cio's guide to understanding microsoft cloud services

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This white paper is designed for executives who are examining Microsofts cloud service offerings (Azure, Office 365, Project Online, TFS Online, Dynamics CRM Online) as a way to contain and scale back exploding IT cost and, become more nimble. This paper also serves to compare Microsoft with other cloud service vendors such as Amazon and Google, but does not discuss those vendors offerings. This paper will also be useful to technically inclined readers but these readers should be aware that this is not an exhaustive technical view on all matters related to Microsoft Azure and Office 365. Rather, it focuses on understanding the solutions Azure provides with respect to a specific set of business opportunities, challenges and objectives at an executive level. The goal here to provide enough information to simplify the decision process and make it clearer.

TRANSCRIPT

  • The CIOs Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud

    Services

    October 2014

  • 2 The CIOs Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud Services

    AbstractThis white paper is designed for executives who are examining Microsofts cloud service offerings (Azure, Office 365, Project Online,

    TFS Online, Dynamics CRM Online) as a way to contain and scale back exploding IT cost and, become more nimble. This paper also serves to compare Microsoft with other cloud service vendors such as Amazon and Google, but does not discuss those vendors offerings.

    This paper will also be useful to technically inclined readers but these readers should be aware that this is not an exhaustive technical view on all matters related to Microsoft Azure and Office

    365. Rather, it focuses on understanding the solutions Azure

    provides with respect to a specific set of business opportunities,

    challenges and objectives at an executive level.

    The goal here to provide enough information to simplify the decision process and make it clearer.

    Lets Speak the Same Language When you travel to a foreign country, your journey is typically more

    enjoyable if you know the local language. The same is true for

    learning about cloud service offerings such as Azure and Office 365.

    It is important for us to review some common terms and concepts so we have a good baseline for deeper cloud-related concepts.

    Cloud / Cloud Computing / Cloud ServicesYouve obviously heard the word cloud a few times over the last couple of years. Or maybe cloud computing. Or better yet, cloud services. These terms are often used interchangeably. So, what is The Cloud? Think of the cloud as a collection of servers in datacenters somewhere, providing services and applications as you need them.

    You can also imagine the cloud as a marketplace of cloud services. And, at a high level, think of a cloud service as a collection of infrastructure components that serve a particular purpose like servers and hardware that provide on-demand storage or hosted email.

    People talk about public and private cloud service offerings. The key differentiator between these two offerings is who offers the service: your organization (private cloud) or an external vendor such as Microsoft, Amazon or Google (public cloud). Regardless of public or private, the key concepts for an excellent cloud service offering are: standardization, openness, flexibility, scalability and reliability.

    Sound Like a Pro: IaaS, PaaS & SaaS ConceptsIaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service, PaaS is Platform as a Service and SaaS is an acronym for you guessed it Software as a Service. Now that we have that out of the way, how should we think about these concepts with respect to our current internal IT capabilities and what Microsoft as an IT vendor provides? On PremisesOn premises is the traditional way of deploying and managing IT assets in your own datacenter. With on-premises assets, you have full control over infrastructure, from networking to storage to servers all the way through the application stack you manage everything.

    As an example, lets take a look at a common workload, such as your collaboration environment deployed as an on-premises SharePoint 2013 intranet portal.

    For this on-premises solution, imagine that your IT team has created and assigned storage endpoints to your Windows Hyper-V farm (or other virtualization platform). They used the Hyper-V farm to create virtual machines (VMs) running the Windows Server 2012 OS and created these VMs from a VM template that is fully patched and managed by the desktop/server engineering team.After many months of planning, budgeting and testing, the virtualization sub-team in the IT group created multiple Hyper-V farms in different datacenters for disaster recovery (DR) and high availability (HA) purposes, and configured storage replication appropriately to support this virtualization solution. This was

    AuthorsAdetayo Adegoke is the national practice lead for Perficients enterprise applications infrastructure group. In this role, he serves as a managing consultant, sales support technologist, emerging services evangelist as well as senior solutions architect for Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Azure and IIS-based services and platforms including but not limited to SharePoint. Adetayo is particularly skilled in advising firms and providing assets that assist clients with evaluating and transitioning to cloud solutions based on the Microsoft platform.

