Category Archives: Virtualization

SharePoint Online: Software Boundaries, Limits and Planning Guide

This article describes some important limitations that you might need to know for different SharePoint Online plans in Office 365.
For example, it provides information about number of supported users, storage quotas, and file-size limits. This article covers a range of plans:
SharePoint Online in Office 365 Small Business and in Office 365 Enterprise, plus standalone plans.
The limits that are listed are for paid subscriptions. You might see different limits for trial plans andSharePoint Online preview sites. 

Note    In Office 365 plans, software boundaries and limits for SharePoint Online are managed separately from mailbox storage limits. Mailbox storage limits are set up and managed by using Exchange Online. For more information about how Exchange manages mailbox limits, see Mailbox types and storage limits for Recipients.

In this article

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SharePoint Online Feature availability

Need help determining which SharePoint solution best fits your organization’s needs?

The various Office 365 plans include different SharePoint Online offerings. These include:

  • SharePoint Online for Office 365 Small Business
  • SharePoint Online for Office 365 Midsize Business
  • SharePoint Online for Office 365 Enterprise, Education, and Government

You can choose the plan that best fits your organization’s needs. Each person who accesses the SharePoint Online service must be assigned to a subscription plan. SharePoint Online can be included in a Microsoft Office 365 plan, or it can be purchased as a standalone plan, such as SharePoint Enterprise Plan 1 or SharePoint Enterprise Plan 2.

Limits in SharePoint Online in Office 365 plans

In this section:

Limits for SharePoint Online for Office 365 Small Business

SharePoint Online Small Business and SharePoint Online Small Business Premium have common boundaries and limits. The following table describes those limits.

Feature Description
Storage per user (contributes to total storage base of tenant) 500 megabytes (MB) per subscribed user.
Site collection quota limit Up to 1 TB per site collection. (25 GB for a trial).

5,000 items in site libraries, including files and folders.

The minimum storage allocation per site collection is 100 MB.

Site collections (#) per tenant 1 site collection per tenant.
Subsites Up to 2,000 subsites per site collection
Total available tenant storage 10 GB + 500 MB per user.

For example, if you have 10 users, the base storage allocation is 15 GB (10 GB + 500 MB * 10 users).

You can purchase additional storage up to a maximum of 1TB.

Personal site storage 1 TB per user, as soon as provisioned.

This amount is counted separately, and does not add to or subtract from the overall storage allocation for a tenant. Personal site storage applies to a user’s OneDrive for Business library and personal newsfeed. For more information, see Additional information about OneDrive for Business limits.

Public Website storage default 5 GB

A SharePoint admin can allocate up to 1 TB (the limit for a site collection).

File upload limit 2 GB per file.
File attachment size limit 250 MB
Sync limits 20,000 items in the OneDrive for Business library, including files and folders.

5,000 items in site libraries, including files and folders.

Number of users 1 – 25 users
Number of external users invitees There is no limit to number of external users you can invite to your SharePoint Online site Collections. For more information, see Manage external sharing for your SharePoint Online environment

When reviewing the information on the previous table, remember that the base storage limits for Office 365 for Small Business (10 GB + 500 MB per subscribed user) will affect some of these values. For example, although SharePoint Online for Small Business imposes a limit of 1 TB per site collection, your particular tenant might not have enough storage available to contain a site collection of 1 TB.

 

 Important    It’s a good idea to monitor the Recycle Bin and empty it regularly. Content in the Recycle Bin is counted against the storage quota for a tenant. For example, if the Recycle Bin on a site contains 5 GB of content, that 5 GB is subtracted from the available storage.

 

Limits for SharePoint Online for Office 365 Midsize Business

The following table shows the software boundaries and limits for the SharePoint Online Midsize Business plan.

Feature Description
Storage per user (contributes to total storage base of tenant) 500 megabytes (MB) per subscribed user.
Storage base per tenant 10 GB + 500 MB per subscribed user.

