Microsoft announces Hyper-V Cloud programs for private IaaS clouds

A couple of weeks ago, during its TechEd Europe 2010 conference, Microsoft announced a new set of programs dubbed Hyper-V Cloud.

The first one is called Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track, developed and executed in partnership with six OEMs: Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi/HDS, HP, IBM and NEC. It provides reference architectures for private Hyper-V powered Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds.

In most cases, apparently, there’s no difference between a blueprint for cloud computing and one for virtualization for these vendors.

  • The Dell’s one, for instance, has been published in August, and doesn’t mention at all cloud computing.
  • Fujitsu just has a landing page and nothing else. It refers to the Fast Track solution as a turnkey solution, but readers can’t do anything except checking the web pages about the products that the OEM will probably include in its reference architecture.
  • Hitachi offers a similar landing page, redirecting back to Microsoft website for additional information (which are not available).
  • HP, the only quoted in the Microsoft announcement, offers a blueprint called Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V, combining BladeSystem Matrix, System Center products, Hyper-V, and a few consulting services focused on cloud computing.
  • IBM suggests an architecture targeting the “midmarket clients” called System x Private Cloud Offering (PCO), which features System x and Brocade networking.
  • NEC can just suggest to adopt its Express5800 blade system along with its 10 GB Intelligent Layer 3 Switch, without providing any clear guidance on the storage.

Then there’s the Hyper-V Cloud Service Provider Program, where its members agreed on offering public and virtual private IaaS clouds based on Hyper-V.

The list includes more than 70 service providers but Microsoft is currently showing only four case studies: Korean Internet Data Center, Fasthosts, Agarik and Hostway.

On top of that, Microsoft also released a starter kit to convert existing virtual infrastructures in private IaaS clouds.
The kit is made of five modules, three deployment guides, a project validation workbook and a project plan template:

It’s not clear how and when Microsoft will be able to offer a fully featured private cloud based on Hyper-V as many key components of a IaaS cloud are not yet available in its product portfolio or are not yet fully integrated.

For example its orchestration framework Opalis, acquired in December 2009, is not yet fully integrated in the System Center family and it won’t be before some time next year. Similarly, Microsoft is not yet able to offer any billing solution for its private cloud, and its current monitoring products are still threshold-based, unsuited to operate in a fully automated fashion as it would be desirable at the scale of cloud computing.

For now, Microsoft counts on the just released System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal (SCVMMSSP) 2.0, an add-on for SCVMM 2008 R2 that represents a first step to build a full business service catalog, and on partnerships with 3rd party ISVs like VKernel, which has been the first to offer support for SCVMMSSP2.0 on its new Chargeback 2.5 solution.

Additionally, excluding HP, the partners Microsoft selected for this launch seem unable to match some more concrete turnkey solutions already available or soon to arrive on the market, like the VBlock offered by VMware, Cisco and EMC or similar offering that Oracle may want to provide in the near future.