If you’ve been reading this blog and wondering about this thing we keep mentioning called “SCDemo", this post will get you up to speed.

The “SC” in SCDemo stands for “Server and Cloud” and we use the term SCDemo as an umbrella title for the demo labs we design, develop, and maintain for the technical evangelist community here at Microsoft.  We currently have two distinct SCDemo iterations (SCDemo Cloud and SCDEmo Dedicated), with a third coming soon (SCDemo Shared).

Each of these iterations is unique; here’s an overview:

 

SCDemoCloud:

As seen in the video we posted last week, this is our cloud service offering. It is built on less than 20 servers, and provides a Demo as a Service environment that our teams in the field utilize when talking to Microsoft partners and customers. With this otherwise small environment, we are able to provide each of the many users around the globe with their own instance of a cloud on a timed basis so they can showcase Microsoft Server and System Center technologies easily and without having to manage any infrastructure (this infrastructure is managed by us).

As you can probably imagine, for a small team to offer a 24x7 service of this scope, we have taken standardization and automation to the extreme.

Over the coming weeks, the SCDemo Cloud Track will walk you through how we built this service and the technologies and processes we have developed in order to manage it. 

 

SCDemo Dedicated:

This is the original demo lab set that we developed.  Each field sales rep working with Windows Server and System Center technologies, has, at their disposal, a virtualized mini-datacenter.  We develop and deliver this hosted service to them on a pair of servers, with a huge number of built in features and capabilities that the lab owner can extend in any way they require.

To put the scope of what we manage into perspective, look at the numbers:12+ racks, 600+ servers, and nearly 10k virtual machines running at any given time.  

So what have we included in the SCDemo virtual datacenter?  The virtual machine set consists of 40+ virtual machines containing the following technologies all running on a self-contained domain called Contoso.  It’s features include: 

  • Two quad-core hosts running Hyper-V(of course!)
  • Core services such as Active Directory (2 DCs), DNS, and DHCP
  • All System Center components
    • Application Controller
    • Configuration Manager
    • Data Protection Manager
    • Operations Manager
    • Orchestrator with Service Provider Foundation
    • Service Manager 
    • Virtual Machine Manager
  • Azure Services for Windows Server
  • Clustered SQL
  • Exchange, Lync and SharePoint
  • Team Foundation Services
  • Non-Windows Servers
  • Assorted File Share servers, application servers
  • Desktop Operating System machines  

SCDemo labs are in effect much like the environments IT Professionals run day to day, only on a smaller scale.

 

SCDemo Shared: coming soon:

This is a new offering that our team is currently in the process of developing.  It will provide capabilities for a large team of Microsoft evangelists with their own clouds to build and run the demos their customers want to see.  As we develop this we’ll share updates on this blog.

So, why is that important? 

First of all, many of the lessons we have learned (which we’ll share with you in the BuildingClouds blog) are similar to issues which you may encounter into in your daily work.  As we outline our build of SCDemo Cloud and beyond, we hope that there will be some golden nuggets that will be helpful.

Second, a common piece of feedback from throughout the IT community is the general lack of time for labs focused on testing or learning.  But, thought of another way, if we can deploy this mini datacenter on two servers and our evangelist teams can use it to showcase all of Microsoft technologies and more, couldn’t you use something similar as your lab?  This series will help you to build that environment!

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of what SCDemo is and will help you to transfer some of our learning's to your environments.