Everybody is talking about the cloud these days. However the term Cloud is completely over-hyped! Suppliers rebrand their products into cloud products even when it has not only one Cloud property. People say that they are using Cloud computing, but they mean virtualization… and so on.
In this article I’ll try to explain the Internal Cloud and what you need for the Internal Cloud. We also will take a look if we can build an Internal Cloud with Hyper-V and System Center.
Let’s first take a look at the Wikipedia definition of Cloud computing:
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).
When you look at this definition I can imagine that you say: Hey we’re already doing this for a couple of years and that can be true. Cloud is just a marketing term!
Ok now we’ve clarified the term Cloud let’s take a look at the difference between an internal cloud and a public (external) cloud. The main difference is that an internal cloud is only dedicated to your company and a public cloud is shared with many. An example of a public cloud service is Office 365. Many companies share this platform with other companies and it’s not possible to get a dedicated Exchange server or Sharepoint server within this service. The opposite is true for a private cloud service. Within a private cloud you can get dedicated servers or dedicated hardware.
However, the question is: when are we talking about a private cloud? Well Gartner made a nice model with required en preferred components for a private cloud:
When any of the required components is missing we’re not talking about a private cloud.
So let’s take a look if we can build a private cloud with Hyper-V and System Center and link the different components to a product starting with the required products:
- Physical Infrastucture (not related to software but surely required )
- Virtual Infrastructure –> Hyper-V
- Virtual Infrastructure Management –> System Center Virtual Machine Manager
- Service catalog –> System Center Service Manager
- Self-service provisioning portal –> System Center Self Service Portal 2.0 or AppController
- Identity and Access management –> Forefront Identity Manager
- Performance Management –> System Center Operations Manager
- Configuration and change management –> System Center Configuration Manager
- Life Cycle management –> Sharepoint and Visual Studio for applications and Forefront Identity Manager for identities
- Capacity management –> System Center Operations Manager
- Chargeback system –> No native possibilities within the Microsoft portfolio but if you’re good with SQL you can extract this data from the OpsMgr en SCVMM database.
- Enterprise Service Management –> System Center Service Manager
- Ext. Cloud Connector –> System Center Virtual Machine Manager (with System Center App Controller)
- Orchestrator –> System Center Orchestrator
- Service governor/ Infrastructure authority –> This is exactly what System Center is!
This last term need some clarification. With an Infrastructure authority we mean an central place where all information comes together. This central information will be used for orchestration processes. If we look at how the System Center product works we see that the several products within the System Center family share information with each other. If for example System Center Operations Manager collect information about an object then System Center Virtual Machine manager does not need to do this because System Center Operations Manager shares this information in the Datawarehouse database. System Center Orchestrator use this central data model to gather information so it can make the right decisions.
So the conclusion is that there are three areas wherefore we need products outside of the System Center suite or manual modification of the products. These areas are: Identity and Access Management, Life Cycle Management and Chargeback.
With this blog I’ve tried to make clear the definition of a private cloud and what components are needed for a private cloud. I hope that this post will help you to understand the private cloud concept and clear the fog around this subject!