Build a Windows Azure portal on-premises with the Windows Azure Pack!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 05.09.2013 at 20:31

Have you used Windows Azure’s clean and simple management portal and wished you could build the same kind of portal for your Private Cloud?

Well, now you can – with Windows Azure Pack.

Releasing soon, Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server is a collection of Windows Azure technologies, available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost for installation into your data center.


It runs on top of Windows Server 2012/Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and, through the use of the Windows Azure technologies, enables you to offer a rich, self-service, multi-tenant cloud, consistent with the public Windows Azure experience.

This can make your Private Cloud interface look like one from a real service provider.

Windows Azure Pack Management Portal

Windows Azure Pack includes the following capabilities:

  • Management portal for tenants – a customizable self-service portal for provisioning, monitoring, and managing services such as Web Sites, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus.
  • Management portal for administrators – a portal for administrators to configure and manage resource clouds, user accounts, and tenant offers, quotas, and pricing.
  • Service management API – a RESTful API that helps enable a range of integration scenarios including custom portal and billing systems.
  • Web Sites – a service that helps provide a high-density, scalable shared web hosting platform for ASP.NET, PHP, and Node.js web applications. The Web Sites service includes a customizable web application gallery of open source web applications and integration with source control systems for custom-developed web sites and applications.
  • Virtual Machines – a service that provides infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities for Windows and Linux virtual machines. The Virtual Machines service includes a VM template gallery, scaling options, and virtual networking capabilities.
  • Service Bus – a service that provides reliable messaging services between distributed applications. The Service Bus service includes queued and topic-based publish/subscribe capabilities.
  • Automation and Extensibility – the capability to automate and integrate additional custom services into the services framework, including a runbook editor and execution environment.

At the moment, the Windows Azure Pack is in “Preview”. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted when Windows Azure Pack becomes available!

Video: How Aston Martin uses Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012

by Shijaz Abdulla on 04.06.2013 at 23:04

Find out how luxury car maker Aston Martin uses System Center 2012 and Windows Server 2012 to accelerate efficiency in this interesting video case study.

Click here to view case study.


Bootcamp in Qatar! Windows Server 2012 Virtualization

by Shijaz Abdulla on 31.01.2013 at 15:45

Microsoft, in partnership with Qatar Datamation Systems and HP are organizing an IT Pro bootcamp in Qatar during Feb 27-28, focusing on Windows Server 2012 Virtualization and Management.

This much-awaited bootcamp has only limited space and seats are filling up quickly, please register soon and be on time at the venue to avoid disappointment!






Please join us for our upcoming Windows Server 2012 and Infrastructure Management IT Pro Camp. Microsoft IT Pro Camps are expert-led, no-cost, hands-on training events for IT professionals, centered on the issues and workloads you’re tackling in your environment today.
At Windows Server 2012 & Infrastructure Management IT Pro Camps you’ll gain deep technical insight into the new features and functionalities of Windows Server 2012. Hands-on demos and interactive discussions with Microsoft technical experts will cover a variety of topics including Server Virtualization, Storage, Networking, Server Management and Automation, Identity and Access, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, and Web and Application Platform.


27th – 28th February 2013
8:30 AM – 5.30 PM
Ritz Carlton Hotel


image imageimage

System Center Service Manager mobile clients

by Shijaz Abdulla on 06.12.2012 at 07:02

Our partner LinkDotNet has developed Service Manager clients for mobile devices. The app is currently available for Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Apple iOS.

Check them out:

Our partners LinkDotNet and ExpIT both offer Arabic versions of the System Center Service Manager portal.

System Center the absolute leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant on Client Management Tools

by Shijaz Abdulla on 04.07.2012 at 10:15


Going back to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools published on 31 January and revised on 8 February 2012.

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) is placed as the absolute leader in the Magic Quadrant, where the likes of HP, Symantec, LANDesk, CA and others were considered.

