When envisioning your route to the private cloud, a reference model can help you visualize your complete environment. Note that a private cloud reference model does not identify specific technologies but instead shows the capabilities that your design must include.

There is currently no universally accepted reference model for private cloud and several organizations that work in this area have published their own model. Microsoft is no exception and has devoted significant investment into creating a private cloud reference model that Enterprise Architects can use to create their design. Figure 1 shows the Microsoft Private Cloud Reference Model security perspective.

Figure 1: Private Cloud Reference Model (operations layer not depicted - please see Private Cloud Reference Model for full reference model coverage)

You might initially think that this reference model is not particularly useful, as it is not giving you a prescriptive design for building a private cloud. However, this approach is intentional, as it does not bind you in to a particular technology and is much more adaptable for long-term planning.

Instead, you use the reference model at the conceptual level to identify what capabilities your final physical implementation must have. For example, in the Service Delivery layer, you need the capability of service provisioning. This capability is not a product or a technology; it is simply functionality that must be present in your final design.

From this model, you then might identify particular technologies that you plan to implement. Reasons for adopting a particular technology can include:

  • Price
  • Features
  • Compatibility
  • Performance
  • Company policy
  • Personal preference
  • Technical maturity
  • Customer requirements

Figure 2 shows what a technology view might look like with a private cloud implementation based on Microsoft technologies. Note that this diagram shows only Microsoft core technologies – partner offerings are available to address the additional capabilities.

Figure 2. Private Cloud Technology Model using Microsoft Technologies (operations layer not depicted - please see Private Cloud Reference Model for full reference model coverage)

From this technology view, you can then move on to the infrastructure and network views, which shows the hardware, software and network components that make up the private cloud design. For prescriptive guidance on these aspects of private cloud technology, see Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track, at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/private-cloud/hyperv-cloud-fast-track.aspx.

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