At the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta this month, the software-defined data center (SDDC) and enterprise cloud were the stars of the show. Along with OpenStack, of course – the free and open-source software cloud computing platform that enables both the software-defined data center and the enterprise cloud. (Want an up-close-and-personal look inside the conference? Watch this installment of IO.TV.)
In this first issue of The Buzz, we take a look at what people have been saying (or writing) about the software-defined data center and enterprise cloud – in particular, how enterprises are leveraging them.
The software-defined data center
Gartner’s David Cappuccio explains well the difference between something that is truly software-defined and something that is merely software controlled: “If software is being used to manage or automate a component or process let’s call it software controlled x, because it’s not defining anything, but is controlling a specific action. However, if the layer of abstraction goes up a notch, and I need to manage/control many diverse components within an ecosystem, then the Software Defined terminology begins to make sense.”
The software-defined data center, Cappuccio explains, is a level of abstraction up a layer from software-defined networking and software-defined storage: “In theory an SDDC is a layer of abstraction above multiple other SDx layers (network, virtualization, storage, etc), whereby the Data Centers, wherever they are located, are controlled/automated from a single control plane, using a common set of API’s.”
Enterprise Cloud – just ether without the SDDC
As IO’s Jeff Hughes wrote in CEO Need-to-Know: Enterprise Cloud needs the SDDC, “The promise of the enterprise cloud – business agility – depends on the agility, sustainability, reliability, and security of the software-defined data center at the foundation of the cloud. Without agility in the data center, the promise of fast provisioning and de-provisioning of IT assets cannot be realized. Without sustainability, cloud service providers will never be able to accommodate burgeoning demand. Without reliability and security, enterprises won’t risk a full move to the cloud.”
Software-defined data center & enterprise cloud – what enterprises are doing
In a March 2014 article in Computerworld, Bank of America’s global infrastructure executive David Reilly explained why the financial services giant sees software-defined data centers as “irresistible.” Reilly is quoted as saying, “The software-defined data center is going to dramatically change how we provide services to our organizations. It provides an opportunity for, in effect, the hardware to disappear…We think it’s irresistible, this trend.
Ultimately, the software-defined data center is about enabling IT to meet the needs of the business. Said Reilly, “Building a software-defined data center that treats networks, storage and servers as computing resource pools will allow the bank to quickly change its computing environment to meet business needs, whether it’s in response to growth, shrinkage, new markets or regulatory changes.”
The Computerworld article ends, “‘SDDC will do for data centers what robots have done for a lot of manufacturing processes,’ said Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT. The software defined data center ‘could portend changes in the enterprise and IT industry that are tectonic.’”
The bottom line
At the end of the day, the technology behind the software-defined data center and enterprise cloud is super cool. But the benefits of the SDDC and enterprise cloud aren’t about the technology – they’re about the business transformation the technologies enable. When the enterprise leverages enterprise cloud founded on the software-defined data center, it has the opportunity to streamline operations, improve availability, manage risk, and reduce cost.
Learn more about the benefits of enterprise cloud and the software-defined data center here.