The main strengths of System Center Configuration Manager listed by Gartner included our tight integration with App-V, Service Manager and Forefront Endpoint Protection, and the availability of knowledge in the industry due to wide adoption.

Pondering over the cautions, Gartner mentions that Linux and Macintosh client management is not included in SCCM at the time of publishing this quadrant. However, Microsoft announced on June 11, 2012  the SCCM 2012 SP1 CTP that includes support for managing Windows 8, Macintosh OS X and Linux.

The other caution was around Mobile Device Management, since SCCM currently provides only ‘lightweight’ MDM and that SCCM might require expertise for installation. Thanks to the large network of specialized partners in System Center, finding expertise is easy. There are also a number of solutions that integrate and extend the MDM capabilities of System Center Configuration Manager such as Athena MDM.

June 2012 Gartner Quadrant on Server Virtualization

by Shijaz Abdulla on 27.06.2012 at 10:48

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure

Microsoft is a leader, right behind VMware on the June 2012 Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization released by Gartner.

But wait – in this magic quadrant, Gartner compares Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and System Center 2007 with VMware vSphere 5. You can imagine what would be the outcome if they were to consider Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and System Center 2012!!

What is also interesting to note, is about the cautions that Gartner have mentioned about Microsoft vs. VMware:

For Microsoft, the cautions are all around sales & marketing, such as penetrating VMware installed base and facing competition. For VMware, however, the caution is about customer concerns around vendor lock-in – specifically around the lack of support for heterogeneous environments, a strength in System Center 2012 that brings flexibility to customers.

Related Post: How Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V compares against VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus

Wallpapers: I Love System Center 2012

by Shijaz Abdulla on 24.06.2012 at 17:02

Check out the “I Love System Center” wallpaper series on the Canal System Center blog. System Center fans, choose from a variety of different wallpapers to decorate your desktop!


System Center 2012 SP1 CTP2 adds support for managing Windows Server 2012 RC

by Shijaz Abdulla on 17.06.2012 at 11:54

On the Server & Cloud blog, the System Center team announced that the second Community Technology Preview (CTP2) of System Center Service Pack 1 as being available for download.


Here are the top capabilities that SP1 brings:

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate
The System Center 2012 SP1 update enables System Center to run on and manage the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate. System Center 2012 SP1 scales management to complement the scaling in Windows Server and also adds System Center manageability to the new capabilities in Windows Server 2012 such as virtual networking.

Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Last week the Windows Azure team announced the release preview of “Windows Azure Virtual Machines”, enabling you to move virtual hard disks (VHDs) between on-premises and cloud. (That’s IaaS from Azure!)

System Center 2012 SP1 integrates with the Azure virtual machines enabling you to:

  • Move on-premise virtual machines to Azure using App Controller.
  • Manage Azure virtual machines from your on-premises System Center using App Controller and Orchestrator using the new Azure Integration Pack.

Global Service Monitor
A new cloud enabled capability called “Global Service Monitor” (GSM) extends the application monitoring in System Center 2012 to enable you to add “outside-in” testing to incorporate a true reflection of users’ experience of your web site or web application. Through the System Center 2012 Operations Manager console you schedule the GSM cloud service, hosted in Windows Azure, to issue synthetic transactions against your web facing application from Azure points of present around the globe.

GSM reports back the results (availability, performance, functionality) to your on-premises operations manager dashboard. You can integrate this perspective with other monitoring data from the same application, taking action as soon as any issues are detected in order to achieve your SLA. To evaluate System Center 2012 SP1 with GSM, sign up for the customer preview of GSM.

Hosted Clouds
System Center 2012 helps you optimize your organization’s use of both private cloud and Windows Azure resources through the App Controller component. System Center 2012 SP1 extends App Controller’s capabilities to include cloud resources offered by Hosting Service Providers, giving you the option of consuming a wide range of custom and commodity IaaS cloud services from your Service Provider.

