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  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Rack Design - Part 1

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents Now that we have all of our equipment, we need to figure out what our deployment footprint looks like. It’s worth noting that while we’re discussing this like it was a linear process, this is actually one of the many interdependencies we had to manage...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Network Purchasing (Device Types)

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents Now that Cisco has been chosen as the vendor for our network, we need to identify the layers of our network fabric, and the devices to be used in those roles. We'll have a 3-level network topology when done. Some devices will act as leaf node top-of-rack switches...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Network Purchasing (Vendor)

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents Now that our storage is straightened out, it's time to set our sights on network gear. As was mentioned earlier, this entire project is operating as an independent entity from Microsoft's normal IT operations. There's no shared network, authentication...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Storage Purchasing (SAS config)

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents Now that we've got our JBODs and our file servers, we need to tackle an underappreciated aspect of this solution: The SAS connectivity itself. How Many? After discussing our configuration and layout with folks inside of Microsoft with serious experience...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Storage Purchasing (File Servers)

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents Now that we have our JBOD's identified, we needed to decide what we were connecting them to. We seriously considered using some of our compute nodes as file server heads, but quickly ran into insurmountable problems. Precious I/O We designed our Scale...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Storage Purchasing (JBODs)

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents Today we're looping back to our first decision point: Storage. We already made our commitment to Storage Spaces on JBODs, now we had to find the right parts and vendors to fit our needs and build a good solution. JBODs Our search had to start with...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Fabric Choices (Network)

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents In the prior post , we discussed how our major decision revolved around storage. The choices we made there would dictate the cost of the rest of the solution, so we had to make a decision there first, and carefully at that. Once we knew we'd be using Scale...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Fabric Choices (Storage)

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents The first step on the way to defining our architecture is designing our fabric. That involves taking the goals, users, services, and resources we talked about in previously, and then figuring out the optimal deployment configuration. Storage Choices Came First...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Hardware Resources

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents We've got our goals, users, and services roughly defined already, so we need to start figuring out what resources we need to actually build this cloud. What We've Got As an existing asset base, we have 288 HP Gen6 servers. While certainly not the newest...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Who are the Users? What is the Service?

    Contoso Labs Series - Table of Contents Now that we've laid out our high-level business goals for the project , we have to identify some basic information that will help define the service. Every well-executed IT project has to consider its users and the service they will be consuming very early...
  • Blog Post: Contoso Labs-Introduction

    Welcome to a new series here on the Building Clouds Blog: Contoso Labs .  A new post in this series will run every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  What is Contoso Labs? Contoso Labs is a project that is being undertaken by our team in Windows Server and System Center (WSSC) with the intent...
  • Blog Post: TechEd 2013–The Road to TechEd with End to Edge and Beyond

    Yuri Diogenes and I have been working behind the scenes for the last six months to find the best presentations possible for the TechEd 2013 Architecture (ARC) track. We’ve been lucky to suffer from an embarrassment of riches, as there were so many good presentations to choose from that we didn’t have...
  • Blog Post: Private Cloud Architecture Coverage at Share Cloud Dallas 2012

    Yuri Diogenes and I had a chance to present on private cloud architecture at the Share Cloud Dallas conference in Irving Texas on March 27, 2012. We had a great time presenting and want to thank everyone who attended our sessions. Our first session was A Solution for Private Cloud Security . In that...
  • Blog Post: Private Cloud Solution Hub Rebooted

    Happy New Year to all private cloud architecture fans. OK, so I’m a little late with that. The private cloud architecture blog has been on hiatus for the last couple of months due to unforeseen and someforeseen reasons. The good news is that the blog drought is over and this year is going to be a banner...
  • Blog Post: Deploying complex solutions into virtualized environments - or "To virtualize or not to virtualize"

    A very active topic in the world  of private cloud regards which applications should be virtualized and which applications need to run in a traditional, siloed datacenter environment. At this time it’s hard to come up with a definite “right answer” on either side of the debate. However, it’s something...
  • Blog Post: The Journey to the Private Cloud Part 3 – The Infrastructure Layer

    Happy Monday private cloud architecture blog fans! We start the week on a good foot with a great contribution from one of our private cloud architecture thought leaders – Vincent Montalbano. Vincent is doing a series called “Journey to the Private Cloud” and he’s going over the key architectural issues...
  • Blog Post: Automation–Greatest Hits and Blog Reference Guide

