Building Clouds–An Introduction to the Deployment Track

Charles, Shawn, and Mark have already introduced themselves and the Automation, Application Management and VM Migration tracks, so I thought it was time for me to introduce myself and the Deployment track of the Building Clouds blog. Why let the other guys have all the fun?

The Deployment track will focus on all things related to the deployment of infrastructure to support Clouds. Initially, the focus will be on System Center, but the track will also include posts on deployment of the virtualization environment, and building labs for evaluation and testing of Microsoft Cloud technologies.

So what qualifies me to talk about this topic? I am a Principal Program Manager in the Windows Server and System Center group at Microsoft, specifically the Technical Enablement and Delivery team. To date, our team has focused on internal enablement and readiness around Windows Server and System Center but, as you can see from this blog, we are now also focusing on delivering knowledge on these technologies outside of Microsoft. I have personally been working with System Center – or products that would ultimately become part of System Center – since 1996, when I ran a deployment of SMS 1.2 for a 35,000 seat organization. That was fun… but not nearly as much fun as the upgrade to SMS 2.0 Smile.  I have worked with every System Center product and release since, and I was the program manager for the System Center 2012 Unified Installer. I am the principal architect of the Server and Cloud Demo environment (“SCDemo”) at Microsoft – if anyone has had a discussion and demo with a Microsoft Datacenter Technology Specialist in the last 2 years, there’s a very good chance that they were using SCDemo to show you our technology capabilities. Many of the approaches and samples we will provide on this blog are ones that we have developed and refined in the process of building SCDemo.

Why do we need to blog about this topic? A simple installation of a single component of System Center may be fairly straightforward. Just insert the CD, run setup.exe, next, next, next, done – OK, that is definitely an oversimplification, but you get the point. The reality is that to really get full value from System Center you need to install multiple components and integrate them, and before you even think about doing any of that you need to get SQL installed correctly, install a whole set of prerequisite software, and get Windows Server configured correctly. In short, there’s a lot of “stuff” to do – and we want to make that easier to do.

On this blog I will provide insight into various deployment approaches, as well as provide sample code to enable all types of deployment. This will support both evaluation and production style deployments including full scale out and high availability options.

My next post will be an overview of the framework I will use for sample deployments. Stay tuned!