OpenStack and Azure - Hybrid Data Centers


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OpenStack is the most widely deployed open-source software for building and managing public and private clouds, and one of the fastest growing open-source projects in history. OpenStack is a collection of community driven, open-source cloud computing projects that meets your private cloud needs for Windows & Linux applications, and can extend to public cloud environments. With OpenStack, you minimize costs and vendor lock in while maximizing flexibility.

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The leading solution for cloud computing to support your Windows & Linux applications whether in your datacenter, a service provider or in Microsoft Azure. Microsoft packages our learnings from Azure into products you deploy (Windows Server, System Center, Azure Pack) in your datacenter for a consistent, hybrid experience

Microsoft’s relationship with open-source has been evolving dramatically for at least a decade, and since Satya Nadella became CEO in 2014, “Microsoft loves Linux!” Nadella told reporters during one of his first webcasts.

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The year Nadella became CEO of the company, Microsoft announced open sourcing the entire server side stack of .NET. and joined the Open Compute Project, the open-source datacenter hardware group and contribute Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) to that project. More recently Microsoft announced with Canonical on the integration necessary for Ubuntu to run on top of Windows. That collaboration essentially allows Windows guest operating systems to run Ubuntu on them. 

In 2016 we stated that we had over 25% of all virtual machines deployed to its Azure cloud platform were running Linux-based. We announced at Connect(); 2016, Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation as a Platinum Member, launched a dedicated OpenSource site at http://open.microsoft.com and announced SQL Server to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, as well as on-premises and cloud.

So from my perspective Microsoft is embracing open-source like never before, and we all sees the potential of Linux and wants to make sure Windows is supporting it. But Windows is still the most widely deployed operating system in the world. Despite recent inroads on the desktop, Linux continues to account for a tiny fraction of that market but we are fully supporting the platform with great tools such as Visual Studio Code and services from our Azure Platform Stack.

A 2016 report from Net Applications, issued shortly after the Windows 10 upgrade was announced, found that Linux accounted for 1.7% of that market; taken together, all versions of Windows accounted for 90.54%. According to industry analysts at IDC, Windows is the number one client and server operating environment as measured by either the installed base. Those analysts have predicted. Nearly every major, mid-market and small enterprise as well as the providers of products and services serving those markets are making use of this technology to support their IT workloads.

So I have to say Microsoft’s development tools, application frameworks, database engine, enterprise software, and virtualization environment form the foundation of a staggering number of workloads across UK Universities, so most of the Universities adopting OpenStack will be looking, one way or another, to run Windows or Microsoft technologies and those Universities will need support and services,  OpenStack is simply a framework. What matters is quality and capabilities of the underlying component.  Microsoft is contributing to OpenStack (Hyper-V compatibility) and Marketplace tools to support OpenStack implementations.

So what are some of the best recommendations for management of services

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Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager comes with Microsoft System Center offers centralised management of compute capabilities across the entire fabric, supporting the key Hyper-V, vSphere and XenServer hypervisors.

Machine Management

  • Virtual Machine Manager offers bare-metal provisioning built in, for rapid, consistent deployment of new Hyper-V hosts.
  • Virtual Machine Manager also has the ability to build Hyper-V clusters from bare-metal, or existing Hyper-V hosts.
  • Virtual Machine Manager enables fabric optimisations for balanced use of compute resources, such as Dynamic Optimization & Power Optimization.
  • Virtual Machine Manager can provide centralised maintenance of compute fabric through patch baselines & remediation, to ensure that the hypervisor is always patched and up to date, without incurring VM downtime.
  • Virtual Machine Manager provides granular role-based access control for delegated administration & self-service.

Networking

  • Virtual Machine Manger provides granular configuration options for host networking.
  • Virtual Machine Manager provides the ability to deploy standardized, centrally configured Logical Switches, with associated policies & classifications. These Logical Switches automatically team physical adaptors for redundancy & performance, and once deployed, support automated remediation upon incorrect reconfiguration, helping to ensure connection reliability in the datacenter.
  • Virtual Machine Manager also centralises Extensible Switch Extensions for centralised management & deployment.
  • Virtual Machine Manager provides IP pool management integrated with Windows Server.
  • Virtual Machine Manager is also a key component in enabling Software Defined Networking management capabilities, using underling Hyper-V Network Virtualisation (NVGRE), and its’ deep integration helps to streamline the deployment process without having to worry about complex configuration or customisation.
  • Virtual Machine Manager also provides Top of Rack switch management for physical switches using the Open Management Infrastructure.

Storage Management

  • Virtual Machine Manager offers centralised management of storage capabilities across the entire fabric, providing a significantly easier, more streamlined setup & integration with your storage infrastructure.
  • Virtual Machine Manager, just like when deploying Hyper-V hosts, can use it’s bare-metal provisioning capabilities to rapidly provision new Scale-out File Servers, in a consistent manner.
  • Virtual Machine Manager also supports standards-based management of a long list of storage arrays, through SMP or SMI-S.
  • Virtual Machine Manager supports, from the single console, management of both block & file-based storage, across SMB 3.0, iSCSI & Fibre. The deep integration between Virtual Machine Manager & SAN unlocks key capabilities such as rapid provisioning and Offloaded Data Transfer to accelerate performance of the underlying infrastructure.
  • Virtual Machine Manager also has the ability to provide classification of storage to aid optimal VM placement.

