I’m a fan of the new replacement for the HP and Microsoft database consolidation reference architecture (RA), now known as the Converged Infrastructure solution, specifically the HP CloudSystem Optimized for Microsoft.
I think public clouds show promise; you can do some really cool things with them. But most companies I talk with are extremely hesitant to move their infrastructure to a public cloud. Certainly some applications, such as large websites that might need a tremendous amount of flexibility and capacity on demand, can make a lot of sense to move into public cloud infrastructures. But most database servers don’t fit this bill. I also believe that there are fewer issues with governance, privacy, and international law compliance involved with private cloud deployments.
So, for now, I’m a big fan of looking at on-premise or hybrid solutions. The RAs and Microsoft private cloud solutions coming from HP give you a huge jumpstart on getting your private cloud up and running, and virtualized data centers are clearly the right way to go for most servers these days.
Of course, private cloud solutions do have a fair amount of moving parts. If you’re looking, for example, at a SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2014 solution, you not only need to understand SQL Server itself, but also the guest operating system (probably Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 at this point). You need to understand the host operating system, Hyper-V, and for high availability you’ll probably be in a Windows Server failover cluster environment to boot.
But wait, there’s more. You’ll probably be using a combination of Microsoft and HP software to manage the virtual machine infrastructure. So, now you need to have a good understanding of the System Center 2012 solution stack, such as Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). HP provides great tools to help manage the solutions as well, but now there’s more software you need to understand.
My biggest point in all of this is you probably need a team of people to be thinking about your private cloud deployment. It will be a rare individual indeed who can manage all of these pieces and get a successful outcome. We’ll talk more about that team next time.