For example, if you have 250 users, the base storage allocation is 135 GB (10 GB + 500 MB * 250 users).

You can purchase additional storage up to a maximum of 20 TB.

Additional storage at a cost per GB per month. To buy storage, see Change storage space for your subscription.

 Important    You can’t buy additional storage for a trial subscription.

Site collection quota limit Up to 1 TB per site collection. (25 GB for a trial).

5,000 items in site libraries, including files and folders.

SharePoint admins can set storage limits for site collections and sites. The minimum storage allocation per site collection is 100 MB.

Site collections (#) per tenant 20 site collections (other than personal sites).
Subsites Up to 2,000 subsites per site collection.
Personal site storage 1TB per user, as soon as provisioned.

Personal site storage applies to a user’s OneDrive for Business library and personal newsfeed. This amount is counted separately, and does not add to or subtract the overall storage allocation for a tenant. For more information about OneDrive for Business, see Additional information about OneDrive for Business limits later in this article.

Public Website storage default 5 GB

A SharePoint admin can allocate up to 1 TB (the limit for a site collection).

File upload limit 2 GB per file.
File attachment size limit 250 MB
Sync limits 20,000 items in the OneDrive for Business library, including files and folders.

5,000 items in site libraries, including files and folders.

Number of users 1 – 250 users
Number of external user invitees There is no limit to number of external users you can invite to your SharePoint Online site Collections. For more information see, Manage external sharing for your SharePoint Online environment

When reviewing the information on the previous table, remember that the base storage limits for Office 365 for Midsize Business (10 GB + 500 MB per subscribed user) will affect some of these values. For example, although SharePoint Online for Midsize Business imposes a limit of 1 TB per site collection and a limit of 20 site collections, your particular tenant might not have enough storage available to contain 20 site collections of 1 TB each.

 Important    It’s a good idea to monitor the Recycle Bin and empty it regularly. Content in the Recycle Bin is counted against the storage quota for a tenant. For example, if the Recycle Bin on a site contains 25 GB of content, that 25 GB is subtracted from the available storage.

 

 

Limits for SharePoint Online for Office 365 Enterprise, Education, and Government

One or more Office 365 subscriptions plans can be included as part of your subscription. This is true for the following plan offerings:

  • Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise subscriptions (E1 – E4)
  • Microsoft Office 365 Government subscriptions (G1 – G4)
  • Microsoft Office 365 Education subscriptions (A2 – A4)
  • Microsoft Office 365 Kiosk subscriptions (K1-K2)
  • SharePoint Online stand-alone subscription plans (Plan 1 and Plan 2).

 

These plans have common boundaries and limits. The following table describes those limits.

 

 

Feature Office 365 Enterprise plans (including E1 – E4, A2-A4, G1-G4, and SharePoint Online Plan 1 and Plan 2) Office 365 Kiosk plans (Enterprise and Government K1 – K2)
Storage per user (contributes to total storage base of tenant) 500 megabytes (MB) per subscribed user. Zero (0).

Licensed Kiosk Workers do not add to the tenant storage base.

Additional storage (per GB per month); no minimum purchase To buy storage, see Change storage space for your subscription.

 Important    You can’t buy additional storage for a trial subscription.

To buy storage, see Change storage space for your subscription.

 Important    You can’t buy additional storage for a trial subscription.

Storage base per tenant 10 GB + 500 MB per subscribed user + additional storage purchased.

For example, if you have 10,000 users, the base storage allocation is approximately 5 TB (10 GB + 500 MB * 10,000 users).

You can purchase an unlimited amount of additional storage.

 Important    If you have a Government Community Cloud plan, you can purchase additional storage up to 25 TB.

10 GB + additional storage purchased.

You can purchase an unlimited amount of additional storage.

 Important    If you have a Government Community Cloud plan, you can purchase additional storage up to 25 TB.

Site collection storage limit Up to 1 TB per site collection. (25 GB for trial).

SharePoint admins can set storage limits for site collections and sites. The minimum storage allocation per site collection is 100 MB.