  • The CIOs Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud Services 3

    might come preconfigured with development tools such as Visual Studio 2012 and SharePoint Designer 2013. It could also have SQL Server 2012 and SharePoint 2013 build scripts with other software already preloaded. Alternatively, you could just use the out-of-box OS template provided by Microsoft as part of your Azure subscription, and build out your development environment using scripts.

    The key takeaway here is that you do not have to manage the underlying hypervisor solution, underlying physical servers, supporting storage endpoints or networking. Microsoft does all this for you.

    The one minor limitation with Azure IaaS right now is that you do not have access to the hypervisor console (Hyper-V Manager) since the virtualization platform layer and the underlying layers that support it are managed entirely by Microsoft. You do, however, have access to everything else from the OS layer to the applications layer.

    Platform as a Service PaaSLets examine the PaaS concept a little bit more closely. Microsoft Azure provides PaaS offerings in the form of Media Services, Cloud Services, Web Sites and SQL databases. Within this band of the Microsoft cloud offerings spectrum, you do not deploy SharePoint servers as you would with on-premises and IaaS layers. Instead, you deploy custom applications written by your software development team to PaaS, using programming languages such as C#, Perl, ASP.Net and so on. You do not have to worry about the underlying infrastructure that is the foundation of your PaaS solution implementation. Azure manages that for you, doing things like OS patching and automatically spinning up more server instances or storage to support your applications configuration settings.

    necessary because of the service level agreement (SLA) terms demanded by the business.

    The database engineering team used multiple scripts to build your AlwaysOn SQL Server database backend solution for SharePoint with availability groups configured for HA and DR purposes. In addition, the network engineering team configured network subnets appropriately for the SharePoint architecture, so that SQL and SharePoint servers can communicate with each other. The server engineering team decided to script out the server build tasks and also deployed a number of custom solutions to the SharePoint farm. The SharePoint administrators also have direct access to the SharePoint databases, which they optimized to improve performance.

    This sounds like a lot of work because it is a lot of work. More work, in fact, than most organizations want to take on just to enable SharePoint for internal collaboration.

    Infrastructure as a Service IaaS Lets switch gears and talk about IaaS. Using the on-premises example we just described, lets take a look at how the same end goal can be achieved by an IaaS offering. With IaaS, you have full control to the OS layer, but without having to worry about the physical aspect of building a virtualization platform solution, as you would with on-premises. This is wildly important.

    We all know how long it takes to order servers and appliances, to rack and cable them in multiple datacenters and install the operating system on each box. With IaaS, we skip these tasks and get right to creating SharePoint VMs in Microsoft Azure, using your corporate OS template that was uploaded to Azure. This template

  • 4 The CIOs Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud Services

    Common use-case scenarios with PaaS involve migrating custom ASP.NET web solutions to the Microsoft Azure Web Sites feature. Another scenario many customers ask about is migrating existing backend databases to the Azure SQL Database PaaS offering. PaaS accelerates custom development efforts by putting a blanket over your infrastructure requirements so that you can focus more on the application itself. Even though you do not see it directly in the background, Azure is automatically managing the entire infrastructure workload for your solution.

    Software as a Service SaaSLast but not least, lets quickly review the SaaS concept. With SaaS, we can get back to our example of the SharePoint deployment described above. Microsoft offers cloud-based SharePoint solutions as a standalone offering, or as part of an Office 365 subscription. With SaaS, you are consuming pre-installed software solutions and typically have limited access to making global configuration changes that affect your SaaS instance, especially relating to backend infrastructure assets. SharePoint is running on servers in Microsofts datacenters and you, as the owner of your own SharePoint tenant, can configure your environment through the SharePoint admin portal. But you do not have access to the underlying servers, applications or operating systems that run SharePoint.

    Other SaaS offerings from Microsoft include Yammer, Exchange Online & Lync Online (all part of Office 365), Dynamics CRM Online as well as Team Foundation Services. Note that the offerings that are a part of the Office 365 suite of products and are distinct from Microsoft Azure: Azure delivers IaaS and PaaS while Office 365 delivers SaaS.

    How is the Datacenter Changing?Now that you can impress your IT pros with some cool cloud vocabul