Notes on IT (mainly Microsoft)

Archive for January 2013

Designing Your Cloud Infrastructure

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This Design Guide is focused on the design of the cloud infrastructure and the components that make up a cloud infrastructure. It does not provide information on how build a complete private cloud, public cloud, or hosted cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or software as a service (SaaS) solution. The cloud infrastructure contains the building blocks on which any Windows Server 2012 cloud service or delivery model is built.

This document is comprised of the following sections:

  • Cloud Infrastructure Technical Overview. This section provides a short overview of cloud computing and the requirements of a cloud infrastructure.
  • Cloud Infrastructure Design. This section provides an introduction to the cloud infrastructure design process.
  • Designing the Cloud Storage Infrastructure. This section provides information related to design considerations for building the cloud storage infrastructure using Windows Server 2012 platform features and capabilities.
  • Designing the Cloud Network Infrastructure. This section provides information related to design considerations for building the cloud network infrastructure by using Windows Server 2012 platform features and capabilities.
  • Designing the Cloud Compute (Virtualization) Infrastructure. This section provides information related to design considerations for building the cloud compute (virtualization) infrastructure using Windows Server 2012 platform features and capabilities.
  • Overview of Suggested Cloud Infrastructure Deployment Scenarios. This section provides information on three suggested cloud infrastructure deployment scenarios and the design decisions that drive selecting one over the other.

Enterprise Architecture, Solution Design Authority and Architecture Reviews

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TOGAF v9 docs and an overview video

Enterprise Architect soft skills are emphasized in a blog entry here and also in blog entries from Nick Malik’s Inside Architecture.

Nick Malik has some interesting videos available:

Enterprise Architecture within Microsoft

How to Align IT Using Business Capabilities

Business Architecture for Non Architects

Some organizations have a Solution Design Authority as an architecture role. Here’s an example of a Solution Design Authority and the associated process.

In the past I have struggled with the role of “Architecture” in IT in mid-sized business; one way of adopting it is as a gateway or stage boundary in the projects using Architecture Reviews. I did find a very pragmatic presentation on Architecture Reviews that comes from the Enterprise Architecture division of the CIO’s office for the State of North Carolina;  the pages on principles, practices and standards are also worth looking at as jump starts in this area.

Service Catalog as pre-requisite for Private Cloud and Data Center transformation

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If you have ever studied ITILv3 you will have seen the Service Pipeline.

Here’s a very nice post that argues that “The service catalog  has a central place in data center and cloud transformation“; Service Catalog is part of Domain 5 of Cisco’s Domain Ten framework for data center and cloud transformation. It also contains an interesting post on the history of the Service Catalog.

Written by adamsync

January 26, 2013 at 01:19

TCP Loopback Fast Path in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8

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“The default behavior of the TCP loopback interface is to move local TCP traffic through most of the network stack, including AFD (which is essentially the kernel mode representation of a user mode TCP socket),  as well as the layers corresponding to TCP and IP protocol layers.

Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 introduce a new optional fast path…


TCP Loopback fast path is just one of the Low Latency Workload support features in Windows Server 2012.

Written by adamsync

January 26, 2013 at 00:35

Windows Azure Active Directory update

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In an earlier post I explained that AD DS on Windows Azure Virtual Machines is not Windows Azure Active Directory and later last year Microsoft announced that two key features of Windows Azure Active Directory are available at no charge.

There is now a whitepaper available that covers Active Directory from on premises to the cloud; here’s a snip of the content.


UPDATE: Microsoft have added an additional paper at the same link:

‘The technical article “Leveraging Windows Azure AD from Windows 8 based Line Of Business (LOB) applications” that comes along with the whitepaper further illustrates how a mobile LOB application built on top of the Windows Store app model can be “connected” to the organization’s Windows Azure AD directory tenant, and how to federate a cloud REST API built with .NET with that directory tenant and consume this API from a Windows Store app. Step-by-step instructions are provided to easily reproduce the configuration.’

Written by adamsync

January 26, 2013 at 00:04

Microsoft Cloud OS and Private Clouds

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Ignoring the poor form of quoting oneself; in a post last year I commented on “amount of IT infrastructure capability it delivers as standard” in Windows Server 2012 and “Microsoft’s learning from the demands of running infrastructure at large scale with virtualization as an integrated part of that”. Microsoft’s recent announcement of System Center 2012 SP1  seems to reinforce this view.

Microsoft Advances the Cloud OS With New Management Solutions

What is the Cloud OS?

Microsoft and Service Providers Deliver on the Cloud OS Vision Together

Also on learning from scale: How Xbox can transform your datacentre

The Register’s view on How to build a perfect private cloud with Windows Server 2012 shows how this might all be put together on-premise.

That article also raises a key point about application availability and whether that is delivered by the application or the infrastructure. The move to application replication that we saw with, for example, database availability groups in Exchange 2010 and the use of local storage in that application, has begged questions about when is a SAN functionality required (thinking hardware-based storage replication) and raises the possibility of replication to public cloud. Where to place the responsibility for application availability is tricky as infrastructure architects may be reliant on platform or application architects to be aware of what availability models are in the application; that information could surface through technology roadmapping and vendor management. The separation of the application (software), platform and infrastructure layers in private cloud architectures can be seen in both the Microsoft model:


and the Cisco Domain Ten blueprint; for more on the latter see Introducing Cisco Domain Ten(SM) – Cisco Services’ Blueprint for Simplifying Data Center and Cloud Transformation.

Windows Server 2012 Storage improvements

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Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) and data de-duplication are just two of the features in Windows Server 2012 Storage. An overview of all of the new features can be found in the Windows Server 2012 Storage Whitepaper.

Written by adamsync

January 22, 2013 at 00:23