5,000 items in site libraries, including files and folders.

 Important    If you have a Government Community Cloud plan, the limit is 100 GB.

Up to 1 TB per site collection. (25 GB for a trial). SharePoint admins can set storage limits for site collections and sites. The minimum storage allocation per site collection is 100 MB.

 Important    If you have a Government Community Cloud plan, the limit is 100 GB.

Kiosk workers (plans K1-K2) cannot administer SharePoint site collections. You will need a license for at least one Enterprise plan user to manage Kiosk site collections.

Site collections (#) per tenant 500,000 site collections (other than personal sites). 500,000 site collections.
Subsites Up to 2,000 subsites per site collection Up to 2,000 subsites per site collection
Personal site storage 1 TB per user (100 GB for government plans), as soon as provisioned.

Personal site storage applies to a user’s OneDrive for Business library and personal newsfeed. This amount is counted separately, and does not add to or subtract the overall storage allocation for a tenant.

For more information about OneDrive for Business, see Additional information about OneDrive for Business limits later in this article.

Not available.
Public Website storage default 5 GB

A SharePoint admin can allocate up to 1 TB (the limit for a site collection).

5 GB

A SharePoint admin can allocate up to 1 TB (the limit for a site collection).

Kiosk workers (plans K1-K2) cannot administer Sharepoint site collections. You will need a license for at least one Enterprise plan user to manage Kiosk site collections.

File upload limit 2 GB per file. 2 GB per file.
File attachment size limit 250 MB 250 MB
Sync limits 20,000 items in the OneDrive for Business library, including files and folders.

5,000 items in site libraries, including files and folders.

20,000 items in the OneDrive for Business library, including files and folders.

5,000 items in site libraries, including files and folders.

Maximum number of users per tenant 1 – 500,000+

 Note    If you have more than 500,000 users, please contact the Microsoft representative to discuss detailed requirements.

1 – 500,000+

 Note    If you have more than 500,000 users, please contact the Microsoft representative to discuss detailed requirements.

Number of external user invitees There is no limit to number of external users you can invite to your SharePoint Online site Collections. For more information, see Manage external sharing for your SharePoint Online environment There is no limit to number of external users you can invite to your SharePoint Online site Collections. For more information, see Manage external sharing for your SharePoint Online environment

When reviewing the information on the previous table, remember that the base storage limits for Office 365 for Enterprises (10 GB + 500 MB per subscribed user) will affect some of these values. For example, although SharePoint Online for Enterprise plans imposes a limit of 1 TB per site collection and a limit of 500,000 site collections, your particular tenant might not have enough storage available to contain 500,000 site collections of 1 TB each.

 Important    It’s a good idea to monitor the Recycle Bin and empty it regularly. Content in the Recycle Bin is counted against the storage quota for a tenant. For example, if the Recycle Bin on a site contains 25 GB of content, that 25 GB is subtracted from the available storage.

 

 

Limits for site elements in SharePoint Online

There are also limits for site elements of a SharePoint Online site. Here are some examples:

  • List and Library limits    Different types of columns have different limitations. For example, you can have up to 276 columns in a list for columns that contain a single line of text.
  • Page limits    You can add up to 25 Web Parts to a single wiki or web page.
  • Security limits    Different security features have different limits. For example, a single user can belong to no more than 5,000 security groups.

 

The specific elements for the previous site elements are too numerous to list here, but you can learn more about them in the TechNet article Software Boundaries and Limits for SharePoint 2013. In this linked article, only the sections on List and Library Limits, Page Limits, and Security Limits apply to SharePoint Onl

 

Additional information about OneDrive for Business limits

Each user in SharePoint Online for Office 365 gets an individual storage allocation of 1 TB for personal site content (100 GB for government plans). Personal sites include the user’s OneDrive for Business library, a Recycle Bin, and personal newsfeed information.

All SharePoint Online in Office 365 plans include the same storage allocation for individual personal sites. This storage allocation is separate from the tenant allocation.

