15 Mar Software Defined Data Center: An emerging technology snapshot by InfoTech Consulting Services
What is it?
The traditional Cloud used server virtualization to enable quickly deployable, measurable, self-provisioned, resource pooled computing to users via broad network access. In practical terms we can think of this as the “classic virtualization” era. An era defined by hypervisors running on commodity x86 hardware resulting in great capex/ opex benefits via consolidation of servers.
Software Defined Data Center essentially takes these characteristics and the benefits they entail to the Enterprise IT department, and extends them to networking and its layer based security and storage.
Central management and efficient allocation across the Data Center are key characteristics of the SDDC.
Why is this trend happening?
“Digital transformation” is rocking the modern enterprise. Social, mobile and ubiquitous computing are converging to change the demands business users put on the CIO. Hyperconnected consumers need to be analyzed in real time with analytics that quickly give actionable insights. The digital era needs a cost effective computing infrastructure that is agile, flexible, manageable and secure. An SDDC is that infrastructure.
What are the benefits?
The Capex benefits continue via consolidation of storage and networking infrastructure. As this is managed far more efficiently the cost savings over traditional buying paradigms versus the now reduced virtualized buying needs, continue to be significant. Opex benefits from much faster provisioning and centralized management as well as less electricity consumption are similarly impressive.
The ability to “switchover” between virtual components of the infrastructure in case of failure means greater uptime. The ability to immediately scale and provision resources allows for faster fulfillment of demands from business users.
For a CIO however the benefits are more multivariate. Research shows that organizations on the journey to SDDC have more satisfied business users because of the quickness of response. Significant savings in IT team’s time because of centralized management and quick provisioning allow for a greater focus on value added activities. Upto 50% of the CIO’s budget gets shifted to innovation. And the SDDC focused CEO is able to get 2/3 more budget then his peers in non-virtualized environments. Most powerfully increasing revenues because of the new services and applications that an SDDC can manage allow the CIO the same recognition and importance as other CXO’s from marketing finance etc.
What are the challenges?
Real time provisioning brings its own set of complexity. Policies for deploying virtual machines and permissions require sophisticated information management capability that needs to be invested in.
Bolt on security which is existing physical infrastructure security solutions do not work. Security infrastructure needs to be virtual aware and integrated.
The amount of time and effort to create an SDDC often spiral out of control if enterprise grade virtualization solutions are not used. While these offer good value in emerging markets based on ROI they are not aggressively priced which may detour investment to open platforms or challenger ecosystems.