Software-Defined Data Center – Hype or Innovative?

March 3, 2015
Editorial Staff

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Editorial Staff

Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC), the latest buzz term in IT architecture, is the future vision for automating a data center’s application programming interface (API).

According to Channel Resource News, “Software-defined suggests that certain parts of a data center, such as networking or storage, can be made more agile by moving their functionality to software and adding automation. Or it suggests that partial functionality of a networking or storage infrastructure can be defined by software, while the rest is managed on traditional proprietary hardware.”

SDDC Defined

As alluded to above, the software-defined data center is comprised of a data center’s networking, security, and storage, with the business logic layer tying it all together. A brief, high-level definition of each provided below:

  1. Compute Virtualization – Isolated servers that increase efficiency by leveraging CPU and memory resources on-demand.
  2. Network Virtualization – The provisioning of applications by decoupling the network from its underlying hardware to ensure faster provisioning of required resources.
  3. Storage Virtualization – The alignment of storage and virtualization by leveraging the hypervisor to optimize application demands.
  4. Business Logic Layer – Necessary for translating application requirements, SLAs, policies, and cost considerations into provisioning and management instructions for automation.

SDDC goes even further to automate these interconnecting operations to simplify management. Many companies have undergone significant headway in virtualizing either their servers or storage, with the final component, networking, lagging behind altogether. The overall SDDC vision is to consolidate these areas into a single solution where the entire data center is virtualized and automated. The final result – an architectural foundation for the hybrid cloud model to create IT as a Service.

The Industry Opinion on SDDC

Critics of SDDC believe that the “software-defined” portion of SDDC is merely a prefix to reignite interest around existing data center technology. For example, storage, network, and security already exist as separate components to the overall data center virtualization functionality. By adding “software-defined” in front of any of these technologies, solution providers are simply rebranding the same product, or so the story goes.

However, SDDC aims to consolidate these disparate solutions under a single umbrella, ultimately creating software-defined everything. Coined by VMware, even skeptics of the software-defined moniker are beginning to realize the potential, as illustrated by market research firm IDC, which estimates the software-defined networking market will be worth $3.7 billion by 2016, a sizable increase from $360 million in 2013.

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