Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

I want my.. I want my.. I want my Hyper-V Cloud (“Cloudy April” - Part 16)

I want my.. I want my.. I want my Hyper-V Cloud (“Cloudy April” - Part 16)

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Be the cloud

“Kevin.. Was that title a reference to a certain 80’s song and award-winning video?"

It was.  But I had to add the word “Cloud” to the phrase, because that’s what we’re talking about today: The Hyper-V Cloud.  The idea here is that by using Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, SCVMM 2008 R2, and the SCVMM Self-Service Portal (SSP) 2.0, you can build or utilize your own private cloud.

“Wait a second, Kevin.  I thought ‘the cloud’ was always something outside of my datacenter.  Now I’m confused.”

Well.. actually, you can consider a cloud as something that you’re providing to your users or the business units you support.  They go to your “cloud” to request and acquire services, which could be platforms on which to develop, test, support, or run applications in production.  You, as the boss of the datacenter, provide “IT as a Service” to your business.. who in turn use “the cloud” you’ve set up for them.

The notion of a ‘private cloud’ really revolves around five basic cloud characteristics.  You can find those documented in this NIST document here:  http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/cloud-computing/cloud-def-v15.doc

From that document, here are the 5 required characteristics of a cloud:

Hyper-V supports YOUR cloudOn-demand self-service. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service’s provider.

Broad network access. Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, laptops, and PDAs).

Resource pooling. The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines.

Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned, in some cases automatically, to quickly scale out and rapidly released to quickly scale in. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be purchased in any quantity at any time.

Measured Service. Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.

So by that simple definition - If you’re providing a self-service portal that allows your users to request and acquire services that they are then charged for based on usage, and that they can scale-up or scale-down as needed… well, what you’ve got there is a private cloud, my friend.  It’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) at its very best.

Clouds

“So.. how do I buy Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud?”

You don’t.  Because you can’t; at least not by name.  Microsoft doesn’t have a “Hyper-V Cloud” listed as a product you can buy.  But you do have three options for implementing your own private cloud:

During our U.S. Central Region TechNet Events we do a demonstration of the SCVMM Self-Service Portal 2.0, and what the current state-of-the-art of IaaS from Microsoft looks like.  And even beyond that, Microsoft recently announced the details of a project codename “Concero”.  It’s a future product that will expand even further on providing and managing a private cloud.

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What do you think?  Are you ready to “be the cloud”?  Are you already implementing IT as a Service in this way for your business?  Drop us a note in the comments.

In part 17 tomorrow I’ll give you some more resources around and about Microsoft’s solid, enterprise-ready, ubiquitous virtualization platform: Hyper-V.

  • I am tired of hearing about the cloud. The network is unreliable and one should not depend on network access in order to use the services. We need the ability to run 64 bit guest virtual machines on client operating systems. You need to update Virtual PC to support installing 64 bit guest machines!

  • Thanks for the comment, James.  I agree, 64-bit guests on client OS is sorely lacking.  But what we're talking about here is something entirely different.  We're all tired of "the cloud", but you have to agree that, in terms of supporting a datacenter, or making the choice of where your application should run, "the cloud" is here to stay.  

    What you've said about network reliability is the very same thing that skeptics said (and rightly so) about electric power at the turn of the 20th Century.  Those were the people who were responsible for either continuing to generate their own power on-site for their factory machinery (which was more reliable), or to buy it from an outside electric company.  Eventually the reliability became such that they could no longer justify generating it themselves.  And the lower cost was the deciding factor.  The same shift is happening with "the cloud" today.  You're right to be cautious over the availability and reliability of network access; but the state of network connectivity is improving every year.  Reliability of the connection is becoming less and less of a concern.

    In the meantime, Microsoft is the only PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS vendor that has (or is planning) options for allowing for businesses to choose between in-house and "the cloud" when it comes to their enterprise productivity and business applications.  Can you run Google Apps in your own datacenter?  What about SharePoint 2010 and Exchange 2010?  Did you know that in Office 365 you'll be able to extend your own Exchange 2010 installation into the cloud, so that you're spanning both in-house and cloud-based resources?  Nobody gives you such a wide range of options - mainly to help address concerns like you've mentioned.

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