Notes on IT (mainly Microsoft)

Archive for the ‘Enterprise Architecture’ Category

Windows Azure: Infrastructure as a Service

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There’s a growing amount of material available on Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service (think virtual machines in the cloud):

AVMs   AIaaS

but sometimes a concise demo is really helpful. Episode 53 of the (always excellent) EdgeShow at Channel9 has nice demo of Windows Azure IaaS that should whet the appetite of any IT professional be it an infrastructure architect involved in planning for private cloud or a developer thinking about the overhead of running your own test/dev or sandpit environment. The demo starts here; watch it and then read on…

…if building say, an on premise test/dev environment in a virtualisation infrastructure, then looking at the costs of running on Windows Azure and weighing those against the costs and complexity of building your own must be the first step. Information on Windows Azure trials and previews and pricing is here.

If you watch the demo you will (briefly) see the new VMdepot community that allows you to select from pre-built images on a variety of Linux distributions with various platforms e.g. LAMP stack, included.

For a broader overview on there’s a recent talk by John Craddock at the Nordic Infrastructure Conference 2013 on Windows Azure Insights for the Enterprise IT Pro; John explains, in passing, how you can leverage an MSDN subscription to trial the technology.

For a technical deep-dive on Windows Azure IaaS and virtual networks see Mark Russinovich  BUILD presentation; you can also watch Mark’s presentation broken down into smaller modules with related learning materials on the associated Microsoft Virtual Academy course.

For a deep-dive on how to manage Windows Azure IaaS with powershell see Michael Washam BUILD presentation. Channel 9 also hosts a version of Michael’s presentation in bite-size chunks at Windows Azure Virtual Machines & Networking

The image on left above is snipped from the Windows Azure Poster.


Microsoft Private Cloud evaluation resources

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Private Cloud: Making it Real

Private Cloud Evaluation Guide

Nordic Infrastructure Conference 2013 – session videos available

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Videos of talks covering topics in:

Windows server
Virtualization & Cloud
System Management
Unified Communication
Windows Client
Partner talks

given at the Nordic Infrastructure Conference held in January are now available. There’s broad coverage by many well-known speakers, see the Agenda for links to the videos.

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.

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.

Technology Roadmaps in IT (Infrastructure)

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Technology Roadmapping is concerned with mapping goals to specific technologies and as such is about the timeline for the goals (or market spaces) as matching the lifecycle of the technology.

The wikipedia article references the Sandia Labs paper which seems to be the defining reference in this area and these cover generic technology roadmapping as might be used by a manufacturer to plan product lines for technology products.

In IT services one might start with a high-level strategic plan (almost technology independent roadmap) as here or here.

In IT services the technology underlies the service and so roadmaps are critical documents for showing AS-IS to TO BE matched to goal, budget, vendor and technology timelines. A possible approach (a commercial offering but with quite a bit of detail on the approach) for developing such a roadmap is here.

In looking for specific examples relating to roadmapping for IT infrastructure I have found very few over the years, one I found recently and particularly like for an IT infrastructure area (Data Center) technology roadmap is the one used at MIT, their IT Roadmaps are here and the specific example is here. If you know of other examples in IT infrastructure please leave a comment.