Thursday, 25 March 2010

What World Do You Live In?

Having just read this post by EMC's Chuck Hollis about Private Clouds, where he says "I'm sort of describing the "golden age of mainframes" -- roughly the 1970s and 1980s.  I was there" I'm wondering which world I'm from?

I'm from the "Windows world of New Technology" – that being Window NT and Active Directory. A world of blue screens of death, GUIs and Windows 95, COM, WINS, MSMQ and plenty of Service Packs.

For sure, there's a "We're all Online" we're there now – Web 2.0 and always online, mobile, Facebook and social media. What's the new world that's forming now for the next generation of IT Pros? What's next as virtualisation comes to the fore, centralisation of services come of age and applications become less dependent on physical infrastructure?



Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Five things a Service Provider *must* do

A Service Provider must;

  1. Have credibility as a technology partner
  2. Directly satisfy information security concerns and provide evidence through accreditations
  3. Clearly demonstrate a lower total cost of ownership than traditional IT models
  4. Take ownership and accountability for delivery and risk through irrefutable SLAs and contracts
  5. Develop customer relationships, seek to understand their needs and never forget that
    the solution must fit the customer requirement no matter how it is delivered!

I believe this gives organisations a reason to change.


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Q: What to do? A: Enterprise Ready services

We're deploying a Vblock, that's exciting but the real challenge is - what are we going to do with it? As a service provider, how will we turn this into services and revenue?

I have a view that we need to develop and provide services that are easy to deploy and easy to consume. I'm calling these Enterprise Ready services for the moment. These are applications and services which organisations can use to improve business efficiency, create collaboration between teams and improve access to information. Our background and skills lie in Microsoft technologies - Exchange, SharePoint, Windows Server, Active Directory, SQL Server and the like. So it makes sense to start there.

I also believe that there's a need to provide a level of services that sit below the application at the server/resource layer - servers/VMs on demand for projects, development needs, testing environments etc. but something more than utility services, i.e. the provision of raw CPU & storage on an hour basis.

At the moment, v1 of the services stack looks like this:

Application Cloud (Shared)
Optimised Applications - Shared & Automated
Managed Applications – vApp

e.g. Hosted Communications/Collaboration, Database services, Dynamics CRM, WSS3.0 etc.

Connected Cloud (Private, not shared)
Dedicated Services, (Partner Hosted)
Integration to on-Premise systems
Active Directory trust/replication
e.g. Dedicated Exchange, SharePoint Server, OCS/UM

Native/Scalable Cloud
Critical Application Hosting - Web & Media services
Stand-alone platforms – ISV hosting

Cloud (Resource) Platform
Resource-pool VMs, Infrastructure as a Service
Managed Windows servers
Storage as a Service

*These are just my names for these services, they will change and evolve for sure… and I know there are many different views and definitions for cloud.

Over the next few weeks we'll complete the build, testing and a real-world proof of concept deployment on the Vblock. While we're doing this I'll go into more detail around these services and explain exactly why they are going to be "Enterprise Ready" and how their deployment will differ from raw cloud services such as Azure and AWS


Monday, 22 March 2010

Follow Chad Sakac

Follow if you don't already. Making Vblock easier to understand..
(read from the bottom up btw)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Time to Vblock!

I am lucky. I'm getting my hands on a Vblock, I'm told it's the first official Vblock in the UK, so they are rare things.

A Vblock is a whopping lump of computing power from EMC, Cisco and Vmware. These guys have created the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Coalition. The Vblock is a pre-engineered, integrated stack of storage, servers and switches with a virtualisation layer and a complete set of management tools. There are a few Vblock models available based on different EMC storage platforms that support thousands of VMs.

The idea is that service providers and systems integrators will be able to create on-demand private and public clouds using Vblock solutions - it's cloud computing in a box. Resources from a server up to a full virtual data-centre can be provisioned, operated, managed and torn-down inside the Vblock environment. Sounds easy. BTW, it's understood that Vblocks will be able to connect and interoperate with each other, sharing computing capacity and resources across data centre environments. That sounds pretty exciting, if a little challenging in practice.

If the analyst predictions come true, then enterprises will buy less hardware in the next few years and move computing to providers of cloud-based services. That's got the big vendors a bit worried - CIO's, and CFO's especially, are looking to buy services on-demand, pay for what they use and move to a consumption-based model that shifts from a capital purchasing model to an operational cost. I bet the EMC sales guys are a bit worried too!

My team are just starting a proof of concept deployment on a Vblock-1. I'll let you know how we get on.