Microsoft Azure IaaS Goverance, Provisioning and Desired State Configuration

I have a confession to make…for the last six months, I have been working as a SharePoint architect in an infrastructure group.

Yes, I had to hear about how bad developers are. Yes, I've had to hear the crazy ideas that developers have for deploying code. Yes, I've had to walk a mile in their shoes. Yes, I am a better developer for it.

But, I left the place better than when I arrived. The group has a service request framework that uses out of the box SharePoint functionality. They have a set of automation tools that make their job easier. They have a better understanding of what us developers are trying to do.

This global organization has embraced the cloud service model of IT. (Most services that the business units consume are from a private cloud, but from the BU perspective, that does not matter.) The resources that comprise these services are hosted in Azure IaaS (Virtual Machines). But instead of just using tried and true manual processes for provisioning virtual machines, we put in place an automated framework comprising of SharePoint, PowerShell, Azure and Office 365. The solution provides a flexible, reliable and scalable platform to meet the needs of the business.

I am really excited to be able to tell some of the story in a presentation at the SharePoint Evolutions Conference in London in April 2015. I have a talk that is in the Azure track, with the audience of both IT Pro and Developer. The talk is titled: Microsoft Azure Iaas Governance, Provisioning and Desired State Configuration.

The talk will introduce the high-level goals of the organization. Lots of Visio and PowerPoint, just like an IT Pro. (Yes, this old dog learned a new trick or two.) We will then move into the details around the governance model that leverages SharePoint. Like most large organizations, there are policies to consider, firewalls to configure and chargeback codes to acquire.

Next is the actual provisioning of Azure and Office 365 assets. Both platforms have a rich API. But APIs are not always easy to understand for an administrator who is focused on his servers. I have some examples that leverage compiled code, PowerShell and even javascript. Lastly, the resources require monitoring. Again, the talk will cover the automation available to ensure the environment works as it should. You will learn how to apply configuration declaratively, correct configuration drift and learn of system issues.

It promises to be an information-packed session. But this is just one of many such sessions at the information-packed conference. And, no one puts on a conference like the folks at Combined Knowledge.

I hope to see you there!

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