Potential shortcomings, however, include the loss of visibility into what is happening with virtual servers as well as loss of the flexibility to deploy the best mix of computing platforms to meet the organization’s evolving needs.
Cloud computing typically works best when everything is standardized onto a single platform. But such standardization can lock the organization into a single vendor and a particular level of technology, rather than remaining free to innovate as newer technologies or business opportunities arise. In addition, there may be existing systems in place whose performance would decline if they were switched to a new platform.
These issues apply whether you are trying to run private, public and hybrid clouds.To address these issues, Microsoft is releasing System Center 2012, which gives the flexibility and control needed when deploying, managing or simply consuming cloud-based applications. It supports both Microsoft and non-Microsoft virtualization platforms and operating systems, giving a single pane of glass view of the entire cloud infrastructure: the hardware, the virtualization layer, the network and even the applications.
Built for the Cloud
Cloud computing promises easier management and better resource utilization, but it can only achieve those promises when the right tools are used. Those tools must be built from the ground up to deal with the complexities and maximize cloud computing’s potential.
Microsoft System Center 2012 consists of eight components that enable organizations to manage their private, public and hybrid clouds with a common toolset. System Center 2012 will be released this year with Release Candidate versions available for download now.
System Center 2012 Components:
Configuration Manager – Cloud computing involves making IT services available on a much broader range of devices than previously. Configuration Manager provides a single interface for managing configuration on physical, virtual and mobile devices including desktops (physical, thin or virtual), laptops, smart phones and slates.
Endpoint Protection – Built on and integrated with Configuration Manager, Endpoint Protection provides centralized protection of client and server operating systems. In addition to ensuring that anti-malware signatures are up to date, deep protocol analysis of network traffic identifies and blocks new attacks until the software is updated.
App Controller – App Controller provides a single view of both private and public cloud components that enables you to gain granular control of application components. The intuitive, web-based interface makes it easy to configure, deploy and manage services using a library of standard templates.
Service Manager – Once IT sets up a cloud infrastructure, end users and application owners can use Service Manager’s self-service interface to request private cloud capacity to deploy services using the upcoming Cloud Services Process Pack. Automated workflows then fulfill those requests in accordance with established policies and procedures. Service Manager also includes a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) andan IT Governance, Risk and Compliance (ITGRC) solution.
Virtual Machine Manager – Traditionally, IT has had to use different interfaces for each type of hypervisor employed. Virtual Machine Manager provides a single interface for Hyper-V, VMware and Xen, making it easier to utilize the entire data center as a cloud resource, including computing, networking and storage. It dynamically optimizes resources based on workflow demands, ensuring higher levels of performance and availability.
Orchestrator - To reduce costs and lower errors in private cloud deployments, Orchestrator integrates heterogeneous environments, allowing workflows to smoothly operate across multidisciplinary process silos. Out of the box, it works with management toolsets from BMC, CA, EMC, HP, IBM and VMware, automating tasks and freeing up staff to work on the higher level functions of their jobs.
Operations Manager – To keep track of the entire IT environment, Operations Manager monitors the data center as well as any public or private cloud applications and services. It monitors and diagnoses .NET and JEE applications and services running on Windows, Linux and Unix servers.
Data Protection Manager – To reduce the complexity of backup and restore in heterogeneous environments, Data Protection Manager provides a centralized monitoring, management and protection of data in virtual and environments. New in 2012 is support for item level recovery, even when Data Protection Manager is running in a virtual machine.
There are two versions of System – Standard and Data Center. The components are not sold individually. Both versions include all eight components and can manage the same types of workloads. The Standard version, however, is designed for lightly or non-virtualized environments and is limited to managing two physical processors and two Operating System Environments (OSEs) per license. The Datacenter edition, on the other hand, allows for management of an unlimited number of OSEs per two-processor license and is the one that should be selected for private cloud deployments.
Putting it All Together
Starting this year, IT finally has the ability to monitor and manage its entire environment, physical, virtual and cloud, through a single interface.
With System Center 2012, administrators can look into the virtualization layer, as well as each of the operating systems of each of the virtual machines and even the application code running on each physical or virtual server. Since both the VM and the application can be viewed through the same interface, something which has never been done before, feedback can be given to the development team, speeding the software development process and making it easier to write error free code.
By using System Center 2012, organizations will find it much easier to build and operate clouds that are tailored to their exact needs, and to keep them running at their optimum level.