Here is an interesting number: 19,700,000. That’s the number of results were received when I did a Bing search on “Cloud Computing”. () (For Google – the result was 310M results.) If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that my world is squarely focused on Microsoft Technologies and specifically: SharePoint. What I’d like to discuss today is what cloud is best for SharePoint?
There are three different types of clouds that we need to consider for SharePoint:
- Private Cloud
- Public Cloud
A private cloud makes use of virtualization – but that virtualization runs on a server that only they use. That server would be called a dedicated hypervisor. The primary benefit to this configuration is that you get all of the resources of the hypervisor without having to share them with anyone else. The downside is that it is often more costly because you have to pay for the entire hypervisor.
A public cloud makes use of virtualization as well – but the hypervisor it’s using is potentially shared by other companies or services. This server will run the same version of your operating system as a private cloud – but you will have to share the resources of the hypervisor. The result is you can’t guarantee the VM’s performance because you don’t know how is going to be running another payload on that same server.
Software as a Service is the model where the hypervisor and the VM are actually obscured from you and all that is exposed is the end application – in this case, SharePoint. Office365 is an excellent example of this. Here you are trusting the provider (Microsoft) to run the application is an “available and permanent” way.
Here are Rackspace we run our SharePoint payloads primarily on a private cloud (dedicated to each customer) and most times we use VMWare as the technology provider of choice using EMC storage. EMC has proven to be an excellent technology provider with solutions enable us to deliver the options to our customers that they require. These options could be either technical or more driven by price.
Hopefully this quick primer into the different types of cloud will help you decide where to place you SharePoint workload.
It’s no surprise for the readers of this Blog for me to restate that I work for Rackspace Hosting and lead their SharePoint offering. As the leader of this offering it’s my job to help us refine, strengthen, and grow our this product. Despite what your thoughts are on the topic of SharePoint – SharePoint is about helping people work better together. It’s supposed to be about removing the mechanics of the things that cause friction in collaboration.
Up until recently – the concept of where to “host” SharePoint has been all about “where can it run best”. Now I have to be clear here…. When I say “it” I mean all of SharePoint – the whole farm – all of the content and all of the services.
Now if you fell I’m being redundant – well I am – but for a purpose. I’d like to direct you to the announcement of “Onedrive for Business”. I’d also like to point out a bullet from this Microsoft support document:
• Provides ability to connect on-premises SharePoint users to OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) in the cloud for their personal site storage.
If you haven’t hung out with a kinder gardener lately and done a “connect the dots” – what you see here is Microsoft helping enterprise business with “getting comfortable” with the cloud. The days of choosing “on premises or hosted or o365″ are gone. All data for a business will probably exist in across all of these environments in some form or fashion.
Now this is great because it creates a ton of flexibility and choice for companies. This is challenging because whenever choices are available for highly complex data-management – expertise is required. If you find yourself with decisions like these to be made, here is my advice:
- Understand your data, it’s sensitivity, and it’s size
- Understand your users – who they are and where they are
- Understand the features you need – not what you want. If you buy for what you need now and use it well, you’ll need more soon. The difference is you will be able to justify the business expense.
- Understand your options – All hosting options available to you, your company’s sensitivity to “hosting”, your relationship with Microsoft, and the feature you need (but we already covered that)
If all goes well – I’ll be digging into the 4 points above in subsequent posts. In the meantime – you’ve got some studying to do.
If you are interested in Cloud-Based servers – then the article reference here is for you:
The article was written by Todd Carter (MCM, MCT, and all-round good guy).
A quick bit of clarification. When I refer to a “Cloud Server” – I am refering to a:
- Dedicated Virtual Machine (It’s yours and yours alone)
- The machine is running on a shared Hypervisor (physical machine)
A lot of people think of a “cloud server” as a server which is “not running in their data-center” – regardless if their server is dedicated to them or shared.
The hosting providers tested in this article were:
- Microsoft Azure
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Rackspace Cloud Servers
- Bing Maps Server CAL
- Core CAL Suite
- Enterprise CAL Suite
- Exchange Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
- Lync Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
- Project Server CAL
- SharePoint Server Standard and Enterprise CALs
- System Center 2012 Client Management Suite
- System Center Configuration Manager
- System Center Endpoint Protection
- Visual Studio TFS CAL
- Windows Multipoint Server CAL
- Windows Server CAL
- Windows Server RDS, RMS, Terminal Services CAL
The core message is that Microsoft is raising the price of User CAL’s by 15% and allowing you to access your company’s Microsoft Servers by an unlimited number of devices. This is different from the Device CAL which would allow for an unlimited number of users connect to your Microsoft Servers from a specific number of licensed devices.
