Why the Software-defined Data Centre is the Future: An Interview with IO’s George Slessman

The UK-based cloud technology news site The Stack recently sat down with IO CEO and Product Architect George Slessman to talk about why the future of the data centre must be software-defined. Here are the highlights from their conversation. Read the full interview here.

The Stack: “What does IO identify as failing in today’s data centre model and why do you feel a software-driven approach needs to be adopted as an appropriate solution in reaction to the cloud?”

George Slessman:

“The primary failing today is that the data centre itself is disconnected from the application layer, physically and logically. The data centre is statically provisioned: You have static redundancy levels, static amounts of space, static amounts of energy capability, and static levels of security. Conversely, everything inside the data centre is enormously dynamic – things are changing by the millisecond. Also, on a macro-level, the data centre is changing significantly in how it is architected and delivered.”

“[IO’s] approach to the data centre has been to build a physical data centre layer that is modular in its approach. Our modules can be componentised, delivered in separate pieces, at the right size to meet changing needs. Also it is configured and managed by stacking a software layer on top of the components so that you create a smart data centre – a data centre that has a path to connect to the application layer and react in a dynamic fashion. The application layer is changing, and the physical data centre can change the way it behaves to support that.”

“As we move to a true cloud architecture, and to a much more service provider-centric model for the data centre, in our view it’s not going to be a nice-to-have, it’s going to be a have-to-have to be able to coordinate and orchestrate the activities of a data centre in conjunction with the application layer.”


The Stack: “What are the main industry pressures driving the adoption of software defined solutions?”

George Slessman:

1. Cost. “Software defined data centres drive down cost, reduce energy consumption, and increase sustainability.”

2. Capability. “SDDCs put you in a position where you can support the next generation of IT kit and the next generation of application infrastructure.”

3. Security. “[The SDDC] creates a security posture that is much more capable of dealing with next generation security threats that we are already seeing emerge today.”


The Stack: “[IO has] recently been placed in the Magic Quadrant for DCIM tools by Gartner. They have forecast that by 2017 DCIM tools will be deployed in more than 60% of larger data centres in North America. What do you consider as the main advantage of deploying a DCIM platform?”

George Slessman:

“The data centre operating system is a must-have as environments become more automated and more aligned to the next generation of cloud infrastructure and cloud software. DCIM allows customers to make fast, informed performance decisions and guides them to areas of potential improvement when it comes to sustainable operations and efficiency.”


The Stack: “How do you see Big Data and analytics supporting future data centre optimisation?”

George Slessman:

“Our operating system produces an enormous amount of data on a daily basis. We have more than 80 billion rows of data driving improvement, and about 3 million operating hours across our total modular footprint. We extract that data and our Applied Intelligence team, which is based in San Francisco, California, uses big data analytics to improve data centre performance, predictability and capacity planning accuracy.”


The Stack: “How does a software defined approach affect data security? Does it generally increase or reduce common risks?”

George Slessman:

“Our feeling and our experience has been that the software-defined approach to the data centre itself really increases the visibility of threat across an organisation. It also closes an enormous security gap that’s in most organisations’ IT stack which they don’t even fully recognise – the vulnerability of building management systems in that stack.”



Want more on the software-defined data centre? Get more:

Read George’s full interview, IO CEO on why the future of the data centre must be software-defined.

Register for the upcoming webinar, Future-proof your Data Center by Leveraging the Application-defined Data Center, hosted by Gigaom. It’s November 18th at 10 a.m. PST.

If you’re in the neighborhood, join us November 19th and 20th at DatacenterDynamics Converged in London. IO will be leading a discussion about how to build an application-centric data center.

DISCLAIMER: This document is for reference purposes only. The information contained herein should not be relied on and neither IO Data Centers, LLC nor any of its affiliates makes any warranties or representations as to its accuracy.