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Vol. 17, #42 - October 15, 2012 - Issue #901
This week's issue of WServerNews is all about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which is another of the three basic models for delivering cloud computing services to customers. But the question is, how much should we CARE ABOUT THE INFRASTRUCTURE BEHIND CLOUD SERVICES?
Before we start, two things. First, in case you missed them (or simply want to re-read them) here are links to the previous newsletters in our Cloudy Thinking series:
And second, why the HecK do they have to abbreviate them as SaaS, IaaS and PaaS? After all, SAAS, IAAS and PAAS are a LOT easier to TYPE...
You might remember that there are three basic cloud service models:
Previously we looked at SaaS, which is where a service provider hosts line-of-business applications and you (i.e. your business) pay them a usage-based subscription fee to allow your users to use these applications. A good example of a SaaS offering is Office 365, which you can find out more about here:
Now let's talk about IaaS, which is where the service provider hosts a shared pool infrastructure resources such as storage, networking and virtualization hosts. Customers pay for these resources on a usage-based subscription basis so they can have virtual servers running in the cloud. The customer is responsible for configuring and managing their virtual servers.
For example, let's say you have a new business and you need a database server. Instead of purchasing hardware and software and rolling your own, you could rent a virtual server from an IaaS provider on a subscription basis. Employees (or customers) can access this cloud-based database server as easily as they could access an in-house server.
Now let's say your business is rapidly growing, and you estimate that next week you'll need three more database servers to handle the load. With IaaS it's simple to spin up more virtual machines for your organization's needs. In fact, the hoster probably provides a self-service portal for you to do this on your own instead of having to contact them in person.
Then the economy goes into a slump. If you bought physical servers, some of them will now be gathering dust in your server room. But if you leased virtual servers from an IaaS provider, you can simply spin down the servers you no longer need and your subscription fee should change to reflect this.
IaaS - The Good
IaaS can be a good solution for businesses that want to manage and control infrastructure (operating systems, applications, middleware, frameworks, storage, etc) but don't want to host it on-premises.
IaaS lets customers customize their server and application environments the way they want them.
IaaS streamlines the server provisioning process and also makes it easy to de-provision servers and storage resources that are no longer needed.
IaaS reduces the upfront cost associated with purchasing server hardware, and helps make budgeting IT costs more predictable.
IaaS - The Bad
Make sure your service level agreement (SLA) with the provider guarantees a high level of availability for the virtual server you host in their cloud.
If you experience problems with line-of-business applications running on your virtual servers, it's your own responsibility to fix these as your SLA doesn't guarantee application uptime, only virtual server availability.
IaaS - The Ugly
I don't think there's really anything ugly about IaaS, unless of course you consider installing, configuring, managing, monitoring and troubleshooting server operating systems and server applications an ugly profession...
Some IaaS hosting providers
As far as I'm aware, Microsoft doesn't actually run an IaaS cloud you can use for hosting your organization's virtual servers. What they do offer however are the tools that hosters can use for building such IaaS clouds. These tools of course are Windows Server 2012 and the soon-to-be-released Service Pack 1 for System Center 2012. Service providers who want to build IaaS clouds can do so using their Microsoft Solution for Service Provider offering described here:
But there are many other players in the IaaS hosting space, some of them established. Here are three I can think of from off the top of my head:
Rackspace Cloud Servers
Can you think of any others? Does your organization have an experience using IaaS hosting services? Share your stories with over 100,000 readers by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to run a Windows 8-based or Windows Server 2012-based virtual machine on a Hyper-V host running Windows Server 2008 or in Windows Server 2008 R2, you may have already discovered that you needed to download and install the KB 2526776 hotfix on these hosts to make this work.
Well, that KB article has been pulled from the Microsoft Support site and has been replaced with a new one KB 2744129:
The new KB article has an updated version of the hotfix that fixes some issues with the previous version.
Got tips of your own that you'd like to share with our readers? Email me at email@example.com.
If you're one of those organizations still running Windows XP and not wanting to move up to Windows 8 just yet but are seriously considering moving to Windows 7 instead, you might want to get hold of this book:
Written by Yours Truly with some other Smart Guys, the Windows 7 Resource Kit is THE resource for IT professionals who plan to deploy Windows 7 in mid- to large-sized business environments. Packed with practical guidance on how to deploy, manage, maintain and troubleshoot Windows 7, this book also includes over 200 sample Windows PowerShell scripts you can customize for administering Windows 7 in your environment. You can order it here:
Also be sure to check out the free e-book downloads on my website:
"It is not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential." --Bruce Lee
Until next week.
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November 8th, 2 PM EST: Exchange 2013 provides some significant improvements and changes. Hear how to prepare today for an upgrade in the future. Register Here!
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From the blog of Sander Berkouwer in the Netherlands comes these must-read posts on Group Policy for organizations that are considering deploying Windows 8:
Three useful ways to get started with Group Policy in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012:
Five must-have Group Policy settings to make people productive with Windows 8 on day 1:
Five must-have Group Policy settings when your colleagues use 3G / 4G connections:
Five must-have Group Policy settings to protect people's privacy in Windows 8:
Five must-have Group Policy settings to create an uniform look for your Windows 8 clients:
From the Windows Storage team comes this blog post that walks you through the process of creating a bootable USB disk for deploying Windows 8 to multiple computers:
From PCWorld comes this must-read news item for Mozilla Firefox users (and businesses that deploy Firefox to users' desktops):
Many businesses are leveraging the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to automate their operating system deployments in physical and cloud environments. Inside this exclusive resource, learn how to take advantage of this advanced platform and discover the extensive benefits it can offer.
While the significant benefits of the public cloud are well-known, many organizations are still wary of its high storage costs. Fortunately, this essential guide reveals four key strategies that can resolve this cloud cost dilemma.
If your organization is like most, going green is probably on your list of priorities. Find out how virtual desktop deployments can help you achieve this goal while also enabling you to cut costs and simplify IT management.
The upcoming release of Microsoft Office 2013 has many IT pros buzzing. Inside this tip, explore the advanced features and capabilities the newest version of Office is expected to offer and discover the prices you should expect to pay.
CmdrTaco (a.k.a. Rob Malda) was the original creator of Slashdot, a popular site that has "News for nerds, stuff that matters" and is frequently visited by the editors of this newsletter. For a really deep analysis of THE WAY THINGS ARE be sure to check out Rob's Brief History of the Internet on Tumblr:
THIS WEEK'S VIDEOS:
A new twist on the average Rube Goldberg machine by powering it up with freerunner Jason Paul.
High Dynamic Range time lapse sequences of photographs taken by the crews onboard the International Space Station.
Johann Sebastian Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" still rocks today!
5-year-old Tsung Tsung from Hong Kong plays the piano like a pro.
From Memory Lane: The supersonic Concorde is considered to be the most beautiful passenger aircraft as well as a brilliant example of far-sighted design.
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.