For more information about how users can manage their individual OneDrive for Business allocation, see OneDrive for Business library limits.

 

 

Additional Resources

 

For information about this: Go here:
Office 365 connectivity limits To learn more about Internet bandwidth, port and protocol considerations for Office 365 plans, see Office 365 Ports and Protocols.
SharePoint feature availability To learn more about SharePoint feature availability and the SharePoint Online service in Office 365, see SharePoint Online Service Descriptions.
SharePoint Online search limits To learn more about the search limits for SharePoint Online, see Search limits for SharePoint Online.
Mobile devices To learn more about opening a SharePoint Online site from a mobile device, see Use a mobile device to work with SharePoint Online sites.
File types To learn about file types that you can’t add to a list, see Types of files that cannot be added to a list or library.
Online URLs To learn about SharePoint Online addresses, see SharePoint Online URLs and IP Addresses.
Site languages To learn how to set language for your sites, see Change your language and region settings.
Planning and deploying SharePoint Online
Change storage space

 Important    You can’t buy additional storage for a trial subscription.

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List of all Visual Studio ALM Virtual Machines

List of all Visual Studio ALM Virtual Machines

COURTESY OF THE ALM RANGERS @

 

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Given the growing list of virtual machines we have published to showcase various application lifecycle management scenarios, I created this blog post to be a permanent location you can bookmark any time you want to find the latest and greatest. An easy-to-remember URL for this page is http://aka.ms/ALMVMs.

Visual Studio 2013 ALM Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs / Demo Scripts
Last Update: January 9, 2014
This virtual machine is based on the RTM release of Visual Studio 2013 and includes hands-on-labs / demo scripts which showcase the new ALM capabilities introduced in this release. This VM was also upgraded on January 9, 2014 to include the content and hands-on-labs / demo scripts for capabilities which were originally introduced in Visual Studio 2010/2012.

Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 ALM Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs / Demo Scripts
Last Updated: April 17, 2013
This is the primary ALM virtual machine which demonstrates many of the scenarios introduced in Visual Studio 2010/2012 for application lifecycle management. This includes project management, source control, developer productivity and collaboration, testing, lab management, and IntelliTrace.

Team Foundation Server 2012 and Project Server 2013 Integration Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs / Demo Scripts
Last Updated: April 17, 2013
This VM highlights the integration scenarios which are possible between Team Foundation Server and Project Server which allow development teams to automatically synchronize the status of their projects with a centralized project management office (PMO).

Team Foundation Server 2012 and System Center 2012 Operations Manager Integration Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Lab / Demo Script
Last Updated: February 7, 2013
This VM highlights the integration scenarios which are possible between System Center 2012 Operations Manager and Team Foundation Server 2012 which allow operations teams to easily surface incidents from production in a rich, actionable way for developers to quickly diagnose these problems.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012 as Private Cloud Enabler (3/5): Deployment with Service Template

By this time, I assume we all have some clarity that virtualization is not cloud. There are indeed many and significant differences between the two. A main departure is the approaches of deploying apps. In the 3rd article of the 5-part series as listed below, I would like to examine service-based deployment introduced in VMM 2012 for building a private cloud.

  • Part 1. Private Cloud Concepts
  • Part 2. Fabric, Oh, Fabric
  • Part 3. Deployment with Service Template (This article)
  • Part 4. Working with Service Templatesimage
  • Part 5. App Controller

VMM 2012 has the abilities to carry out both traditional virtual machine (VM)-centric and emerging service-based deployments. The formal is virtualization-focused and operated at a VM level, while the latter is service-centric approach and intended for private cloud deployment.

This article is intended for those with some experience administering VMM 2008 R2 infrastructure. And notice in cloud computing, “service” is a critical and must-understand concept which I have discussed elsewhere. And just to be clear, in the context of cloud computing, a “service” and an “application” means the same thing, since in cloud everything to user is delivered as a service, for example SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. Throughout this article, I use the terms, service and application, interchangeably.

