Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Mita hybridipilvipalvelut tarkoittavat ja mita hyotyja niista voi saada verrattuna tavanomaisiin tallennusratkaisuihin? Bringing the Azure platform from Microsoft’s own public cloud down into the datacenters of enterprises and service providers means more than just giving these shops the same tools to manage raw virtualized compute, storage, and networking. The Azure Stack platform, which will ship later this year and which Microsoft announced earlier this week, means literally bringing down as many of the suite of Azure services as is technically feasible and desirable to the corporate datacenter. The end result of Azure Stack for customers will be something that looks and feels like the real Azure, although it will be running on their own hardware and under their own management.
The Azure Stack is comprised of layers of software, just like the real Azure that Microsoft has running distributed around 22 regions on earth, making it one of the largest sets of infrastructure on the planet and rivalling (if not exceeding) the infrastructure that Google and Amazon have built for their internal operations and their clouds. It is still early days in infrastructure and platform services, and while it may not feel like it, there is plenty of time for enterprises to learn the new way of building and consuming services on clouds.
To our thinking, the competition between public cloud operators should be sufficient to keep pricing, performance, and features in rough parity over the long haul, much as the intense competition among Linux, Windows Server, and Unix has kept them more or less in line across different server classes and different workloads.
Back in the day, one rudimentary way of measuring the sophistication of an operating system was to track the numbers of lines of code that comprised its stack over time.
There is obviously a lot of code sharing not only between the Windows Server and Azure public cloud teams these days, but also between the Azure and the Azure Stack teams. Microsoft had long since figured out how to scale out compute, storage, and networking to build a hyperscale public cloud, but three years ago, it figured out that it needed to rearchitect the application model at the heart of its public cloud so it could be brought down into the enterprise and be used on private clouds. But Microsoft’s Azure software for the public cloud is very tightly tied to the Clos network that links servers and storage together and its proprietary networking stack, which we have discussed recently, and is similarly designed to run on the fairly homogeneous infrastructure, too. To give a sense of what services to expect with Azure Stack, Microsoft provided this handy overview of the services currently on the Azure cloud and listed the ones that will be available in Azure Stack, which are boxed in yellow in the chart below.
Those Azure services with stars after them will be in preview as Azure Stack becomes generally available in the fourth quarter and will presumably come to market in 2017. Importantly, the Azure Resource Manager templates that customers are building and sharing to help automatically deploy applications on the Azure framework, which you can see here, will also work seamlessly on Azure Stack private clouds. It is also likely that services that are not part of Azure and are provided by third parties, such as ticketing systems for managing hardware and software, could be added to Azure Stack even though they are not part of Azure itself. A pod of compute capacity on the Azure cloud is 960 nodes of Microsoft’s own Open Cloud Server design housed in 20 racks. The underlying storage on the two Azures is different, too, which made it a challenge to scale it down, explained Russinovich.
So to bring Azure Stack into the enterprise, Microsoft has to tweak the network topology and storage a bit and also make it available on commercial-grade servers and switching from the likes of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell, its two key systems partners. In terms of the scale of Azure Stack infrastructure, Microsoft is not being specific at the moment, but clearly Microsoft knows how to scale Azure up and has demonstrated that to customers through its own public cloud.


