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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: Contoso Labs-Table of Contents

    This is a table of contents for the entire Contoso Labs series. Posts will be categorized by main topics that they cover. Introduction and Planning Introduction Who are the Users? What is the Service? Hardware Resources Fabric Choices (Storage) Fabric Choices (Network) Storage...