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Mitch Irsfeld

TechNet Flash, Volume 13, Issue 2 - January 26, 2011
TechNet Flash Editor's Note from Mitch Irsfeld

Managing for the Future with System Center's Datacenter-to-Cloud Approach

The datacenter-to-cloud approach makes System Center and Windows Server 2008 R2 a powerful combined solution for implementing the IT-as-a-service model which promises cost efficiency and business agility gains.

To learn about Microsoft's vision for cloud computing from an IT perspective, and why it's important to have a datacenter-to-cloud approach, download the white paper Microsoft's Cloud Computing Infrastructure Vision and Approach. You'll notice that a key component of that approach is unified management across premises and cloud environments. That's where System Center comes in. This edition of TechNet ON looks at the System Center suite as the foundation for managing private cloud and public cloud infrastructures.

For an overview of the System Center modules that can help accelerate your migration to the cloud, read Joshua Hoffman's new TechNet Magazine article The Power of System Center in the Cloud. In it he addresses the primary tools for managing a private cloud infrastructure as well as providing operational insight into applications hosted on the Windows Azure platform in a public cloud or hybrid environment.

Virtual Machine Manager and the Private Cloud

System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 R2 is the primary tool for managing a virtual private cloud infrastructure. It provides a unified view of an entire virtualized infrastructure across multiple host platforms and myriad guest operating systems, while delivering a powerful toolset to facilitate the onboarding of new workloads.

To make it easier to configure and allocate datacenter resources, customize virtual machine actions and provision self-service management for business units, Microsoft offers the Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0 (VMMSSP). VMMSSP is a free, fully supported, partner-extensible solution that can be used to pool, allocate, and manage your compute, network and storage resources to deliver the foundation for a private cloud platform in your datacenter. For an overview of the VMMSSP, the Solution Accelerators team penned System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self Service Portal 2.0 - Building a foundation for a dynamic datacenter with Microsoft System Center.

For more in-depth work with VMM, Microsoft Learning offers a free lesson, excerpted from Course 10215A: Implementing and Managing Microsoft Server Virtualization. The lesson, titled Configuring Performance and Resource Optimization, describes how to implement performance and resource optimization in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, an essential tool for managing your private cloud infrastructure.

While VMM simplifies the task of converting physical computers to virtual machines - an essential step in building your private cloud infrastructure - it's not the only System Center component to consider for delivering IT services. As with a physical data infrastructure, you still need to monitor, manage and maintain the environment. You still need to ensure compliance with a good governance model. And you'll want to streamline the delivery of services and gain efficiencies through process automation.

System Center Operations Manager can deliver operational insight across your entire infrastructure in a physical datacenter, in a private cloud, or deployed as public cloud services. If you are already assessing, deploying, updating and configuring resources using Operations Manager, you can provide the same degree of systems management and administration as workloads are migrated to a cloud environment.

Beyond the Datacenter

As your operations are ready to take advantage of the expanded computing capacity and cost efficiencies of the public cloud, System Center migrates with you. In particular, System Center Service Manager 2010, and Opalis 6.3 extend the process automation, compliance and SLA management to the cloud.

Service Manager can help provision services across the enterprise and cloud. It automatically connects knowledge and information from System Center Operations Manager, System Center Configuration Manager, and Active Directory Domain Services to provide built-in processes based on industry best practices for incident and problem resolution, change control, and asset lifecycle management.

By using Service Manager with Opalis, administrators can also automate IT processes for incident response, change and compliance, and service-lifecycle management. Opalis provides a wealth of interconnectivity and workflow capabilities, allowing administrators to standardize an automated process so that it can be delivered more quickly and more reliably because it is executing the same way each time. And it can do that across the System Center portfolio and across third-party management tools and infrastructure.

Finally, if you are already running applications in the Windows Azure environment, the Windows Azure Application Monitoring Management Pack works with Operations Manager 2007 R2 to monitor the availability and performance of applications running on Windows Azure.

The cloud - whether private or public - represents a transformation in the operations of datacenters, promising significant improvements in cost efficiency. You don't, however, need to transform your management tools to take advantage of those efficiencies. System Center bridges the physical, virtual (private cloud), and public cloud environments with a unified management approach, allowing you to use familiar tools for greater reliability and trust.

Thanks for reading,

Mitch Irsfeld
Editor, TechNet Flash

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