business and the IT department interact. It’s also important to understand the terminology :

 

  • Business Units – hopefully pretty obvious,  but the way these are used will reflect the culture in your organisation. 

 

  • Infrastructure – This is a group of resources available to the business.  They can have more than one and each of these resides in an environment created by the data centre administrator (which I did in my last post in this series).  For example there could be development test and production infrastructures for a business unit with these residing in the corresponding development test and production environments.

 

  • Services – This is the next level of grouping down the SSP) hierarchy and corresponds to something the business wants provided like an intranet or other web application

 

  • Service Roles – is another level down and would comprise a group of VMs that perform the same function within a service.  A good example might be the web service or database service that contributes to the web application service above.

You will have realised by now that the average lawyer, accountant or other business professional isn’t going to be doing this for themselves and the key thing in moving to the private cloud is the underlying cultural change needed. In the IT department there will be less staff but the key function of the data centre administrator will still exist.  In the business units there will be a new role of business system who will need to have a good understanding of IT and could well be IT professionals. The difference for these staff is that they would be members of the business unit not the IT department. I have spent pretty much my whole IT career in business not in an IT department so this should not be a new idea (I am far from new myself).

The SSP provides the collaboration necessary for these business administrators to provision services within the framework created by the data centre administrator – and so for each of the objects above the business services administrator initiates requests in the SSP which the datacentre administrator actions.

To help make sense of that I made this screencast of the dialogue between the two roles:

 

The screencast also shows the mechanics of the business service administrator setting up their first virtual machine and it starting in hyper-V and SCVMM. What I didn’t do in this was setup the templates in SCVMM that are used by the SSP to make VMs.  That is a whole topic in itself which I will cover off in another post. If you want to try any of this yourself then you can get the latest self service portal from here.