VM-Centric Deployment

In virtualization, deploying a server has becomes conceptually shipping/building and booting from a (VHD) file. Those who would like to refresh their knowledge of virtualization are invited to review the 20-Part Webcast Series on Microsoft Virtualization Solutions.

Virtualization has brought many opportunities for IT to improve processes and operations. With system management software such as System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 or VMM 2008 R2, we can deploy VMs and installs OS to a target environment with few or no operator interventions. And from an application point of view, with or without automation the associated VMs are essentially deployed and configured individually.image For instance, a multi-tier web application like the one shown above is typically deployed with a pre-determined number of VMs, followed by installing and configuring application among the deployed VMs individually based on application requirements. Particularly when there is a back-end database involved, a system administrator typically must follow a particular sequence to first bring a target database server instance on line by configuring specific login accounts with specific db roles, securing specific ports, and registering in AD before proceeding with subsequent deployment steps. These operator interventions are required likely due to lack of a cost-effective, systematic, and automatic way for streamlining and managing the concurrent and event-driven inter-VM dependencies which become relevant at various moments during an application deployment.

Despite there may be a system management infrastructure in place like VMM 2008 R2 integrated with other System Center members, at an operational level VMs are largely managed and maintained individually in a VM-centric deployment model. And perhaps more significantly, in a VM-centric deployment too often it is labor-intensive and with relatively high TCO to deploy a multi-tier application “on demand” (in other words, as a service) and deploy multiple times, run multiple releases concurrently in the same IT environment, if it is technically feasible at all. Now in VMM 2012, the ability to deploy services on demand, deploy multiple times, run multiple releases concurrently in the same environment become noticeably straightforward and amazing simple with a service-based deployment model.

Service-Based Deployment

In a VM-centric model, there lacks an effective way to address event-driven and inter-VMs dependencies during a deployment, nor there is a concept of fabric which is an essential abstraction of cloud computing. imageIn VMM 2012, a service-based deployment means all the resources encompassing an application, i.e. the configurations, installations, instances, dependencies, etc. are deployed and managed as one entity with fabric . The integration of fabric in VMM 2012 is a key delivery and clearly illustrated in VMM 2012 admin console as shown on the left. And the precondition for deploying services to a private cloud is all about first laying out the private cloud fabric.

Constructing Fabric

To deploy a service, the process normally employs administrator and service accounts to carry out the tasks of installing and configuring infrastructure and application on servers, networking, and storage based on application requirements. Here servers collectively act as a compute engine to provide a target runtime environment for executing code. Networking is to interconnect all relevant application resources and peripherals to support all management and communications need, while the storage is where code and data actually resides and maintained. In VMM 2012, the servers, networking, and storage infrastructure components are collectively managed with a single concept as private cloud fabric.

There are three resource pools/nodes encompassing fabric: Servers, Networking, and Storage. Servers contain various types of servers including virtualization host groups, PXE, Update (i.e. WSUS) and other servers. Host groups are container to logically group servers with virtualization hosting capabilities and ultimately represent the physical boxes where VMs can be possibly deployed to, either with specific network settings or dynamically selected by VMM Intelligent Placement, as applicable, based on defined criteria. VMM 2012 can manage Hyper-V based, VMware, as well as other virtualization solutions. During adding a host into a host group, VMM 2012 installs an agent on a target host which then becomes a managed resource of the fabric.

A Library Server is a repository where the resources for deploying services and VMs are available via network shares. As a Library Server is added into fabric, by specifying the network shares defined in the Library Server, file-based resources like VM templates, VHDs, iso images, service templates, scripts, server app-v packages, etc. are become available and to be used as building blocks for composing VM and service templates. As various types of servers are brought in the Server pool, the coverage expanded and capabilities increased as if additional fibers are weaved into fabric.