For Service Providers, System Center 2012 SP1 adds the new “Service Provider Foundation” (SPF) API. SPF is an extensible OData REST API that can be easily integrated with the hoster’s customer portal and is automatically integrated with customers’ on-premises App Controller. A simple exchange of credentials enables enterprises to add the Service Provider cloud to App Controller for consumption alongside private and public cloud resources. SPF also has multi-tenancy built-in and can operate at massive scale, controlling multiple scale-units built around Virtual Machine Manager.

SUSE Manager Management Pack for System Center announced

by Shijaz Abdulla on 10.06.2012 at 02:34


On May 21, at the Open Source Business Conference 2012 at San Francisco, Microsoft announced a new beta management pack that integrates SUSE Manager with the Microsoft System Center 2012. The product will allow IT departments to manage Windows and Linux environments as one. 

The integration between the two management systems will maintain compliance in Linux server environments, particularly in keeping Linux systems patched and updated, said Fabio Cunha, Microsoft solutions technology evangelist, who gave a demo of the new technology at the conference.

Interoperability is also essential in cloud computing environments where servers, storage, networking and software are managed as one complete IT resource, said Sandy Gupta, general manager of the Microsoft Open Solutions Group, which manages Microsoft’s relationships with the open-source community.

The cloud “needs to be adaptable to heterogeneous environments where virtualization is done on multiple hypervisors and operating systems,” said Gupta, in a keynote address at the conference

Additional details about the System Center and SUSE Manager integration can be found in this blog post on the SUSE Website.

Learn how to build and operate a Private Cloud

by Shijaz Abdulla on 28.04.2012 at 09:55

Over the past few days I have been reviewing e-learning content on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). I was amazed by the wealth of training content available on MVA for the Private Cloud.

So, what is MVA?

imageMVA is a fully cloud-based learning experience focusing on Microsoft Cloud Technologies. MVA provides its users with a virtual university experience: the student can select a track and study the material and then do the self-assessment. Students on MVA can get access to all the information, statistics and advancements of their training career, allowing them to maintain a long-term relationship with Microsoft. Learning through MVA is free of charge, and you can study the contents at any time and at your own pace.

Configuring and Deploying Microsoft’s Private Cloud

After completing this private cloud specialization, you will have an understanding of Microsoft’s vision for cloud computing, from the business perspective to the technical level. The 8 modules are divided into four core courses covering:

1. Private Cloud: Infrastructure Management

  • Module 1: Configure and Deploy Private Cloud Infrastructure
  • Module 2: Monitor and Operate Private Cloud Infrastructure

2. Private Cloud: Infrastructure Components

  • Module 1: Configure and Deploy Infrastructure Components
  • Module 2: Monitor and Operate Infrastructure Components

3. Private Cloud: Service Delivery and Automation

  • Module 1:; Configure and Deploy Service Delivery & Automation
  • Module 2: Monitor and Operate Service Delivery & Automation

4. Private Cloud: Application Services Management

  • Module 1: Application Services Management, Configuration, & Deployment
  • Module 2: Application Services Management, Operation, & Management


During the 8 modules of this specialization, you will be introduced to all the elements of building the Microsoft private cloud. You’ll learn how to optimize and deploy the private cloud starting at the infrastructure layer. You’ll also be introduced to advanced virtualization management features and the concept and implementation of the System Center’s private cloud application service model.

After completing all of the modules you will have an understanding of:

  • How using Microsoft System Center 2012 can help you build, deploy and manage a private cloud infrastructure.
  • How System Center 2012 incorporates tools to deploy, update, and manage applications within your private cloud.
  • System Center 2012’s new abilities to deploy, update, and manage applications within your private cloud.
  • How using new components of System Center 2012, specifically the Orchestrator and Service Manager components, enable you to deploy, update, and manage service offerings within your private cloud.
  • How applications are deployed and managed in the Microsoft private cloud.
  • How to use new capabilities in System Center 2012 to deploy your applications as services.

I highly recommend this training for all IT Pros as an excellent means of updating your skills and build your readiness to face new challenges as cloud computing evolves.

< Previous posts