IT departments are waiting for the software-defined data center — which uses the virtualization of server/computing, storage and networking resources to create a unified pool of available assets — to reach its true potential. A significant part of the wait is for the industry to adopt mature industry standards and for vendors to develop hardware that meets these standards. Nonetheless, the potential benefits of the SDDC are both numerous and profound. They include the following:
The SDDC allows IT shops to quickly and effectively provision computing, storage and network resources from a central interface, eliminating the need to work with siloed storage and network device interfaces and hardware. Ultimately, the intelligent abstraction of hardware in the SDDC enables provisioning of resources through policy-based automation, while ensuring that performance, security and compliance requirements are met.
Network management remains a pain point in the data center, producing long response times when additional resources are needed. In an SDDC, all network hardware in the data center is responsive to a central authority, which automates network provisioning based on defined policies and rules. Pooled network resources can be automatically applied to relieve bottlenecks and ensure application responsiveness.
The SDDC enables centralized monitoring and management of all data center resources, enabling IT administrators to allocate pooled resources from a single point of control. Admins no longer need to work with multiple, vendor-specific configuration interfaces.
Policy-based management ensures compliance with security policies and mandates, and eliminates errors common to repetitive, manual processes. Unified monitoring of data center resources provides a global perspective on data resources and eliminates the piecemeal monitoring of resources across operative silos and vendor products.
Server virtualization has already yielded more efficient data centers, as ranks of underutilized, dedicated servers are folded into pools that can be freely allocated to meet demand. The strategy of running fewer systems at higher utilization has helped reduce power and cooling costs at many data centers, and the SDDC promises to extend this benefit to storage and network hardware.
Broad support for the OpenStack infrastructure-as-a-service standard is providing an attractive target for both vendors and organizations seeking to enable dynamic and scalable management of workloads in the data center and across the cloud. According to the 2014 Enterprise Management Associates survey, about half of respondents plan to deploy OpenStack by the end of 2014.
Want to learn more? Check out CDW’s white paper, “Defining Moment: The Software-Defined Data Center.”