Networking presents the wiring among resources repositories, running instances, deployed clouds and VMs, and the intelligence for managing and maintaining the fabric. It essentially forms the nervous system to filter noises, isolate traffic, and establish interconnectivity among VMs based on how Logical Networks and Network Sites are put in place.

Storage reveals the underlying  storage complexities and how storage is virtualized. In VMM 2012, a cloud administrator can discover, classify and provision remote storage on supported storage arrays through the VMM 2012 console. VMM 2012 fully automates the assignment of storage to a Hyper-V host or Hyper-V host cluster, and tracks the storage that is managed by VMM 2012.

Deploying Private Cloud

A leading feature of VMM 2012 is the ability to deploy a private cloud, or more specifically to deploy a service to a private cloud. The focus of this article is to depict the operational aspects of deploying a private cloud with the assumption that an intended application has been well tested, signed off, and sealed for deployment. And the application resources including code, service template, scripts, server app-v packages, etc. are packaged and provided to a cloud administrator for deployment. In essence, this package has all the intelligence, settings, and contents needed to be deployed as a service. This self-contained package can then be easily deployed on demand by validating instance-dependent global variables and repeating the deployment tasks on a target cloud. The following illustrated the concept where a service is deployed in update releases and various editions with specific feature compositions, while all running concurrently in VMM 2012 fabric. Not only this is relative easy to do by streamlining and automating all deployment tasks with a service template, the service template can also be configured and deploy to different private clouds.

image

The secret sauce is a service template which includes all the where, what, how, and when of deploying all the resources of an intended application as a service. It should be apparent that the skill sets and amount of efforts to develop a solid service template apparently are not trivial. Because a service template not only needs to include the intimate knowledge of an application, but the best practices of Windows deployment in addition to system and network administrations, server app-v, and system management of Windows servers and workloads. The following is a sample service template of StockTrader imported into VMM 2012 and viewed with Designer where StockTrader is a sample application for cloud deployment downloaded from Windows Connect.

image

Here are the logical steps I follow to deploy StockTrader with VMM 2012 admin console:

  • Step 1: Acquire the Stock Trader application package from Windows Connect.
  • Step 2: Extract and place the package in a designated network share of a target Library Server of VMM 2012 and refresh the Library share. By default, the refresh cycle of a Library Server is every 60 minutes. To make the newly added resources immediately available, refreshing an intended Library share will validate and re-index the resources in added network shares.
  • Step 3: Import the service templates of Stock Trader and follow the step-by-step guide to remap the application resources.
  • Step 4: Identify/create a target cloud with VMM 2012 admin console.
  • Step 5: Open Designer to validate the VM templates included in the service template. Make sure SQLAdminRAA is correctly defined as RunAs account.
  • Step 6: Configure deployment of the service template and validate global variables in specialization page.
  • Step 7: Deploy Stock Trader to a target cloud and monitor the progress in Job panel.
  • Step 8: Troubleshoot the deployment process, as needed, restart the deployment job, and repeat the step as needed
  • Step 9: Upon successful deployment of the service, test the service and verify the results.

A successful deployment of Stock Trader with minimal instances in my all-in-one-laptop demo environment (running in Lenovo W510 with sufficient RAM) took about 75 to 90 minutes as reported in Job Summary shown below.

StockTraderDeployment

Once the service template is successfully deployed, Stock Trader becomes a service in the target private cloud supported by VMM 2012 fabric. The following two screen captures show a Pro Release of Stock Trader deployed to a private cloud in VMM 2012 and the user experience of accessing a trader’s home page.

image

image

Not If, But When

Witnessing the way the IT industry has been progressing, I envision that private cloud will soon become, just like virtualization, a core IT competency and no longer a specialty. While private cloud is still a topic that is being actively debated and shaped, the upcoming release of VMM 2012 just in time presents a methodical approach for constructing private cloud based on a service-based deployment with fabric. It is a high-speed train and the next logical step for enterprise to accelerate private cloud adoption.

Closing Thoughts

I here forecast the future is mostly cloudy with scattered showers. In the long run, I see a clear cloudy day coming.