    Hello again Readers/Viewers! Like my previous post over at “Blog D'Joy” , this post will act as a reference to the various posts that I have done in the past and be updated to include the new ones that I have continued to publish here on Building Clouds! Recently, Jim Britt and I curated...
  • Blog Post: Everything I Needed to Know about Chargeback I learned in Kindergarten - by Jamal Malik

    If Jimmy has five apples and he eats two of them, how many apples does Jimmy have left? I’m sure everyone at some point in their lives were asked a question resembling the one above. Interestingly enough, it is not far from a method of chargeback based on consumption based pricing (no pun intended)....
  • Blog Post: Dinosaurs, Darwin and Datacenters

    Whether or not you believe in Evolution in regards to Human Development or World History, one thing for sure is that it is a subject that gives us great insight into the paradigm of change. That within itself I believe is an incredibly fascinating topic and one that has applicability across a number...
  • Blog Post: The Journey to the Private Cloud Part 2 – The Management Layer

    It’s great to see those of you in the private cloud community stepping up to the plate and contributing articles to the private cloud blog! We in the infancy of cloud computing and we’re all trying to ramp up and learn what private cloud is about, what advantages we gain from private cloud, and how to...
  • Blog Post: The Top 10 Reasons You Should Attend our Sessions at MMS 2013!

    Trying to decide which sessions to attend at the 2013 Microsoft Management Summit ?  There are a lot of great options this year, and here are ten reasons we think you should check out the sessions hosted by the authors of the Building Clouds blog… You’ll get to learn all about the Fundamentals of...
  • Blog Post: The Journey to the Private Cloud Part 1 – The Operations Layer

    The Private Cloud blog is all about community and we’re happy to say that we have a number of people from the community stepping up to the plate to share their knowledge about private cloud here. This week we are treated to a great post by Vincent Montalbano on the importance of the Operations Layer...
  • Blog Post: TechEd 2013 Architecture Track Presentations Announced

    We’ve has been busy for the last couple of month’s putting together the Architecture Track for TechEd North America 2013 in New Orleans and TechEd Europe 2013 In Madrid. There we over 200 presentations submitted to the Architecture track and it took us many hours to sift through the presentations. There...
  • Blog Post: Private Cloud Architecture Sessions at TechEd North America 2012

    This is a big year for Microsoft! We’re going to see the release a Windows Server 2012 and a slew of other fantastic products – and you’re going to want to learn about them all. The big thing about Windows Server 2012 is that it’s all about the cloud. Private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud and more...
  • Blog Post: Let’s Build Clouds with Windows Server “8”

    Hello Cloud fans! It gives me great pleasure to kick off a new series of blogs about Windows Server 8 as a cloud-optimized OS! We've been operating in silent mode till now, with limited public exposure (mainly at \\BUILD ) but now it's time to start sharing the great stuff with you. It's going to be...
  • Blog Post: Welcome to the Private Cloud Solutions Hub

    Hey Private Cloud Architecture fans, I’ve got some great news – the Private Cloud Solutions Hub is now live and ready for you to check it out. Our goal for the Private Cloud Solutions Hub is to give you one place where you can find all the private cloud architectural information you need to optimize...
  • Blog Post: Fabric Management–Using F5 Load Balancers with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

    With private cloud , one of the major differentiators is automation of service management. While you can do similar things in a traditional datacenter, the private cloud is, by design and intent, an automated and fully rationalized datacenter deployment. That is why I often say that private cloud is...
  • Blog Post: TechEd 2013–John Morello on Patterns and Practices for the Hybrid World

    The hits keep coming with the TechEd 2013 Architecture (ARC) track! This time I want to introduce you to John Morello. I’ve known John for several years and one thing I can tell you, this guy definitely knows his stuff! I had the unique opportunity of co-presenting a number of talks with John at TechEd...
  • Blog Post: Automation–Orchestrator Architecture and Runbook Deployment Process

    Hello Readers and Viewers! Today’s post will not have a video, but it will have some very popular and hopefully informative information about some “Best Practices” around Orchestrator Architecture and Runbook Deployment. For those of you that have been following me for the past...
  • Blog Post: TechEd 2013–Ulrich Homann Demystifies Devices and Services

