Guest blog post by Jerry Dyer, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft - a man very passionate about private cloud and the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF). Thanks, Jerry!

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If you’ve ever felt frustrated because Microsoft seems to think technology alone solves every problem, this might come as a pleasant surprise.

Microsoft, in addition to its very effective technical solution for the private cloud, is offering help that focuses on the people and process side of the cloud.

That surprise comes in the form of a guide released in July titled Managing and Operating a Microsoft® Private Cloud: How to Apply the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF). Written by long-time MOF program manager Jerry Dyer, the guide describes how to manage and operate a Microsoft Private Cloud using IT service management processes.

Aimed at the IT service management community, IT architects, and IT managers, the guide applies MOF’s IT service management principles directly to Microsoft’s Private Cloud conceptual architecture and technology stack.

Here’s how it works, briefly.

Microsoft’s private cloud solutions are built on Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper-V® and Microsoft System Center. The foundation is built on the Windows Server platform with the Windows Server Active Directory® identity framework, Hyper-V virtualization, and deep application insight through System Center, which allows datacenter administrators to deploy a flexible and responsive infrastructure designed to simplify day-to-day tasks and enable management of applications at the service level, rather than the level of individual servers.

The guide describes the technical solution, which is organized around the following conceptual architecture:

  • Self-Service. Uses Microsoft System Center 2012 - Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) Self-Service Portal so that private cloud tenants or authorized users can request, manage, and access such private cloud services as virtual machines.
  • Orchestration. Uses Microsoft System Center 2012 - Orchestrator as the engine for IT-process automation and workflow, providing the ability to design, test, implement, and monitor these IT workflows.
  • Management. Uses VMM, Microsoft System Center 2012 - Operations Manager, and Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to deploy, operate, maintain, and monitor the infrastructure; for the most part those are the toolsets for managing hardware, software, and applications.
  • Automation. Uses Windows PowerShell, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and Web Services for Management (WS-Management) to automate basic operations over the lifetime of a hardware or software component.
  • Services Management. This layer offers a service management perspective that provides the means for automating and adapting IT service management best practices, such as those found in MOF.

Those five layers are underpinned by virtualization, which provides abstraction of computer resources for storage, network, and server.

The guide also describes the people and process side, which is offered by MOF, an IT service management framework that demonstrates how to translate service management principles into everyday IT tasks and activities, with a strong focus on aligning IT with business needs. MOF defines the core processes, activities, and accountabilities required to plan, deliver, operate, and manage services throughout their lifecycles. It organizes those activities and processes into service management functions (SMFs), which describe the major activities that occur within each phase of the IT lifecycle that MOF is built around.

The guide maps MOF’s IT service management best practices to those five conceptual layers and their technical components, explaining how to think about managing and operating the layers and components in an integrated fashion.

For example, the guide describes how to apply the tasks ion one of the SMFs in MOF’s Manage Layer—Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)—to ensure the Self-Service Layer is in compliance with and supports organizational goals and policies when it performs its role of allowing Hyper-V cloud tenants or authorized users to request, manage, and access services.

Another example: The guide describes how the Service Alignment Management Review—one of two management reviews in the MOF Manage Layer—helps measure the quality and effectiveness of the Self-Service Layer interface, both from a process point of view as well as by looking at the performance of the Service Manager Service Catalog and Portal.

Oh, by the way. The guide is a free download, as are all of MOF’s intellectual property assets. If you’re interested in the guide, you can download it from the Microsoft Download site. Just look for the download labeled MOF and the Private Cloud.zip. Feel free to download anything else you see there that you might be interested in.

If you’re interested in learning more about MOF, try the MOF home page. Or, you can contact Jerry Dyer at jdyer@microsoft.com.

If you’d like more technical resources, training or information on the Private Cloud for yourself or your team, please visit the Microsoft Virtual Academy.