Skip to main content

Hybrid cloud - Missing automation link Part 2

If you read my previous post (part 1), I kind of concluded that you had 2 choices. Of course the answer is somewhere less binary and perhaps in between the two options. This post is another discussion about where we are headed in an non-technical way, I hope.
 

"Reflecting on my future" - A scenario

"So you are sitting there enjoying your coffee and analyzing what has happened in your datacenter the last couple of years. You have "virtualized" the network and the load balancers (you do use Citrix Netscalers right). Your Netscalers are happily living their life as virtual appliances on your hypervisor along with the rest of the windows/linux servers. Your clients are being served by System Center Configuration Manager. The users can deploy their new laptops from SCCM and use the Software Catalog to install the software packages they need. Your servers and SNMP network devices are monitored by System Center Operations Manager and you have implemented System Center Service Manager with ITIL-processes throughout the enterprise. Of course SCSM is using System Center Orchestrator to provide automation for all those self-service options you have deployed in SCSM-web portal. Creating new virtual machines is a breeze with the standard template you have available in your tool that manages your hypervisor environment. You are happy, the users are happy and most importantly the “El Presidente” is happy. Life is good, however you wonder about the future. What will it bring in the next couple of years?"

Overall I bet a huge number of companies are in a very similar context or "location" in regards to how their IT-solution is setup/configured/running. Some will have linux computers/servers, some will have additional client management solutions present, some will have huge Citrix/Terminal-servers farms and some is already running their system on Azure.
 

The future

Two things will happen going forward:
  1. Windows Azure Pack (WAP) and/or VMM or some other product like it with similar features
  2. "Efficiently manage and configure your datacenter"
Some will do the first item and live happily with it further into the future. Others will do both and be very happy and never look back. WAP with System Center is Hybrid Cloud. It is super flexible and crazy powerful. Wait, why does not WAP give us efficiency in the datacenter? Glad you asked.
First and foremost let's dive into WAP/Virtual Machine Manager and look at a few things from the IaaS perspective:
  • You can create templates and deploy VMs with roles/features etc
  • You can create VMroles (VM Gallery) which defines the basis for creating VMs (Resource Definitions) and installation of applications, roles/features, deployment script (pre/post). This is very powerful and plugs right into the Azure Portal where you assign it to a "plan" your tenants subscribe to.
Screenshot from Azure:
image

Now what happens when you need to upgrade one of those gallery items (new versions and stuff). Sure, you create a new definition based upon the previous version, upload it to VMM/WAP and your tenants can do an upgrade right in the tenants portal:

image

You can even downgrade after you upgraded if you are not happy with the new version. As I said, it is super powerful. Here is a screenshot of the Virtual Machine Role Authoring Tool:

image

I have probably not even scratched the surface of what is possible in WAP. Please check it out for your self.

Like with Azure, if you consume an standalone web-site (Paas), you are not responsible for maintenance of the underlying VM(s) required to host your web-site. If you decide to order an virtual machine (VM) and configure IIS with all the bells and whistles it requires, you may be responsible for updates related to the operating system, features, IIS-components, .net etc. Actually if you buy a VM (Iaas) on Microsoft Azure, you are responsible for applying updates to that VM. Microsoft will not do it for you.

Ask yourself one question. How are Microsoft capable of maintaining/updating all those VMs hosting the standalone Azure websites, since they are responsible for keeping it up to date? You probably guessed it, they use automation everywhere, on everything all the time.
 

The missing link and challenge

Now here is the puzzle that is troubling me. Why does WAP/VMM NOT give us a efficient way of controlling the configuration of our datacenter? How can you make sure that the configuration laid out in your templates/VMroles stays the way you said it should? That is where our good friend Desired State Configuration (DSC) walks in the door and saves the day. Why? Because that is what DSC does. It configures your node(s) using a declarative language and makes sure that that configuration is applied ALL the time. So with WAP/VMM and DSC you have fulfilled both items on our list and you can regain your focus on other important business development projects.
 

Summary

It is hard not like the huge opportunities that comes with this combination. I challenge you to investigate an come up with an better mixture of tools that enables you to take control of the datacenter to the same extent. Next post coming up will talk about general strategy in automation and why you should automate you infrastructure.
















Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Monitoring Orchestrator runbook events from Operations Manager

Today I will follow up on my colleague’s post Mr ITblog (Knut Huglen) about monitoring Orchestrator Runbook events.  He has build a nice double up SNMP loopback feature that does self monitoring in Orchestrator resulting in entries written to a special Windows Eventlog. Now we need to raise alerts in SCOM when one of his runbooks fails or sends a platform event, who knows there could be trouble lurking in his paradise.

We are not going to do anything fancy, however these are the steps we will be focusing on today:
Create a Management Pack for our customizations Create rules that collects the events from the orchestrator serverOff we go then and fire up the SCOM console and a powershell window. First we create a MP, I am going to use powershell to do this, however you may use the SCOM console as well (Administration – ManagementPacks – Action: Create Management Pack):



Import the Management Pack into SCOM and move on to the Authoring section in the SCOM console. Create a new rule:



Give the…

Build your local powershell module repository - ProGet

So Windows Powershell Blog released a blog a couple of days ago (link). Not too long after, a discussion emerged about it being to complicated to setup. Even though the required software is open source (nugetgalleryserver), it looks like you need to have Visual Studio Installed to compile it. I looked into doing it without visual stuidio, however I have been unable to come up with a solution. I even tweeted about it since I am not an developer. Maybe someone how is familiar with “msbuild” could do a post on how to do it without VS.

Anyhow one of my twitter-friends (@sstranger) came to the rescue and pointed me in the direction of ProGet, hence the title of this post. ProGet comes in 2 different licensing modes
Free (reduced functionality)Enterprise (paid version with extra features)The good news is that the free version supports hosting a local PowershellGet repository which was my intention anyway. So off we go and create a Configration that can install ProGet for us. This is the conf…

Powershell – Log like you mean it

How do you do logging in powershell? Why should you do logging? What should you log? Where do you put your log? How do you remove your log? How do you search your log? All important questions and how you answer then depends upon what your background is like and the preferences you have. This will be a 2 part blog post and this is part 1.


Why should you log?

Well it is not mandatory, however I have 2 reasons:
Help with debugging a script/module/functionSelf documenting script/module/function
Firstly; Do you know any program that does not contain any bugs? Working with IT for the last 2 decades, I cannot name one. When you create scripts/modules/functions, you will create bugs, that is where they live and try to make your life a living mess.

Secondly: Adding a little extra information to your logging will make them self documenting. Do you like writing documentation? Well I normally am not fond of it and use logging while debugging to get two birds with one stone.


What should you log?

Anyt…