Be ambitious and opportunistic is what I will encourage everyone. When it comes to Microsoft private cloud, the essentials are Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 with Hyper-V and VMM 2012. And those who first master these skills will stand out, become the next private cloud subject matter experts, and lead the IT pro communities. While recognizing private cloud adoption is not a technology issue, but a culture shift and an opportunity of career progression, IT pros must make a first move.

In an upcoming series of articles tentatively titled “Deploying StockTrader as Service to Private Cloud with VMM 2012,” I will walk through the operations of the above steps and detail the process of deploying a service template to a private cloud

Virtualization vs. Private Cloud – What exactly is the difference? Part 1

Virtualization vs. private cloud has confused many IT pros. Are they the same? Or different? In what way and how? We have already virtualized most of my computing resources, is a private cloud still relevant to us? These are questions I have been frequently asked. Before getting the answers, in the first article of the two-part series listed below I want to set a baseline.

  • Part 1: Cloud Computing Goes Far Beyond Virtualization (This article)
  • Part 2: A Private Cloud Delivers IT as a Service

Lately, many IT shops have introduced virtualization into existing computing environment. Consolidating servers, mimicking production environment, virtualizing test networks, securing resources with honey pots, adding disaster recovery options, etc. are just a few applications of employing virtualization. Some also run highly virtualized IT with automation provided by system management solutions. I imagine many IT pros recognize the benefits of virtualization including better utilization of servers, associated savings by reducing the physical footprint, etc. Now we are moving into a cloud era, the question then becomes “Is virtualization the same with a private cloud?” or “We are already running a highly virtualized computing today, do we still need a private cloud? The answers to these questions should always start with “What business problems you are trying to address?” Then assess if a private cloud solution can fundamentally solve the problem, or perhaps virtualization is sufficient. This is of course assuming there is a clear understanding of what is virtualization and what is a private cloud. This point is that virtualization and cloud computing are not the same. They address IT challenges in different dimensions and operated in different scopes with different levels of impact on a business.

Virtualization

image_thumb6To make a long story short, virtualization in the context of IT is to “isolate” computing resources such that an object (i.e. an application, a task, a component) in a layer above can be possibly operated without a concern of those changes made in the layers below. A lengthy discussion of virtualization is beyond the scope of this article. Nonetheless,let me point out that the terms, virtualization, and “isolation” are chosen for specific reasons since there are technical discrepancies between “virtualization” and “emulation”, “isolation” and “redirection.” Virtualization isolates computing resources, hence offers an opportunity to relocate and consolidate isolated resources for better utilization and higher efficiency. Virtualization is rooted in infrastructure management, operations, and deployment flexibility. It’s about consolidating servers, moving workloads, streaming desktops, and so on; which without virtualization are not technically feasible or may simply be cost-prohibitive.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing on the other hand is a state, a concept, a set of capabilities. There are statements made on what to expect in general from cloud computing. A definition of cloud computing published in NIST SP-800-145 outlines the essential characteristics, how to deliver, and what kind of deployment models to be cloud-qualified. Chou further simplifies it and offers a plain and simple way to describe cloud computing with the 5-3-2 Principle as illustrated below.

image

 

Unequivocally Different

To realize the fundamental differences between virtualization and private cloud is therefore rather straightforward. In essence, virtualization is not based on the 5-3-2 Principle as opposed to cloud computing does. For instance, a self-serving model is not an essential component in virtualization, while it is essential in cloud computing. One can certainly argue some virtualization solution may include a self-serving component. The point is that self-service is not a necessary , nor sufficient condition for virtualization. While in cloud computing, self-service is a crucial concept to deliver anytime availability to user, which is what a service is all about. Furthermore, self-service is an effective mechanism to in the long run reduce training and support at all levels. It is a crucial vehicle to accelerate the ROI of a cloud computing solution and make it sustainable in the long run.

So what are specifically about highly virtualized computing environment vs. a private cloud?

SharePoint Samurai