What is that… the Cloud?

Once again I was asked if the Cloud is just some other people’s computer. It’s funny but I actually like that statement. I have a T-shirt with that printed on it. I like it because it’s so stupid – and still there is a small grain of truth in that.

The problem with that thinking is the computer. Cloud is not renting a computer, not at all. Sure, there are computing power on the cloud. But we have had shared computers from since some 1960. And we have had hosting services from some 90’s. You remember that times? ISP’s did rent a piece of computers (shared web server in one example) or you could have dedicated computer. THAT was just other people’s computer! But it was no cloud.

The very first cloud?

Term ‘the cloud’ was invented – or at least first time used in public – by mr. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. Media and press got exited about that term and it got viral. Let’s honor him with the picture:

The guy behing “the Cloud” term

But how about the cloud then? Amazon AWS (book shop’s web page hosting service) started “cloud computing business” 2006.

But something very close to the cloud there have been a long, long time ago. Shared computing capacity, services and wonders never seen and almost unlimited data. All from the DC – not possible to run anything just from your on-prem.

One real visionary person said once that there is a world market for five clouds. Years and years he was misunderstood and even mocked. Because of non-visionary people could not see the same future like mr. Watson.

We could say that the emerging market of shared IT services has been evolving from 1960 to current state. Market has grown a lot and technology has evolved very fast. Specially the automation level has increased so incredible much that it’s still hard to believe.

First industrially manufactured computing systems came 1960. Virtualization was a key to real giant leap for automation of the IT environments. Company named as VMware founded that 2001. And then on top of that virtualization came distributed computing and automation. The era of the cloud has finally begun. Following picture gives you good idea how this has happened:

Virtualization made possible the fast accelerating degree of automation. One administrator can manage over 100 x servers when moving from 1995 to 2015. What a giant leap of making IT work more efficient! Of course the amount of data and needed processing power has also multiplied to the following potencies.

Let’s focus a bit to the virtualization technology. It made possible to automate tedious & routine work. It also saved the space and reduced cooling and power consumption.

I think the most important advantage is less complex installation (cloning) and significantly fewer downtime (High Availability, snapshots etc.). And thanks to software robotics and automation we can do complex tasks in a click.

Virtualization, very quick intro

Virtualization separates BIOS, operating system, and applications from physical hardware. It allows many virtual machines to share same physical hardware saving costs, space and energy. Virtualization standardizes multiple generations of multi-vendor hardware – no need to re-install linux or change drivers for Windows every time you replace the hardware under the OS.

So the cloud is a much more than just some other owned computer

Like we have learned, it has been a long way from 1960 shared computer system to current cloud environments.

Do remember that there are many different services on the clouds. Virtualization was the very first step. It moved servers to a virtual machines, using shared virtualization layers aka hardware (CPU + memory + network + storage). And evolution did run faster and faster. Virtual machines turned to Infrastructure build totally by the code, IaaS (infra as a code). Computing power, memory, storage, network and software solutions merged into one entity. PaaS and SaaS walked out.

Classic Pizza as a Service is excellent allegory of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

You see the idea when comparing that to the cloud services schema:


Microsoft Ignite 2021 – the first day

Microsoft Ignite is here again. Did I write ‘here’? That was not the best way to formulate. ‘It’s now streaming’ is much better. Ignite – like many other gigaevents – is transferred to virtual format. For a geek like me this is just fine. No need to fly and travel. Just sitting down to my sofa and enjoying the content!

Anycase, Microsoft has a long tradition for launching new products, services and updates on Ignite. That’s the one key reason for all working with MS ecosystem to participant Ignite. And this practice seems to continue even during the times of virtual Ignite. The announcements and news of the first day were breathtaking. It almost felt like my brain was swollen. Or maybe it was because of I was listening Ignite sessions to very late night (I am located EET time zone) and after 4 h of sleep I feel a little fuzzy. One way or another, it was worth of it. Yesterday’s jetlag is today’s “streaming-lag”. 🙂

Ok, enough chit-chat. Let’s move to the topic. New launches and announcements. Here comes some of those that enchanted me:

Extended network for Azure – directly to GA. This awesome service gives you possibility to stretch an on-premises subnet into Azure! Think about! When migrating to Azure on-premises virtual machines can keep their original on-premises private IP addresses.

SMB over QUIC – now GA. As short described “the SMB VPN”. That’s something really awesome for telecommuters like me and mobile device use case. Anywhere when high security for stretched filesystem is needed without traditional VPN tunneling.

Custom configuration for Windows Server and Linux VM’s and support for Azure Arc-enabled server VM’s – now in preview.

New virtual machine types (yeah, again – noe Dv5 and Dasv5 with AMD CPU’s. Ev5 and Easv5 with AMD CPU’s) – interesting! Microsoft+Intel has been so long kind of standard set.

On-demand disk bursting – now GA. Excellent functionality to improve startup times and take care of traffic spikes cost efficient way.

Couple of new networking tools are launched for preview. Azure GW Load Balancer and Azure Virtual Network Manager, both long waited and wanted functionalities. Been using own hack for VNet management? Mee too. Finally this is over.

Trusted Launch of VM’s – now GA. Like you see, Microsoft is focusing strong on security. This is improving security of gen 2 VM’s. And no additional price!

And Azure Bastion has finally moved to GA.

AVS aka Azure VMware Solution had a lot of visibility in Ignite. That’s good because the solution is great – but unfortunately came to market quite hopelessly late (and I don’t even mention the miscarriage when Google grabbed the subcontractor).

AKS aka Azure Kubernetes Service gained impressive new functions and many sessions.

Interesting was strong co-operation with wider coverage of “bare metal almost cloud” kind of vendor partners. VMware, Cray and NetApp had stayed strong options for “cloud like” hosting. SAP and Oracle have moved forward, deeper offering on Azure together with Microsoft. And then there are new players: Teradata and SAS. After seen multiple very painfull migration projects from Teradata to Azure I really understand the need for that. Still, it’s a strange marriage.


Welcome and thanks for all the fish

I am very happy you did visit my blog. This is made for you, I mean. You know, what would be the reason to spent time writing articles just for me. I love to read and I do read a lot. But my own text? No thanks. It’s quite boring (I do already know what I was planning to write).

And because this has been made for you, I would love to add on material and information that give you something. If you are wondering something Azure / Microsoft / Security / Whatever related, please let me know. Maybe I can consult you. Or share some experiences. Or at least point you to right direction.

Yeah, some background information. Who am I?

  • My name is Sami Isoaho (at your service!).
  • A geek living in Finland. Working on cybersecurity field. My employer is Loihde Trust. A tittle is ‘Principal Cloud Architect’ – or sometimes ‘Principal Microsoft Security Architect’. Whatever. On the business card (think about that! I really got some when boarded) it’s just ‘The Cloud Guy’ – and that I do love.
  • Previously I was working for Microsoft as CSA (Cloud Solutions Architect), or should I mention that I was “Senior” CSA. Wow. And prior Microsoft I did work for VMware as Global Solution Consultant.

Why not to connect ‘bro (or ‘sis, even with more pleasure)?

You can find me from LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/isoaho) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/sami.isoaho). From Instagram you can find me looking for @sisoaho – or just clicking https://www.instagram.com/sisoaho/.

And you are welcome to sent me an email too! It’s just my firstname at my domain (I think you can guess that ;).