What Makes Up The Software Defined Data Center?

  David Fafel     Jun 07, 2016

software-defined-data-center-concept.jpg“Software Defined Data Center is where…all the complexity in configuring and changing all the individual elements is abstracted to a single control level where you can make those changes with the single press of a button.”

- Chris Coggrave, HP chief technologist and strategist for data center consulting

The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) represents a giant leap forward in technology, as impactful as when isolated networks originally congregated to form the internet. The creation of data centers from a combination of hardware and intelligent software in multiple locations allows organizations to connect, collaborate and configure their IT resources in ways they never have before. What exactly is SDDC? First let’s take a look at the solutions that make up the SDDC.

IT pros should embrace the five components that make up the Software Defined Enterprise. These are Software Defined Computing (SDC), Software Defined Networking (SDN), Software Defined Storage (SDS), Automation Orchestration and Management. These solutions help IT managers break free from the exhausting and endless cycle of upgrades and new hardware additions that legacy systems require. Here’s a look into each component.

Software Defined Computing: The beginning of the SDDC revolution, Software Defined Computing (SDC) started with the promise of lower costs in the IT environment. It was here that we learned the true potential of virtualization to offer ease and flexibility, the benefits of going green and reducing the carbon footprint of technology. Virtualizing the computer environment led to the beginning of cloud computing, which became the perfect place to house virtual machines. This was when the industry learned that the traditional hardware defined data center was highly limited and restricted many day-to-day processes.

Software Defined Networking: In order to host applications, computer virtualization provides the environment to do so. Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a new IT paradigm that separates the control plane from the data plane of devices. Instead of configuring hardware, IT pros configure software that serves to orchestrate the system. This solves many of the problems legacy systems face which require separate interface sessions to configure and require a human to manage the system as a whole. Now, we can do so with a single data switch. In addition, the IT department can use SDN to overcome network usage bottlenecks and control network utilization as varying needs fluctuate among users in the business.

Software Defined Storage: One of the existing IT problems is that the high cost of the traditional storage array prohibits the low cost virtual plane. What businesses then need is a storage model which employs inexpensive storage that is redundant, not due to its intricate hardware, but because of its adaptability and automation that can only be achieved through software. This is what Software Defined Storage(SDS) is all about. It makes virtualized volumes that span across multiple storage hosts throughout the enterprise. Unlike the traditional storage array, it’s not the stoutness of the hardware that protects the data, but the fluid adaptability of its design.

Automation Orchestration: Automation within the network means having the ability to react to real time conditions within the network itself. It’s about readiness and agility in the IT environment.

Management: Amazing things can happen when you combine a software defined enterprise with an automated orchestrator. Like SDS that offers simplicity over the external array, management is greatly simplified in the software defined network. The knowledge base of the IT staff is no longer a limiting factor as management is done through a single window that doesn’t require much specialized training.

Benefits of SDDC

Applications are transforming and no longer resemble the legacy systems of the past. They are not only mobile by nature, but they support the increased workloads current organizations demand. In addition, since big data can be so useful for enterprises, implementing SDDC can help streamline the data collection process and offer flexibility in monitoring and measuring results.

The benefits of implementing the Software Defined Data Center are accuracy, adaptability, agility, alignment and assurance (among many others) and we refer to these as the 5 A’s. Most organizations have experienced these on some type of scale working within virtualized computer environments, but few if any have experienced these benefits across all facets and endpoints of the enterprise. Learn more about the benefits of SDDC here.

The Cloud vs. SDDC

Since SDDC is a newer concept to many organizations, many confuse the Software Defined Data Center with the cloud. Are they the same? According to InfoWorld, “Not really…think of the cloud as a marketing term for application, platform or infrastructure services that internal or external customers procure on demand through web forms. The Software Defined Data Center is the mechanism through which those cloud services can be delivered most efficiently.”

Learn more about the software defined data center and how to manage it in our white paper, Managing the Software Defined Enterprise.

Tags  software defined data center SDDC IT Transformation

David Fafel

Written by David Fafel

David Fafel, Chief Architect, leads WEI’s long-term technology vision, and is responsible for spearheading development of complex solutions, architecture, as well as application development. David engages with our clients to drive technology design across datacenter environments, cloud architecture and IT strategy. David holds several technical certifications from HP, Cisco, IBM and other leading technology innovators.

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