Louis shares his observations from a recent Gartner webinar titled How Cloud Computing changes the Vendor Landscapeby David Mitchell, VP and Gartner Fellow.
Microsoft has the most ambitious cloud strategy of the nine companies profiled, and their cloud-first design initiative shows they have faith in Azure performing in the enterprise. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 will first be released on Azure, then on-premise is a case in point. Microsoft is impatient to move into a subscription model with its evolving cloud platform.
Gartner’s analysis of Microsoft’s cloud strategy is shown in the following graphic.
Here is a summary chart showing Microsoft as having perfect balance between enabling technology and packaged cloud. Other major vendors on the list are Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com, IBM, VMware, HP, and Oracle among others.
For more information on how you can benefit from our cloud solutions, reach out to me or speak to your Microsoft account manager.
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.
Jeff Woolsey, Principal Program Manager Lead at Microsoft, shared this glimpse from TechEd Europe 2012 that’s happening right now in Amsterdam. That’s Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V delivering over 1 million IOPs from a single virtual machine!
Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC) marks a major milestone in Microsoft’s foray into the virtualization world. While Microsoft have always been leaders in management technologies, an area where VMware was weak, Microsoft now have the hypervisor which exceeds VMware capabilities.
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?
MVA 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
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.
IDC has predicted that 2012 will be VMware’s last year as ‘King of the Hill’.
With Windows Server 8, Hyper-V beats VMware not only in pricing but also in features. Even if VMware brought down pricing, Hyper-V still has features that VMware doesn’t.
And do not forget that System Center (the current version as well as 2012) has more mature and complete management features than VMware ever had, and the key to meaningful virtualization or realizing a private cloud lies in robust management tools.
MVP Aidan Finn wrote on his blog with a touch of humor:
And don’t forget that System Center (current and future) smack VMware’s “management” products around like a one-legged little person in a heavyweight MMA fight.
VMware fanboys and trolls please save yourselves the trouble, comments on this blog are moderated.
“Virtualization without management is more dangerous than not using virtualization in the first place.” – Tom Bittman, Gartner VP & Analyst
So you realized that you need to virtualize. The idea of being able to run multiple workloads on a smaller number of boxes sounded interesting to you. You saw how virtualization can save you many a buck in hardware maintenance, energy, cooling, rack space, and were fascinated by it.
Server consolidation – now that’s a term you liked to hear. Sounds like its going to simplify things up, doesn’t it? The idea of putting more eggs in one basket. Yes, it reduces cost, but how are you going to ensure that these baskets are strong enough to hold your eggs and that they wont break under pressure?
So you let the ‘Hypervisor wars’ begin – Hyper-V, VMware, you decided and chose your weapon. “What next?” you say. Well, the battle has not yet begun. Today, the hypervisor is more like a commodity, whatever you choose, it will let you virtualize – the art and science of creating a thin layer that abstracts operating system environments from the underlying hardware.
Some hypervisors provide more features than the others. The choice is simple. What matters to you is (1) which of these hypervisor features do you really need for your business, and (2) is the feature that you get worth the cost and complexity that particular hypervisor brings with it?
I am of the view that any technology you implement should contribute to the business of your organization. If it does not support the business, then that technology is useless to your organization. If you, for example, chose VMware to virtualize your (otherwise primarily Microsoft) datacenter just because it offers ‘memory overcommit’, a feature which you will probably never use in the first place, (because is not recommended for production), then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
You could go online and spend hours scouring pages and pages of information comparing hypervisors from Microsoft and VMware, but what you’re looking at is basically a piece of code between 1.7 and 3.6 GB in size.
So what does really matter?
What really matters is Management. The ability to manage and monitor every service you offer in your datacenter, end-to-end, physical or virtual. What your users see is not the hypervisor, it is way beyond that – the users see the service that you’re offering. And a robust management tool helps you ensure that services you offer are healthy so that you meet your SLA.
Imagine being able to have to look at one single monitoring dashboard that will proactively alert you of problems on hardware, operating system environments, virtualization layers, apps running on physical servers, and apps running on virtual servers. Imagine being able to look at one interface to discover that your hardware is overheating, or your server power supply is not redundant, and then look at the same interface to discover there is a shortage of disk space on your physical host server or if an application service is stopped. Imagine looking at the very same interface to know that the outbound mail queue on your Exchange Server machine that you virtualized on Hyper-V (or VMware) is building up faster than it should, or discovering that a service on one of your Linux servers virtualized on Hyper-V is failing.
That, my friends, is what I call robust end-to-end management. Microsoft System Center provides you just that. Don’t virtualize without it.
Let’s take one step forward. Let’s say you’re a local bank and you have virtualized your web servers on Hyper-V. You’ve deployed System Center components for managing your gear. Let’s say that you get most hits on your website during the day. During your “peak” operating hours you need 3 machines in a load balancing configuration to handle the load. During “off peak” hours you barely have any traffic, so all you need is one server. In the absence of virtualization or management, you would still leave 3 physical machines running 24/7 to handle the load.
But when you have virtualization with System Center, things are different. System Center Operations Manager is monitoring your servers (physical and virtual) 24/7. You can configure System Center to raise an alert when the number of transactions on your application running on IIS on the first server exceeds a threshold ‘x’, and trigger an event that results in automatically starting the 2nd virtualized web server, and the third, and so on as the number of transactions increase. Similarly, when the number of transactions drop, the additional servers can be powered off automatically, freeing up processor, memory and other resources on the host machine, which can potentially be used by other services that require additional servers to be powered up during ‘off peak’ hours. Hence, you are able to run more servers than the capacity of your Hyper-V host machine by dynamically provisioning and de-provisioning servers and efficiently utilizing your resources. Because your management tool can now see inside your virtual machines. What this means, basically, is that you get ‘more bang for the buck’.
And this is what I’d call a ‘Dynamic Datacenter’. And that’s where we’re taking you with System Center and virtualization. We’re not arguing over who’s got the smallest hypervisor; we’re giving you the much bigger picture and what really matters to you and your datacenter at large.
VMware’s vCenter, on the other hand, does not see “inside” the guest. It cannot monitor the number of connections/sec on your web service, or the length of your Exchange mail queue or the number of transactions on your database. It just sees your VM from a hypervisor perspective and does not know how the application on that VM is performing (or even if it is running). And that’s not sufficient from a service level perspective.
Even if you run VMware, System Center can still work together with it and manage your VMware environment – but of course this is an integration with vCenter. You still have an island of a management tool that you’re joining together with System Center. When it’s an all-Microsoft platform, you definitely have the Microsoft advantage. Everything’s integrated by default and everything works.
Thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe to this blog for more to come.
Matt Cain, vice president and lead e-mail analyst at Gartner, recently published the Gartner MarketScope for E-mail Systems, 2010 (Matt Cain, Gartner Research, Aug. 12, 2010), which evaluated the major e-mail vendors. Microsoft received a “strong positive” rating, and has purchased the reprint rights. To read the report, please click here: Gartner MarketScope for E-mail Systems, 2010.
The MarketScope included vendors such as Google, IBM, MiraPoint, Novell, Open X-change, VMware/Zimbra and Xandros/Scalix. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft is the only vendor that received a “strong positive” rating.
I thought I’d share this great video by Jim Harrison on considerations to make when planning to run Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) (or ISA Server, for that matter) on a virtualized environment.
In this video, he discusses:
Performance, security and management considerations
Why it’s not recommended to place TMG on the parent, and how to configure the parent partition
High Availability with TMG in a virtual environment