I wanted to take a minute to position Microsoft’s Private Cloud offering.

Let me start with a definition – just so we’re all starting on the same page:

“Private cloud is the implementation of cloud services on resources that are dedicated to your organisation, whether they exist on-premises or off-premises. With a private cloud, you get many of the benefits of public cloud computing—including self-service, scalability, and elasticity—with the additional control and customisation available from dedicated resources.”

As far as I’m concerned Private Cloud technology is All about the App (that’s the only reason IT systems exist after all), Cross Platform from the Metal up (we don’t want to be locked into any one provider), Best In-Class Performance (who wants second best) and the Cloud On Your Terms (you decide where to run your Apps – on premise, off premise with a local service provider or in the public cloud with someone like Microsoft).

Some vendors call their virtualisation offerings a Private Cloud.  Virtualisation is obviously the underlying technology in a Private Cloud, but unless it is highly automated, is scalable and elastic, and offers self-service, it’s not.  Lots of people do virtualisation, not many do Private Cloud.

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Microsoft’s Private Cloud is built using Windows Server 2008 R2 – which runs on anyone’s hardware (we don’t tie you to any one provider or any particular model of server).  We’re both storage and network agnostic too!

Windows Server 2008 R2 includes our free hypervisor (Hyper-V) – which is called out as the best on the market to virtualise tier 1 data centre applications

System Centre (Microsoft’s management suite) manages everything from the physical servers all the way up to users interacting with applications - including hypervisors from Microsoft & VMware (and soon Xen), Windows Operating systems and Linux (we fully support SUSE, RedHat and CentOS and are constantly bringing in more distributions).  And pretty much any application that runs on those operating systems.  System Centre also lets you manage a service, which is an aggregation of a number of elements – your Exchange messaging service, for example, is an aggregation of physical servers, hypervisors, operating systems, Exchange Server, DNS, Active Directory, Global Catalog servers, network switches, firewalls and gateways, Anti-Virus solutions and the performance of Outlook on user’s PCs (I’m certain I missed something!).  Everything has to be up and running and mail has to be flowing for you to be 100% certain that your messaging service is operational.

And a Self-service Portal – of which we have the choice of a few depending on the size of your organisation, the level of automation you need and whether you will be charging for your Private Cloud services.

I’m going to be posting a lot more detail on Microsoft’s Private Cloud over the next while.  In the meantime you can download everything you will need to build your Private Cloud from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/system-center/trial.aspx

Dave