Earlier this year at Microsoft Management Summit 2012, attendees were given USB flash drives loaded with copies of System Center 2012 products and the myriad dependencies needed for a chance at a successful deployment. Brad Anderson was quick to praise this technological breakthrough, despite his apparent unfamiliarity with the nuances of a System Center 2012 private cloud deployment, and went on to give this idyllic description of the process in the keynote:
Let me tell you about this. This right here, literally, is a private cloud on a stick or a private cloud in your pocket. On this, you have everything that is needed to get the Microsoft private cloud up and running. You’ve got SQL instances, you’ve got every aspect of System Center, all ready to go and ready to be deployed. Literally, what you can do is take, insert this in, answer a handful of questions, go have dinner, come back, the entire Microsoft private cloud will be set up and running for you. OK? Private cloud in the pocket.
Anyone that has attempted to set up the disparate collection of System Center 2012 products and explore the black art of configuration required to even approach the NIST definition of private cloud may be somewhat puzzled by such a laissez-faire perspective.
The truth is, solely getting these products installed is just the beginning. The Unified Installer is an interesting attempt to help new users get started with the vast collection of System Center products and prerequisites. The installer itself is actually quite cumbersome to use, but the crucial piece of information for customers to know is that it is only intended for lab environments:
So much for private cloud in your pocket.
Let’s wrap up with this assessment from an experienced systems engineer writing for Ars Technica who also found a discrepancy between the keynote marketing and reality:
The error from the thumb drive was, in a way, a perfect microcosm of the state of IT and cloud computing—we’re promised simplicity, but we get “some assembly required.” Cloud computing and the consumerization of IT are incredibly powerful concepts with enormous potential to make our lives easier, and to save money—but getting from potential to reality isn’t always quite as simple as we would like to admit.