Traditional Data Center infrastructure is increasingly getting stressed as new age applications demand greater scalability and elasticity. A Data Center today is not just about servers, compute, cooling et al, its more about responding to the enterprise IT Organization’s demands. So how does one innovate to the new Digital IT requirements? Probably the panacea lies in the Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC). According to industry experts, as businesses become increasingly reliant on IT to deliver products and services and to interact with their stakeholders, a simple, reliable, responsive and agile IT architecture becomes essential to an enterprise. Such architecture allows enterprises to increase productivity and efficiency, differentiate competitively and enhance customer experience. Consolidation, Virtualization, Automation and Self-Service are milestones in the quest to eliminate complexity, downtime, bottlenecks and rigidity. Increasingly, the vision of a Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) appears to be the next stop on this journey.
In an SDDC, application environments are decoupled from computer hardware, data containers abstracted from storage hardware and network services separated from network interfaces. This promises to transform the management and operations of datacenter components – compute, storage and networking pools are assembled from out of different brands of products, and applications, data and network traffic are sent dynamically through sections of these pools based on a set of management policies and the quality of service demanded by the workload.
Quality of service and data protection enhancements help IT to automate application provisioning based on service level and to realize operational benefits from pre-set policy-based security and delegation. These features and capabilities enable IT teams to scale infrastructure to fit business needs, decrease the cost to run applications, and achieve higher levels of operational efficiency.
Add to this, the mobile-cloud era brings with it an exponential increase in business expectations, and IT is at pains to respond. Its rigid, antiquated infrastructure devours budgets and resources at an alarming rate, but lacks the ability to deliver applications and services at speed and scale. Industry experts believe that the software-defined architecture enables IT to deliver true Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service to lines of business and development organizations with the requisite performance, availability, and security – all automated by software. With increased IT agility and efficiency, IT is poised to meet the present and future demands of the business. It is the logical model for creating and delivering IT resources quickly, efficiently, cost-effectively, and securely. And in a hypercompetitive, technology fuelled economy; SDDC will soon become the standard for successful businesses.
Clearly a right SDDC foundation can increase the value of virtualized data center or private or hybrid cloud. In fact, it can help IT deliver on the promises IT makes to the business: agility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, on-demand resource utilization, and process optimization. By ensuring consistent quality and predictable provisioning times, an SDDC will allow IT to support service level agreements for line of business colleagues. Finally, an SDDC provides a building block to a service-oriented IT model.
Experts say that these are the major forces driving the market for software-defined technologies.
Why SDDC makes Sense?
Agile programming of everything from applications to basic infrastructure is essential to enable organizations to deliver the flexibility required to make the digital business work. Reflecting on this a Gartner report said, “ Software-defined networking, storage, data centers and security are maturing. Cloud services are software-configurable through API calls, and applications, too, increasingly have rich APIs to access their function and content programmatically. To deal with the rapidly changing demands of digital business and scale systems up — or down — rapidly, computing has to move away from static to dynamic models. Rules, models and code that can dynamically assemble and configure all of the elements needed from the network through the application are needed.”
Clearly Infrastructure is the key. Unlike software the hardware infrastructure till now has remained static and with scaling in and scaling out being one benchmark of good IT infrastructure. But often times enterprises find it difficult to ride on rigid hardware infrastructure. And no wonder the CAPEX on managing IT infrastructure only grows year on year and according to estimates almost 70% of the average enterprise spend goes into operations and maintenance. Add to that the phenomenal growth of unstructured data only complicates the issue. This overstressed- underperforming traditional infrastructure has prompted many IT decision makers to ponder about the key question: How to simplify their IT infrastructures for greater agility and easier manageability and greater visibility?
How do we do this? The much-needed elasticity on to hardware devices can be done when the very infrastructure becomes programmable. For instance according to industry experts a typical programmable infrastructure provides an API to the installed software stack (hypervisor, OS, application) for identification, monitoring, configuration, and control. A note in Cisco website says that the API allows the system to be integrated into higher-level, data- center-wide management systems as a single, logical entity. Server, network, and I/O resources are given a personality, provisioned, and configured on demand by applying a service profile to them. This technology supports the system’s unified, model-based management.
The transformation of the datacenter is inevitable as we move forward.