    Only a few weeks left before we all get together in New Orleans or Madrid for TechEd 2013! Our ARC track presenters are busy building great presentations and eye-popping demos that are going to have leap out of your seats and yell for more. We on the ARC track team know that you have a limited amount...
  • Blog Post: Architecting Orchestration

    The concept and association of Orchestration and Automation has been fairly synonymous since this ‘Cloud’ paradigm hit the streets. One thing that I have found interesting is that even though almost all vendors, analysts and experts refer to Orchestration and Automation as an important element within...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Datacenter Storage Approaches in the Windows Server 2012 era

    In our previous blog post, we talked about the network architecture of a Windows Server 2012 datacenter and how it opens up the door for new ways of thinking about networking. In this post, we’ll discuss the different conceptual approaches for storage when building cloud infrastructure and see how Windows...
  • Blog Post: Hybrid IT Infrastructure Design Considerations Guide

    It’s been months in the making, but it’s finally here – the Hybrid IT Infrastructure Design Considerations Guide . This guide is a document that you can use to prepare for your integration with a public cloud infrastructure services provider, like Windows Azure Infrastructure Services...
  • Blog Post: TechEd 2013-Josh Adams-Yuri Diogenes-Tom Shinder on Cloud Infrastructure Design

    It’s been fun introducing the sessions in the Architecture Track at TechEd North America and Europe. Now I’d like to tell you about one of the session that I’m presenting in. In the session Architecting a Cloud Infrastructure: A Practical Design Scenario I will be presenting with Josh Adams and Yuri...
  • Blog Post: Let’s Build a Cloud… With PowerShell! – Part 2: Managing Virtual Machines

    In the previous blog in this series , we discussed how to use PowerShell to deploy and configure Hyper-V and File Server clusters to set up a cloud infrastructure environment. We’ve seen how remote PowerShell invocation helps achieve that at scale and with zero manual intervention. We’ve...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Innovators–Tom Shinder and Yuri Diogenes on TechNet Radio

    Have you been hearing a lot about the cloud but you’re not sure what it’s about? Does this cloud stuff sound like marketing and hype to you? Are there any real, substantive differences between cloud computing and what you’re doing now in your datacenters? What about security – how does cloud computing...
  • Blog Post: Building a Windows Server 2012 Cloud Infrastructure with PowerShell by Josh Adams

    Today we have a real treat for you! In this blog post, Joshua Adams, who is a PM in the Microsoft EEC, shows you how to create a Windows Server 2012 based private cloud infrastructure using PowerShell scripts. We had the singular opportunity to work with Josh when we put together the collection of cloud...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Datacenter Network Architecture in the Windows Server “8” era

    In the previous blog, we talked about what makes Windows Server “8” a great cloud platform and how to actually get your hands dirty building your own mini-cloud. I hope by now that you’ve had a chance to explore the Windows Server “8” cloud infrastructure technologies, so now you’re ready to start diving...
  • Blog Post: TechEd 2013-Ulrich Homann on How to Drive Down TCO for Datacenter Applications using Private Cloud

    Only five weeks left before TechEd! (if you’re reading this today). We’re more than half way through introducing the presentations we have in store for you for the Architecture (ARC) track. Today I’d like to reintroduce you to our track’s keynote speaker – Uli Homann. Uli is our Chief Architect in Microsoft...
  • Blog Post: free eBook: Microsoft System Center – Designing Orchestrator Runbooks

    Hi, I’m Andreas Rynes, Lead Architect on the Datacenter Program Team, Microsoft Services HQ working on datacenter solutions focusing on automation and management. Today I’d like to introduce you to a free eBook that we recently released to the public and share with you a few thoughts about...
  • Blog Post: Introducing A Solution for Private Cloud Security

    As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, private cloud provides you an opportunity to “reset” your datacenter. When you look at your enterprise network today, did it really grow the way you wanted it to? Is it managed and operated in the way that you would have ideally designed it? Or, does it suffer from...
  • Blog Post: Let’s Build a Cloud… With PowerShell! - Part 1: Deployment and Configuration

    Windows Server 2012 introduces vastly improved Windows PowerShell support with over 2,300 cmdlets to manage just about everything in the platform. This means you can now use Windows PowerShell to automate a ll of the IT tasks around cloud datacenter management, starting from deploying your cloud infrastructure...