Archive for the ‘architecture’ Tag

Some thoughts on cost in the Private Cloud   Leave a comment


The Microsoft Reference Architecture for Private Cloud lists – among a a lot of other very useful and interesting things – a couple of examples of business drivers related to the agility (previously known as time), cost and quality axes:

Agility

  • Reduce Time to Market:Implement new business solutions more quickly so revenue comes in faster.
  • Better Enable the Solution Development Life Cycle:Speed up business solutions through better facilitation for development and testing and overall faster paths to production.
  • Respond to Business Change: New requirements of existing business solutions are met more quickly.

Cost

  • Reduce Operational Costs:Lower daily operational costs for basic needs such as people, power, and space.
  • Reduce Capital Costs or Move to Annuity-Based Operational Costs:Reduced IT physical assets by using more pay-per-use services.
  • Transparency of IT Costs: Customers are more aware of what they get for their money.

Quality

  • Consistently Deliver to Better-Defined Service Levels:Leads to increased customer satisfaction.
  • Provide Better Continuity of Service:Minimize service interruptions.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Meeting or exceeding mandatory requirements, which may grow more complex with online services.

The cost examples reminded me of a discussion I hade with a colleague who insisted that the best way to make money off a customer when it comes to the private cloud (the customer being “the business”) is to charge for capacity even if the customer doesn’t use it.

This is in my opinion the total opposite of what the private cloud is about.

By being totally transparent with the amount of resources the customer is using they can in turn fine tune their demands and needs accordingly.

If we up front charge the customer for 32 Gb RAM, 500 Gb of disk and 4 vCPUs even though they use only a fraction of it then there is no real way of knowing what IT actually costs the business.

It might also prevent them from requesting the VM to begin with, instead perhaps re-using an existing VM or finding another – often unsupported and trouble prone – solution.

This means that you should always charge the customer per Mb of RAM, Gb of disk and MHz of vCPU utilized. This is one aspect of the measured service characteristic of NISTs private cloud definition.

Make no mistake, you should still make a profit on Mb, Gb and MHz of course but the business should be able to see exactly how much their VMs cost them at any given time.

The Private Cloud Principles, Patterns and Concepts documentation also has a section about this.

One very interesting point that documentation makes is that by providing the business with on-going reports on how much their servers actually cost per month there’s (hopefully) an incentive to actually phase out old systems and services in order to reduce cost.

Transparency and honesty is always the best way to create a reliable long-term relation with your customers, and especially so when it comes to costs.

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Three MSPC Fast Track guides released   Leave a comment


Three Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track guides have been released.

The Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track program is:

… a joint effort between Microsoft and its hardware partners. The goal of the program is to help organizations decrease the time, complexity, and risk of implementing private clouds. The program provides:

  • Reference implementation guidance: Lab-tested and validated guidance for implementing multiple Microsoft products and technologies with hardware that meets specific, minimum, hardware vendor-agnostic requirements. Customers can use this guidance to implement a private cloud solution with hardware they already own, or that they purchase.
  • Reference implementations: Microsoft hardware partners define physical architectures with computing, network, storage, and value-added software components that meet (or exceed) the minimum hardware requirements defined in the reference implementation guidance. Each implementation is then validated with Microsoft and made available for purchase to customers. Further details can be found by reading the information at Private Cloud How To Buy.

These guides detail the architecture of a Fast Track solution, the operations you perform on a daily basis in your cloud as well as how to actually deploy a private cloud according to the Fast Track program. Together they comprise the Private Cloud Fast Track Reference Implementation Guidance Set.

They’re quite hefty so it’ll take me some time to go through them but on the other hand they’ll make for excellent summer reading.

 

Posted 25 July, 2012 by martinnr5 in Documentation, The cloud

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