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Microsoft's Hybrid Cloud - Extending the Datacenter to Windows Azure in the Cloud

Stretching the Datacenter to the Public Cloud

For more than two decades, organizations built datacenters and hosted their own servers and systems within their datacenters.  The role of the Information Technology (I.T.) department was to keep these systems within their control running in an optimal manner.  That included keeping the systems patched and updated, servers and applications backed up, and ensuring all systems were fully operational.However with the entry of the “cloud”, the I.T. departments in organizations are now challenged with a new dimension to I.T. management that includes the management of systems that are not in the four walls of the organization’s enterprise datacenter(s).  First, it is applications like email, Web conferencing, and file sharing that are being shifted to the cloud.  However since full Windows-based guest sessions are now being made available in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) hosted environments, organizations have the opportunity to spin up Windows systems in the cloud.Rather than spinning up Windows-based guest sessions in any cloud environment, Microsoft has made it attractive to spin up Windows-based systems in their Azure in the cloud.  The benefits of using Microsoft’s Azure cloud services for the virtual machines is the tight integration in what Microsoft has called their CloudOS that matches the operating system on-premise with the operating system in Azure in the cloud.With the same Windows on-premise and in the cloud, as well as the ability to stretch the enterprise datacenter to include Azure in the cloud, Azure becomes nothing more than an extension to the organization’s datacenter.  With a stretched network, common hypervisor, and common Windows configuration between the on-premise datacenter and Azure in the cloud, I.T. organizations can truly optimize their ongoing maintenance and support processes with cloud-based resources just like on-premise resources.The organization can stretch its datacenter network to Windows Azure by setting up a Site to Site VPN where the VMs up in Azure are effectively connected to the Enterprise Datacenter.  No "islands" of VMs in various cloud providers that make the VMs hard to manage.  The Site to Site VPN just extends the datacenter to allow for VMs to be created in the cloud

With VMs both on-premise and up in Azure, the organization can use the standard System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) tool it uses to patch/update on-premise VMs to patch and update VMs up in the Cloud

Monitoring of VMs that are up in Windows Azure in the cloud through a stretched network connection is like monitoring VMs that are on-premise.  They show up in the System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) console and alerts can be generated for Azure VMs just like on-premise VMs

Virtual Machines can be deployed on-premise, in a private cloud, or in a public cloud like Windows Azure through the use of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and System Center App Controller.  The VMs are seen in App Controller from a single pane, greatly simplifying the management of VMs in any of a number of datacenter (on-premise or cloud) environments

And lastly, runbook processes can be executed against VMs both On-Premise as well as up in Windows Azure through System Center Orchestrator, providing an organization the ability to automate processes and greatly simplify day to day tasks.

I will be leading a Level 300 (technical) session on all of this at Microsoft's TechEd North America in Houston.  The session details are as follows:

  • "Best Practices Integrating On-Premise Datacenters with Azure IaaS (Session DCIM-B330)"
  • Tentatively: Tuesday, May/13th (2014), 10:15am-11:30am
  • Session Speakers:  Rand Morimoto & Chris Amaris (Convergent Computing (CCO), SF Bay Area)
  • Abstract/Description:  As organizations want to integrate Azure IaaS with existing on-premise datacenter resource, the key is to ensure best practices at stretching the corporate network to Azure are achieved.
  • Audience Key Learning:
    • learn from best practices in stretching the on-premise datacenter to Azure IaaS
    • simplify the management of Azure-based VMs using existing System Center 2012 R2 management tools
    • simplify integrations from tips, tricks, best practices, and lessons learned from experts that have integrated Azure IaaS with on-premise datacenters hundreds of times for some of the largest enterprises in the world

I also released a book that covers Microsoft’s CloudOS strategy and the best practices how organizations are extending their enterprise datacenters to Azure in the cloud.  This is an executive level (non-technical) guide that shares how organizations are leveraging Microsoft’s System Center tools for ongoing maintenance, monitoring, management, automation, and support.  The book is titled "Microsoft's Hybrid Cloud: Extending the Enterprise Datacenter to Include Windows Azure in the Cloud".  Available both in print and in Kindle format off Amazon.com

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