Mar 26, 2014
Aidan Finn is a Microsoft Valuable Professional with extensive Hyper-V expertise. Aidan has been working in IT infrastructure since 1996, and is the Technical Sales Lead for MicroWarehouse Ltd., a Microsoft value added distributor in Ireland. He is a contributing editor for the Petri IT Knowledgebase and has written or co-written books such as Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation And Configuration Guide, Microsoft Private Cloud Computing, and Mastering Hyper-V Deployment.
Aidan blogs at http://www.aidanfinn.com and @joe_elway. He’s the lead author of Mastering Hyper-V Deployment (Sybex, 2010) and is one of the contributing authors of Microsoft Private Cloud Computing, Mastering Windows Server 2008 R2 (Sybex, 2009), Mastering Windows 7 Deployment (Sybex, 2011), and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation And Configuration Guide. Aidan has also written articles for various technical sites and is one of the writers on the Petri IT Knowledgebase.
You don’t quite hear Aidan’s Irish lilt in his blog, but his deep insight into the world of Microsoft sure stands out. If you want to know about Hyper-V from the standpoint of a guy in the trenches, Aidan is your man. And anybody who has the audacity to call an HP decision “boneheaded” and actually back it up, is probably worth reading.
“The advances in networking that have caught my attention lately are opening up new possibilities. It’s no secret that I’m a Hyper-V guy, working on Microsoft “Cloud OS” technologies. Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, combined with System Center, have changed how we envision the design and placement of services.
“Software-based converged fabrics made it possible to merge fewer & bigger network connections based on data center connections (iWARP, RoCE, or Infiniband). Windows Server makes it possible to share these connections with QoS for management, storage, cluster protocols, and more. We get increased throughput for peak demand and interesting new features such as faster Live Migration based on SMB Direct and SMB Multichannel. We don’t need expensive hardware appliances and we get greater densities within hosts and within individual racks.
“Software-defined networking (SDN) can change how large scale datacenters are deployed. I worked in the hosting business and the need for “hardware-defined” networking slowed down our responsiveness, as well as limiting automation and self-service. VLANs and IP addresses disappeared like water down a desert sinkhole. SDN solution such as Hyper-V Network Virtualization solve these problems and open up new Hybrid Cloud opportunities.
“That’s where I think the most interesting solutions and projects will be in the coming years: hybrid cloud. With SDN, customers can easily create networks in a public cloud via a self-service portal – try it in Windows Azure; it’s really easy! With site-site VPN and new MPLS integration services, the customer can extend their private networks into a public cloud, be it a Microsoft hosting partner or Microsoft’s own cloud. Now the customer can choose where to place each tier of each service, making the most of each cloud.
“Something that I’ve not worked with yet, but looks interesting to me is Microsoft’s Datacenter Abstraction Layer (DAL). I’ve deployed bare metal hosts and storage, but I don’t yet have the networking hear to complete the puzzle. The concept here is that you point System Center at a rack or a pod of new servers, disks, and top-of-rack (TOR) switches, and a template configures your new cloud capacity from scratch. Human effort is limited to plugging the gear in, and you refocus your time on quality management and new service engineering.
“I recently started working with Windows Azure. Like many IT pros, I previously viewed Azure with great suspicion; is Microsoft trying to put me out of a job?
“I don’t think so. They are spending a lot of time talking about Azure but the goal is to make it a part of the solution, not the solution, as a part of the hybrid cloud story. I’ve done some lab work in Azure and my conclusion is that Windows engineers will notice little difference; once you’ve deployed your VMs you still have to remote in, install software, tweak, configure, patch, backup and so on. All the same old work is still there. I think the only people who might genuinely feel threatened are those poor resellers who think they can continue to make a living from selling tin.”
Way back when Windows 7 was first announced, I got into a wee bit of trouble for criticising Microsoft’s bundling of the differentiating features of the new desktop OS into just the Enterprise edition. Why? That was because only those who licensed the Pro edition via Volume Licensing with Software Assurance would be entitled to the Enterprise edition. If you couldn’t buy all the cool features, then why would a business consider jumping from Windows XP to Windows 7? Sure, there were lots of good stuff in Windows 7 Pro, but all the cool business features were in the Enterprise edition…
Remember when HP announced that they were considering selling their PC division? They felt the market was weak and they should focus more on servers & storage. That killed PC sales for HP, ensure Lenovo was the number one choice in business, and fired yet another HP CEO. Eventually the non-decision was reversed but at what we can only guess was a huge cost….
You’d think that after all these years, considering how critical and pervasive IT has become, that employers would understand that…
“I spent quite a bit of time over the last few years writing tech books on Hyper-V, Windows, and System Center. But the question was “how do I like to unwind” and writing a book is no way to relax!
“My hobby is photography. I got into wildlife photography back in 2005 and I’ve been wandering about the world since, trying to capture images of nature. I spent many a year focusing on birds of prey. One could also argue that this isn’t relaxing when you consider that I’ve had to punch a brown bear in the nose, been charged by elephants, mountain goats, and deer, saved friends from an alligator, nearly stepped on a snake, and more than I care to remember! I’ve started expanding into landscapes and working with models over the last year and a half. That’s a bit more chilled out but there aren’t nearly as many good stories.”
Watch this space for more entries in this series on the shapers and engagers in the world of virtual network services.