Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 :The Operating System of the Private Cloud. Time to Install Your Trial Edition for Free. (Head in the Clouds Episode 1)

Everyone is talking about Cloud.  There are all kinds of claims but no one is actually showing you how to actually build it.  I want to show you how to actually implement some of the cloud solutions you have undoubtedly heard so much about.  It seems logical to me to begin at your own network because it is very likely that you already have some of the key components of what we would define as a “Private Cloud” already built in to your network. 

I guess a definition is in order as we get under way.

Cloud Computing - is the on-demand delivery of standardized IT services on shared resources, enabling IT to be more reliable through greater elasticity and scale, end-users to accelerate access to their IT needs through self-service, and the business to be more efficient through usage-based and SLA-driven services.

Private Cloud - provides many of the benefits of Cloud Computing plus unique security, control and customization on IT resources dedicated to a single organization

I wonder if that was written by the marketing department?  OK!

So lets get started building a Private Cloud.  Perhaps as we build it we will see its true potential value. 

The first piece to any cloud environment (Public or Private) is a platform.  Some things just don’t change.  You need a platform on which to run all of your stuff.  Fear not the platform is the one you are already used to using.  The public and private cloud offerings from Microsoft rely on Windows Server 2008 R2 as the platform.  Some of you are scratching your heads thinking……”but, isn’t the public cloud platform called Windows Azure?” 

Yes, you would be correct!  However it would behoove you to realize that Windows Azure is actually running a series of virtual machine instances on your behalf.  Guess which platform those virtual machine instances are running?  You guessed it Windows Server 2008 R2!  So whether you choose public or private cloud you will be working with your favorite platform and mine Windows Server 2008 R2. 

Since we are building a private cloud we will be using Hyper-V to host virtual machines inside our private cloud and so therefore will want to get a version of Windows Server 2008 R2 that includes Hyper-V.  I would recommend Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition with hyper-v.  My reasoning is 2 fold. 

1.  Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition has better capacity capabilities than the standard edition.

2. From a purely stingy licensing perspective if you run Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition you get 4 free licenses to run Windows Server as virtual machines.  that means I can run 1 Hyper V server and 4 additional servers for no additional licensing costs. Wahoo!  When was the last time you went wahoo?

I know someone is wondering about running Database edition.  So here’s the deal.  If you choose to run datacenter edition you do get to run as many free virtual machines as you want, however we do license that edition of server on a per processor basis so it can get pricey fast.  For our purposes we are going to stick with Window server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition SP1.

We are going to be building a private cloud for testing purposes and so therefore are not going to pay one thin dime for the opportunity to try this stuff out.

Where pray tell will I get this free stuff from. 

Ask and ye shall receive.

I have my own personally recognized trial software link.  Click the link above and download the trial version of the software.  In this case trial version simply measn that in 180- days (Which by the way we will be long finished with this discussion by then) the software will simply stop working.  Timebomb!  Kapow! Boom!

You get the picture! 

Once you have signed up for the software download a copy for yourself to use and burn it to DVD. 

At this point there is a question to be asked and seriously considered.  “Should we install the full version, or the Server Core version?” 

That is an excellent question and the answer is “It depends!” 

The Private Cloud deployment guide states without reservation that you should use the Server Core edition.  I really think it depends on your knowledge.  If you are not already with Server Core installations this is going to add an extra layer of complexity that you just frankly don’t need to deal with right now.  I totally understand that because we install the full version that there will be some local resources specifically RAM  that is used by the full install that we could conserve by using the server core installation.  Keep that knowledge in the back of your mind for when your building out your production systems and maybe you choose to go Server core at that point in time.  For now I want you to do the full install. 

I realize that this is really just a next, next, next wait 45 minutes finish operation.  Go for it! 

When you have your operating system installed kick back relax and play some XBOX 360. 

Next time we will talk about Hyper V and the role that it plays in Private Cloud Operations. 

Enjoy your day!