This change is effective December 1, 2012 (or when your pre-negotiated EA expires).
In the past – these prices have been roughly the same. A blog posted from December by UK reseller Softcat gives greater details.
Moral of the story – licensing for SharePoint is changing again.
SharePoint 2013: How is our world changing?
I have spent a lot of time thinking about the messages we recieved last week from Microsoft from the keynote all the way down to the last sessions. I would characterize the message of the week by showing a picture from Jeff Teper’s Keynote address.
The key word they obviously want us to see is “INNOVATION”. It is my opinion that’s the goal of Microsoft SharePoint 2013 – especially the version they are making available through Office365. I believe it is Microsoft’s goal to remove as many barriers as possible away from business users who want to (and need to) work together. People who are successfully working together can get work done. If Microsoft is successful in removing the barriers of productivity – then they stand at the threshold as the creators of technology that could unleash productivity, creativity and ultimately – Innovation.
Now this is an interesting problem to solve – because in many ways they created the problem (at last the most common tool that enables the problem) – Microsoft Exchange. I would venture to state that there is more corporate intelligence and work bound to our in-box and calendars than anywhere else in our company’s vast IT resources. Microsoft isn’t just throwing another tool at a problem here – it really does appear as though there was some very deep thought around productivity, work-streams, tasks, and all of the most common business activities that happen every day in our jobs. Consider that in a SharePoint/Office 2013 and Microsoft Device reality that:
- I can author a document (or task, or issue, or site…) at my PC and easily engage others to help with it’s creation
- I can consume and/or edit that information from the device of my chosing
- I can easily invite others into the approval process
- I can easily share that information with others
- I can tag the content with a folksonomy that fits my business
- Others can elect to join the effort
- Others can follow document’s progress
- Others can easily discover the content through searches or simply because they pay attention to the content I create
- IT can create policies that govern the lifecycle of the content I create and tag
- We can author content in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote even without the desktop application loaded on our device of choiceTo me – it seems as Microsoft stands at the threshold of our business with a set of tools, technology, and devices that will help us not think about any of those items (though in some cases – they are quite sexy). At a minimum, we will be much more successful in getting our job completed and in the best case: our cumulative innovation will help us transform our business and organizations to greater levels of success.So this begins a series (hopeful a long-running one) where I will point out where their strategy is succeeding and where it isn’t. Please feel free to share your experiences.
I will be presenting at SharePointConnections in Las Vegas next week in a session called “Demystifying SharePoint in the Cloud”. My session is Wednesday 3/28 at 2:30.
In this session I’ll be helping to put some definition around:
- What is “the Cloud”
- What it means to have “SharePoint in the Cloud”
- When it’s appropriate to put data in the Cloud
I’ll also be presenting a “decision matrix” that helps to provide some context around when it’s appropriate to used cloud-based technologies.
Hope to see you there!
Today (which is a great day) you may have read the press release from Rackspace, an article in the Wall Street Journal, or saw a twitter from a friend – but today Rackspace announced that we have purchased SharePoint911. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about this announcement!
Nearly 4 years ago I launched Rackspace’s SharePoint Hosting service, which is built on Rackspace’s Fanatical Support ™. This was such a successful product for us that we began looking for ways to not only be the best SharePoint Hosting company – but the best SharePoint company. That has quest lead us to SharePoint911 and the team that Shane Young has gathered. You see when Rackspace looks for an acquisition – we never look to capture market–share but acquire talent; and that’s what we’ve done here. These guys & girls rock!
I am pleased to welcome the SharePoint911 team to Rackspace and to our journey. The collective horsepower of our teams standing atop the worlds largest (and greatest) hosting company is awesome! But more than that – I am thrilled to be on this journey with people I’m happy to call friends. Each individual voluntarily made the decision to join the team. To each of you new “Rackers”, I’m humbled that you’ve come to Rackspace – Welcome!
To the test of the world – how can we serve you! (In our datacenter…. or yours… but more on that later.)
Here are a few links to what some of the team has posted about the event: