Contoso Labs-Who are the Users? What is the Service?

Contoso Labs Series – Table of Contents

Now that we’ve laid out our high-level business goals for the project, we have to identify some basic information that will help define the service. Every well-executed IT project has to consider its users and the service they will be consuming very early in the project. We’ll start there.

IaaS is Our Primary Service

In our case, we have one primary user base for this first phase of the project: Our technical sales staff in the field. They have the difficult job of being subject matter experts on our entire on-premises cloud stack for their customers. It’s very difficult and resource intensive to build and run your own cloud, so we try and assist with resources where possible. The easiest way to do that (while adhering to our primary goal of operating as a cloud provider) is to design our service to host VMs in an IaaS cloud.

IaaS Gives Our Users Control

By providing IaaS services, we’ll be able to give our users the resources needed to be able to install and configure our on-prem software products into VMs, integrate them together, and connect them to public cloud resources in a secure fashion. While it’s not ideal for all scenarios for our users (For example, it does not provide real fabric control) it does provide us with the most flexibility and maximizes our resource utilization.

Access to the Service

We’re going to be using the Windows Azure Pack (WAP) to provide our users with access to the IaaS cloud. Besides being Microsoft’s preferred solution, it allows us to provide a well understood interface and powerful hybrid networking experience.

No PaaS (For now)

While WAP allows for some great PaaS services like Azure Websites, SQL, MySQL, and Service Bus, those services don’t address the primary need of our initial user base, so they will not be deployed at first. We’ll probably revisit it later, but a project with a large scope and limited resources needs to stick to well-defined goals before moving on to other technologies.

Up next, we’ll cover the resources at our disposal for the project, and what kind of gaps we need to fill.