You’ve been hearing about hybrid cloud and hybrid IT for the last year or so. In fact, the talk of hybrid IT reached a fever pitch this year at TechEd North America in New Orleans. There were a ton of presentations on hybrid IT and hybrid cloud and how you could use Windows Server 2012 and System Center to extend your current on-premises network into the Windows Azure cloud. This prospect got even more exciting with the announcement of the new and extremely cool capabilities released in Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.
There was a lot of excitement around the prospect of hybrid cloud. But when talking to attendees, a lot of them weren’t aware of Windows Azure and what they could do with it. Many of them told me they thought that Windows Azure was a pure developer offering, and therefore it didn’t seem to them that Windows Azure had much to offer the enterprise IT pro. In those conversations I explained to them that while maybe that was true in the past, the new public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) capabilities included in Windows Azure make the service very relevant to any enterprise IT pro who was interested in reducing the cost of the services they offer their company and provides a way to deploy and scale out their service offerings faster than ever before. Agility!
I was happy to see many of these IT pros at TechEd get excited about the prospect of using Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. Many of them asked me “how do I get started? Do I just start up virtual machines and then ‘away you go’?” I told them that it would be great to get a Windows Azure trial account and start playing with the service. But when it comes to seriously thinking about extending your on-premises infrastructure to the Windows Azure public cloud IaaS, you need to put in the same due diligence regarding infrastructure requirements that you did for your on-premises datacenter design.
The question is then “How do I plan and design for an enterprise ready hybrid IT infrastructure”. There’s a lot of ways you can do it, but we figured we’d try to solve this problem ourselves. We took on the role of an enterprise IT group who was looking at putting together a design for a hybrid IT infrastructure on which they could build and deploy applications. As we went through this exercise, we learned many things. Indeed, we thought of ourselves as “customer zero” and noted all the things we needed to consider when putting together the hybrid IT infrastructure.
The result is the Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure for Enterprise IT guidance set. This guidance set includes an Overview article, a Design article and an Implementation article – all of which when put together represent a reference implementation that you can use when designing your own hybrid IT infrastructure. And for you enterprise architects and designers who really want to dig deep into key considerations you should address when planning and designing a hybrid IT infrastructure, we put together a comprehensive and in-depth Considerations article.
We hope that you’ll find the Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure Solution for Enterprise IT guidance set useful in getting you started with Windows Azure and that it flattens the learning curve for your journey into hybrid IT!