Enabling Self-Service in the Cloud
John Savill
December 19, 2013

Q. How do I enable self-service for my private cloud?

A. The private cloud has a number of key capabilities, such as abstraction of the fabric (storage, network and compute), scalability, accountability, and--specific to this question--end-user self-service. Before you think about enabling end-user self-service, it is important to have designed and implemented clouds that control which resources the tenants (users) have access to and the capacity and capabilities that are enabled through the cloud. Different tenant groups then have quotas assigned, in addition to separate quotas for the members of a tenant group. When this cloud foundation is in place, you can enable end-user self-service with confidence, knowing that users can provision environments only within the parameters that you have defined.

To provide the self-service interface for users, you have two main options. For the basic creation and management of virtual machines (VMs), you should use System Center App Controller, which exposes the clouds that are defined in System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) to the tenants and also enables access to cloud services and hosters that leverage SPF. This provides a single pane of glass for end users to see all their virtual resources and manage as needed.

For more complex provisioning scenarios such as requests that require authorization and interacting with other systems, System Center Orchestrator can be used to provide the sequencing of the actions that are required to perform the actual provisioning, in the form of runbooks. System Center Service Manager is then used to connect to Orchestrator, to expose the runbooks to end users via its Service Catalog and to provide full workflow capabilities. These capabilities can include authorization when required.

Environments that use a joint HP and Microsoft private cloud environment with HP BladSystem or ProLiant Gen 8 servers and Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V can take full advantage of System Center self-service capabilities.