The Cloud Platform System that Microsoft stacked up with Dell last year to build a cloud based on Windows Server 2012 R2, its Hyper-V hypervisor, plus Windows Server SMB 3.0 and Storage Spaces storage is probably a good indicator of what the initial scale might be for an Azure Stack cluster. With this Cloud Platform System setup, which used the portal from the Azure Pack (inspired by the real Azure but distinct from it) and Systems Center 2012 R2 to manage it, a rack of machines had 32 nodes with a total of 512 cores, 8 TB of memory, and 282 TB of usable tiered storage comprised of disk and flash. Assuming that an average virtual machine needs 1.75 GB of virtual memory, and 50 GB of storage, then such a rack could host around 2,000 VMs, according to Microsoft and Dell. Interestingly, Tewari says that the infrastructure services that comprise Azure Stack will run on the stripped-down Nano Server implementation of Windows Server, which comes out with Windows Server 2016 and which is a key element of Microsoft’s container strategy for the platform. One of the other issues that Microsoft has to work out is how frequently Azure Stack itself will be updated. Azure Stack will be a priced software product, but Microsoft has not divulged how it will be packaged or what it will cost and it will likely not do so until it is just about to ship or is shipping. The Next Platform WeeklyTap the stack to painlessly subscribe for a weekly email edition of The Next Platform, featuring highlights, analysis, and stories from the week directly from us to your inbox with nothing in between. Microsoftin Paul Chiola kay esityksessaan lapi Microsoftin hybridipilvipalveluiden hyotyja ja kaytannon sovelluksia.
In a sense, this is the natural progression of Windows Server as the center of gravity of operating systems has shifted from a particular runtime to creating a cluster-wide management system with many runtimes and allowing for many different styles of compute and storage. The interesting bit for us here at The Next Platform is to contemplate how many tens of millions of organizations have Windows Server running a big chunk of their workloads and how many of these will want to move to the Azure model of creating, consuming, and managing infrastructure and applications. As we discussed in our previous article concerning Azure Stack, neither Amazon Web Services nor Google Cloud Platform seem inclined to offer a private cloud implementation of their platforms, and we do not expect that to change. You can pick a platform and then benefit from the fact that these platform providers are trying to win new customers and keep existing ones. In some cases, Azure is driving the addition of features in Windows Server – nested virtualization was one of them that was requested and is coming out with Windows Server 2016 later this year, for instance – and in others, customers are requesting features in Windows Server that may benefit the two Azures. And while Microsoft has no plans to offer supported versions of Azure Stack where its own techies and its own Autopilot cloud controller for Azure reaches out manages a private Azure Stack cloud, Mike Neil, corporate vice president in charge of Enterprise Cloud at Microsoft, says that it will consider this if enough customers ask for it and expects for third party service providers to do it in any event. By definition this pod has enough spare capacity to put some in reserve for failovers when they will inevitably occur.
On the real Azure, the storage service runs initially on dozens of servers in the pod, and on an initial deployment of 960 nodes, this is no big deal. It seems likely that Cisco Systems, Lenovo, Fujitsu, and NEC will also sell Azure Stack hardware-software bundles, too. The question is not how far Microsoft can push it, but how far it will certify configurations to give large enterprises building private Azures enough headroom so they are comfortable that they will not hit any scale ceilings. The Cloud Platform System was designed to scale up to four racks, and importantly, was designed to scale down as small as three nodes to start. As we know from reading The Next Platform, the Broadwell Xeon E5 chips will top out at 22 cores, so let’s pick a processor with 16 cores as a mid-level option in terms of cores, performance, and cost to base a hypothetical Azure Stack upon.


And instead of patching these underlying VMs that run the Azure Stack code itself (as distinct from the VMs that run customer code), Microsoft will also be doing complete fresh installs of the hypervisor and Nano Server installations instead of trying to patch them.
The amount of compute and storage capacity in enterprise datacenters is vast, at least an order of magnitude larger than the infrastructure that Microsoft has assembled to underpin Azure.
This gives Microsoft an advantage over its public cloud rivals among the many, many enterprises that say they plan to run in hybrid fashion on their cloudy infrastructure – at least when it comes to hooking private datacenters with public clouds. So while cross-cloud hybrid compute and storage would be wonderful, they may not be economically practical or technically feasible except for the most rudimentary of services like a raw VM or a gigabyte of storage. Microsoft is not yet providing full roadmaps and reference architectures yet, given that Azure Stack Technical Preview 1 is just shipping today, but executives speaking to The Next Platform did provide some guidance on what to initially expect in these areas. Site Recovery, for instance, will be an interesting one in that it will provide failover capability between Azure Stack on-premises clouds and the actual Azure, and will also allow for Azure Stacks that are distributed geographically to provide backup for each other. In the enterprise, says O’Hara, companies might have some reserve servers, but not on the same order of magnitude as Microsoft, and they will use overcommit and quality of service protocols to deal with failures and keep critical workloads humming on the infrastructure. But when Microsoft is trying to get the initial deployment size of Azure Stack down to a few nodes, this can’t work, and moreover, the erasure coding techniques that Microsoft uses in the real Azure also assumes a very large set of storage servers over which to has the data protection algorithms and to spread the data making up objects.
So the scale starts at 144 VMs (taking out the cloud management overhead on the three nodes) and rises to around 8,000 VMs across three racks. Microsoft has well over 1 million servers in its cloud platform, but much of this runs Office 365, Xbox Live, Bing, and other services that are not, strictly speaking, running on Azure. If companies mean cross-cloud portability when they say hybrid, then none of the cloud builders are promising this, which would be exceedingly difficult to deliver for any company.
In the same way, we don’t actually expect Windows Server to be a clone of Linux, or vice versa. Azure Stack will eventually support multiple zones, obviously, and Microsoft is working to provide VM-to-VM failover in a future Azure Stack release. For Microsoft Azure, this 8,000 VMs represents one fifth of the capacity of only one of its pods. They no doubt will in the future, and like other enterprises, Microsoft is carefully orchestrating those moves. The services on the big public clouds are changing all the time, they use radically different APIs to control their infrastructure and services, and they have different metaphors and organizational elements to describe their clouds. You end up with a least common denominator hybrid public cloud, which may not be particularly useful.



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