Software-defined data centers (SDDC) are becoming a critical priority for IT leaders. In an exclusive survey of more than 3,000 IT decision makers by TechTarget for the 2016 IT Priorities Report, SDDCs were identified as one of the top 10 IT initiatives for 2016, rated as even more important than application modernization and software as a service (SaaS).
Why is interest growing in SDDCs, and why now? There are several reasons:
SDDCs are widely recognized as the defining architecture for the next-generation data center, enabling organizations to embrace an IT-as-a-service delivery model. According to Gartner, SDDCs are “crucial to the long-term evolution of an agile digital business.”1
The benefits of adopting SDDCs are too strong to ignore. Virtually all organizations are looking for their infrastructures to be more agile, cost efficient and “cloud like,” in the sense that they enable cloud functions such as resource pooling, self-service provisioning and elastic scalability. SDDCs allow IT to deliver all of these benefits to the business.
IT leaders realize they have to move toward adopting SDDCs and learn more about how it can help their organizations. They also know that there are technology solutions—such as converged and hyperconverged infrastructures—that can ease the path towards SDDC without requiring them to rip and replace existing infrastructure.
Given the strong interest in SDDCs, IT leaders are asking many questions such as: How do we get there from here? How do we evolve from our current data center infrastructure to an SDDC? What are the key technologies and solutions we can deploy now that will help us prepare for a software-defined future?
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Here are a few tips to help you prepare for SDDC adoption:
Recognize that SDDC transition is a journey that takes place over time. Don’t feel like you have to abandon everything you have in place all at once. At the same time however, you have to understand that the foundation of SDDCs is virtualization. Even if your compute infrastructure is already highly virtualized, you have to extend virtualization to networking and storage if you are to truly embrace an SDDC model.
Convergence provides a simple, quick and cost-efficient “building block” approach to deploying an SDDC. With a converged or hyperconverged infrastructure, the compute, networking and storage resources are abstracted and managed centrally through a unified management platform. This is essentially an SDDC model. You can use a converged or hyperconverged infrastructure to drive new applications or environments—such as desktop virtualization or DevOps—or use them to upgrade the infrastructure for existing workloads or applications when your storage or server solutions are due for a refresh.
Invest in the right technologies now, so you have the foundation in place for a successful evolution to an SDDC. This means working with partners that support open solutions and offer a broad product line and leadership across all the key areas of SDDC—servers, storage, networking and unified management. Leadership in x86 servers is particularly important because these products will serve as the hardware foundation for your SDDC. Also, in evaluating potential technology partners for your SDDC, make sure you choose a vendor that has a broad ecosystem of partnerships, specifically with the leading hypervisor providers VMware and Microsoft. Remember, virtualization is at the heart of SDDCs and expanding virtualization to networking and storage is an important stage in the journey.
1“Gartner Says the Future of the Data Center is Software-Defined,” Gartner, Inc., Sept. 24, 2015.
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