Gordie Howe once famously said, “All hockey players are bilingual.  They know English and profanity.”  No doubt, there are times when most IT Pros feel similarly gifted (like when a production server goes down as you’re about to head home for dinner). That said, there is real (and growing) value to be found in becoming bilingual in a different way – learning how to operate the increasing number of heterogeneous IT environments where VMware and Microsoft solutions co-exist. 

Many IT pros that I spoke with at the Microsoft Management Summit in early April told me that Hyper-V is gaining real traction, but that in many cases it’s an “and” world, not an “or” one.  But, while many VMware experts see the value in skilling up on the Microsoft platform, they’d like to know how what they already know translates between the two.  And it starts with the building blocks—the specific technologies you’d use to build a private cloud.

So here is a bit of a primer on the building blocks of the private cloud in both “Microsoftese” and “vSpeak”:

Private_Cloud_Technologies

 As you review the following, please keep in mind that these are rough comparisons, intended to showcase similar technologies that address a particular need. In subsequent posts, I will explore some of these differences.

The hypervisor:  Everyone knows which is which in the world of the hypervisor.  Today when we do comparisons, it’s between Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 v. the vSphere hypervisor that is part of vSphere.   

VM management:  This refers to what is used to perform the day to day tasks of managing the virtual machines running on the infrastructure, from deployment and migration, through to templating and cloud creation.  Here, vCenter is what the majority of vSphere admins will be used to using on a day to day basis – in Microsoftese, that’s Virtual Machine Manager.

Self-service:  A crucial tenet of private cloud is that it enables agility by allowing IT to delegate access to infrastructure through self service, which gives application owners, VM owners, and service owners the ability to access the resources they need, in a controlled yet intuitive manner.  For people with vCloud Director familiarity, the vocabulary for the Microsoft private cloud is “App Controller.”

Application insight and monitoring:  The Microsoft stack uses Operations Manager to start to gain visibility into the physical and virtual infrastructure, which provides levels of insight into both Microsoft and heterogeneous infrastructures, from the metal right up into the applications running inside the VMs, from both inside and outside the infrastructure walls.  The Vspeak equivalent is the vCenter Operations Management Suite.

Protection:  A private cloud needs to consider backup, too.  vSphere Data Protection is analogous to  Data Protection Manager, which plays a part in protecting Hyper-V virtual machines, but also workloads and applications inside the infrastructure, too.

Service Management and Automation: How IT pros can introduce the ability for users to request resources, infrastructure components, virtual machines, cloud capacity, and more, and how they can automate all their stack into a powerful private cloud, rely on Microsoft’s Orchestrator and Service Manager, or, in Vspeak, vCenter Orchestrator and vCloud Automation Center.

From a licensing and acquisition perspective, both VMware and Microsoft have made significant strides in simplifying the acquisition of their portfolios, with Microsoft adopting a single licensing approach for System Center, which provides organizations with all the key capabilities listed here, with the exception of Hyper-V, which is available as a component of Windows Server 2012, as well as a standalone free download.

Microsoft_VMware

VMware has taken a similar approach, combining the still-individually-licensable products in an offer known as the vCloud Suite.

Now we’ve got the basics down.  Bilingualism is more than knowing the words, though, you need to know how to make sentences.  To learn more about Microsoft’s private cloud technologies and how they compare with VMware’s, watch some sessions from MMS.  Learn from Matt McSpirit about how the clouds compare, learn more about migration tools from Matt and Mark Gosson, and learn more about the hypervisors themselves with Matt again.