Cloud Insights from Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Windows Server & System Center
Throughout this Success with Hybrid Cloud series, I’ve emphasized the importance of linking private and public clouds – and Windows Azure Pack (WAP) is that link. WAP provides a consistent experience between Windows Azure and private clouds, and this allows service providers (hosters) and enterprises to offer their “customers” Windows Azure like capabilities, hosted within their own data center.
WAP leverages the same console and API technology used in Azure, and this brings a consistent platform of portal + API between private, public, and hosted clouds.
WAP offers a series of services to its consumers by providing an Azure-like experience that includes a consistent interface, as well as a common API, that enables a consistent way to consume these services. These services include, but are not limited to, IaaS, Web PaaS and Database as a Service (DBaaS).
The architecture of this consistent experience looks like this:
WAP architecture is an amalgamation of different web services which, when combined, offer an array of service layers.
There are two portals that makes up the WAP solution.
To understand how these two portals look side-by-side, consider this illustration:
WAP is made of a series of sites and endpoints responsible for different functions. Each component (sites & endpoints) use web services (REST DATA). The WAP service can be illustrated in the following way:
The two WAP deployment options are:
Windows Azure Pack uses System Center 2012 R2 for IaaS. Windows Azure Pack uses Service Provider Foundation (a new component in System Center) to manage IaaS. Service Provider Foundation (SPF) provides a multitenant interface to components of System Center. System Center uses SPF as an interface to communicate with Virtual Machine Manager and Operations Manager to deploy, manage, and delete VMs using VMM. System Center also uses SPF to extract usage from SCOM for metering and usage in WAP.
By using SPF, WAP can use multiple “stamps” and scale the environment when needed for IaaS service.
One of the strengths of WAP is its rich extensibility model. The different extensibility and customization capabilities include:
While WAP provides a consistent UX with Windows Azure, you may want to use your own portal to offer cloud services to your tenants. WAP supports this setup and it allows organizations to build or use their own custom portals while leveraging the WAP Service Management API as it allows organizations to programmatically perform tasks that are accessible through the default WAP portals.
For more details on how to integrate custom portals with WAP check out this article, and also check this sample portal from the Building Clouds Blog that leverages the Service Management API.
WAP allows you to customize the theming of the tenant site with your organization’s logo, colors, and icons. You can refer to this site for more details on WAP custom theming.
A very important aspect of the cloud services provided through WAP is that the consumption usage of those services and resources is captured – thus, service providers can extract that data for analytic purposes and for billing their tenants for the resources they consume.
While WAP does not provide an out-of-the-box implementation of a billing system, it does provide a Usage Service REST API. Service Providers can then develop a Billing Adapter that acts as the interface between the WAP Usage Service and the service providers own billing service.
You can read more about the WAP Usage Service here, and you can check some sample Billing Adapters here and here.
WAP offers clouds services using Resource Providers. Out of the box, WAP includes the Web Sites, VM Clouds, SQL Server, My SQL and Service Bus Resource Providers. When these resource providers don’t provide the cloud services you would want to offer, WAP allows you to create Custom Resource Providers that can offer additional cloud services to your tenants by leveraging the Service Management API.
For more guidance on custom Resource Providers refer to the Windows Azure Pack Custom Resource Providers section in the Windows Azure Pack Developers Kit. For a jumpstart on using Custom Resource Providers go ahead and download, deploy and evaluate the “Hello World” sample that is included in the WAP Developers Kit.
Windows PowerShell support for WAP is provided in two different ways:
Windows Azure Pack has a list of partner solutions which enrich the experience for given scenarios. In particular, check out:
Thanks for a great summary that I can use as a base for discussions with my customers concerning WAP.