The concept of “software-defined” is not new, in fact we’ve been replacing hardware with software for a long time. Think about the alarm clock you used in the 90’s. If you wanted to set your alarm clock for 30 minutes earlier than usual you had to rotate through 23 and a half hours to set your new time. But that was normal. Fast-forward to now and your alarm can be turned on, off, or adjusted with a click of a button – right on your mobile device – replacing hardware with a software enabled device.
As an IT leader, you are familiar with the concept and can perhaps think of a few uses cases for how software driven technology can transform your data center. If a Software Defined Data Center is on your IT roadmap, you’re in good company. By 2020, Gartner predicts the programmatic capabilities of an SDDC will be considered a requirement for 75 percent of Global 2000 enterprises that seek to implement a DevOps approach and a hybrid cloud model. "I&O leaders can't just buy a ready-made SDDC from a vendor,” said Dave Russell, vice president and analyst at Gartner. “First, they need to understand why they need it for the business. Second, they need to deploy, orchestrate and integrate numerous parts, probably from different vendors."
We’re finding that many of the IT leaders we speak with want to get started on the journey to a SDDC, but need a strong business case to support the transition. Moving to a software defined data center model is not all about technology, it requires changes that affect people and processes, so the business case must be compelling.
Let’s take a look at a few key benefits an SDDC provides that serve as great conversation starters with the executive team.
1. Reduced Capital Expenditure
Virtualization was the first step in moving toward a Software Defined Data Center. Virtualizing several servers, for example, freed IT from maintaining a host of physical servers, greatly decreasing hardware footprint. However, virtualization does not go far enough, in that the networking and data storage components are still complex parts of the IT infrastructure. With ever-increasing volumes of data, data centers continue to build out their infrastructure in order to outpace the workload conditions, quickly eating up capital expenditure.
With SDDC, CapEx budgets stay relatively the same while the IT organization supports the growth and scale of the business. The pooling of resources (compute, storage, and network workloads) dramatically decreases service unit costs and allows capacity for peak workloads without any additional hardware resources.
Further, SDDC is not limited to on-premise, but can also easily utilize public and private cloud services to implement a hybrid cloud approach. This provides additional CapEx savings through the ability for the SDDC administrator to use machine learning, capacity planning, and manage security policies automatically and to the varying degrees necessary.
2. Lower Operational Costs
A Software Defined Data Center provides streamlined and automated data center operations that can reduce operational expenditure (OpEx) by as much as 56 percent. With traditional hardware data center infrastructure, capacity planning, compliance, and monitoring are all manual efforts. With SDDC, these efforts are automated, freeing up IT to focus on adding value that positively impacts the organization’s bottom line. The most significant cost savings include reduced deployment time and the ability to scale back when resources are no longer needed or required.
A Software Defined Data Center welcomes an opportunity for the IT department to become true technical advisors to the business. IT spends less time putting out fires and transforms into a proactive business unit, elevating IT capabilities to a new level.
3. Backup & Disaster Recovery
Backup and disaster recovery solutions represent a significant capital expenditure in traditional IT architecture, but that is dramatically reduced with SDDC. The hardware needs of both the local site and the recovery site are reduced or eliminated, lowering CapEx, while also lowering OpEx by having the SDDC manage application availability and data protection. The SDDC allows for flexibility in designing recovery and failover solutions because the SDDC calculates workload differences in the underlying hardware, making failover automatic.
Further, SDDC can be configured to failover to off-premise hybrid clouds to simplify disaster recovery with no additional CapEx or OpEx to support the backup site. This built-in flexibility takes nothing more than the IT administrator giving the go-ahead to switch over to the failover or backup system. One simple “go-live” order from the IT admin takes the place of an entire team handling the hardware, configuration, network, bandwidth and applications priorities of the failover system.
Backup and DR best practices require an off-site location beyond 100 miles from the original location. However with the SDDC you could remove your failover or backup site costs completely, as failover will be done on-premise within the SDDC, or in the cloud infrastructure, if you have a full backup and DR cloud strategy deployed.
Adding value back to the business
Not only does the SDDC significantly lower CapEx and OpEx, but it is a powerful transformer of IT as a whole. No longer is IT reactive and labeled as a cost-center. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all: individuals from each key IT function – server, network, storage, security, and disaster recovery – are freed up to strategize on the best way to solve business problems rather than get pulled into the weeds of hardware, software, and load-balancing headaches. Dive deeper into the advantages of moving to an SDDC by reading our white paper, Benefits of the Software Defined Data Center.
WEI has extensive experience in helping organizations deploy the software defined solutions that transform the data center. Our engineers have the product knowledge and implementation experience that will help position your organization for success. Download the paper today and contact us directly with any questions you have regarding SDDC.