Disaster Recovery

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery was first introduced in January 2014, and helps customers to protect important services by coordinating the replication and recovery of System Center private clouds at a secondary location. Azure Site Recovery provides three key functions: automated protection, continuous health monitoring, and orchestrated recovery

Automated protection

By integrating with established technologies that come with Windows Server and System Center, Azure Site Recovery can provide on-going automated replication of virtual machines between two sites. It does this using Hyper-V Replica. Azure Site Recovery configures replication options from the Azure management portal. Once configured, the in-box technologies take over using your existing network. No workload data is moved to Microsoft Azure or passes through it.

Continuous Health Monitoring

After configuring and setting up automated protection, Azure Site Recovery next monitors the virtual machines running within the cloud continuously with System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Azure Site Recovery only communicates with Virtual Machine Manager, looking at the state of the cloud and being ready to recover it in the event of a failure.

Orchestrated Recovery

The final function is to orchestrate the recovery of the virtual machines in the event of a failure, in a timely and orderly manner. When recovering virtual machines in a System Center cloud, there is often a prescribed order that the virtual machines need to be started in to support the recovery of multi-tier services. For example: first infrastructure VMs, then the database tier, then the web tier, etc. Azure Site Recovery enables you to create these customized plans and store them in Microsoft Azure. Plans also enable you to test your recovery process. It’s always best to be prepared for a failure, and Azure Site Recovery makes it easy to test plans without disrupting running services - and then adjust those plans as necessary. With a new capability brought to Azure Site Recovery, customers now have the ability to replicate and recover their virtual workloads into Microsoft Azure datacenters,

Flexible IT Services

Your Universities requires a flexible IT infrastructure that can scale on demand. With a private cloud in your datacenter, you can be more agile and manage resources more effectively. When you extend your datacenter to meet the public cloud, you are working in a hybrid cloud model.

Hybrid Data Centers

A hybrid cloud gives you the best of both worlds, so you can take advantage of external resources when it makes sense for your business. The Microsoft hybrid cloud combines Microsoft Azure, Linux and Windows Server, and Microsoft System Center, giving you Microsoft’s enterprise-grade technology in both your company’s own datacenter and our global datacenters. Extending into the cloud should expand your options without adding complexity. A Microsoft hybrid cloud lets you easily move workloads from your datacenter to Microsoft Azure or a hosting service provider’s datacenter, while still maintaining a complete view of the infrastructure. You can build hybrid applications that leverage both on-premises and cloud resources. And you can take advantage of storage, backup, and recovery options with increased efficiency and reduced cost.

Benefits of a Hybrid Approach

  • Maintain consistency across clouds with familiar tools and resources
  • Extend your datacenter with a consistent management toolset and familiar development and identity solutions
  • Get enterprise-grade performance and security in the datacenter and in the cloud
  • Meet changing business needs with greater flexibility
  • Deliver capacity on demand

Microsoft has the Cloud OS Network, a worldwide group of more than 25 leading cloud service providers who have embraced our Cloud OS vision and will deliver hosted services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which includes Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. UK Universities are looking to capitalise on the cloud, in order to harness big data, manage BYOD and deliver powerful apps to wide range of devices. Ultimately, it’s all about key business drivers like creating new opportunities more quickly, improving employee productivity and lowering costs.

Hybrid cloud computing allows customers to make decisions about where to host their applications and data based on business needs, not technology limitations. This makes it possible for organizations to make the most of IT by keeping mission-critical data or applications on-premises, for example, while also accessing almost limitless computing power and storage in the cloud. They can truly enjoy the benefits of datacenters without boundaries as such you will have greater choice in customisation, data sovereignty, security, privacy and service levels including the ability to host data in UK only data centers.

So you have lots of choices with extensive open and community solutions, with Azure Virtual Machines, you can deploy a full range of OSs and software solutions, including numerous Linux distributions and Community-driven applications. With Oracle and Ubuntu images available in the Azure gallery along with a large set of community images in Azure MarketPlace, the options are nearly limitless. This includes Oracle, MySQL, Redis, MongoDB, Apache, RabbitMQ, Django, Drupal, Joomla!, LAMP, WordPress, and many more. You can use the development languages you prefer  ASP.NET, Java, PHP, Node.js or Python.

Resources

System Center https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/system-center 

Service Fabric on OpenStack https://cloudbase.it/azure-service-fabric-on-openstack/

Use Azure AD to enable user access to OpenStack https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/partners/openstack-org/openstack/

Comments (1)

  1. Lee Stott says:

    Here are some additional information and OpenStack and Azure from Cloud Service Provider Cloudbase.it:

    • Hyper-Converged OpenStack on Hyper-V and Nano Server https://cloudbase.it/hyper-c
    • Azure Active Directory identity management in OpenStack Keystone
    • Migration and DRaaS for virtual workloads from OpenStack to Azure (https://cloudbase.it/coriolis)
    • Azure Service Fabric on OpenStack, to easily migrate / cloud burst microservice apps from on-prem OpenStack to Azure
    • Enabling other PaaS options (Cloud Foundry, OpenShift) to easily migrate / cloud burst apps from OpenStack to Azure
    • SD-WAN between OpenStack on-prem and Azure, for reliable software defined hybrid connectivity

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