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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About SDDC But…

QuestionIn the 1972 film Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask), Woody Allen offered his take on seven questions that included sheep, Woolite, and some of Gene Wilder’s best-ever work. There is no sex (or humor) involved in the just-completed four-part series on the software-defined data center by Torsten Volk, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates, but for the IT industry, this just might be the next best thing.

One of the more recent additions to the software-defined anything list, SDDC originated last year, courtesy of VMware’s CTO, Dr. Steve Herrod. “The software-defined datacenter delivers cost and agility benefits to the whole datacenter in the same way that server virtualization does for compute. […] It’s efficient, it’s flexible, and we are committed to keeping it open.”

The top data center vendors such as VMware, HP, BMC, and IBM have already made a drastic move into the SDDC market. Also, some cloud computing vendors have made this market very dynamic and open for competition.

According to Volk’s first analysis of SDDC — or Software-Defined Datacenter (SDD) — the ultimate goal is to centrally control all aspects of the data center — compute, networking, storage — through hardware-independent management and virtualization software. In what is bad news for most hardware vendors, this software will also provide the advanced features that currently constitute the main differentiators for most of them.

Volk noted that the following Herrod quote succinctly sums up the bad news that VMware is delivering to many of these vendors: “If you’re a company building very specialized hardware … you’re probably not going to love this message.”

The second installment of Volk’s SDDC four-part primer, he examined the the three core challenges and controversies: Blades vs. Pizza Boxes; Intelligent Networking Hardware vs. Commodity Switches and Routers; and Open Architecture vs. vendor-specific Stacks.

The fourth and just-released segment looks at what organizations can do today to prepare for the Software Defined Datacenter. Volk also analyzes what’s missing in the individual components required for the SDDC.

  • Server Virtualization: What’s currently missing is an engine that dynamically places workloads in the hypervisor environments where they can run in the most efficient manner.
  • Network Virtualization: What’s currently missing is that we are only at the very beginning of customer adoption of software defined networking and network virtualization.
  • Storage Virtualization: What’s currently missing is that the interface between storage engineers and virtualization administrators is still a significant challenge, as very few customers are even aware of the capabilities of hardware independent storage virtualization and automation.
  • Central Governance: What’s currently missing is that significant maturation is required of the market place for central governance solutions.
  • Dynamic Workload Placement: What’s currently missing is that similar to the “central governance” challenge, the dynamic workload placement problem is mostly unsolved.
  • Automation and Orchestration: What’s currently missing is that almost half of enterprises believe that technology silos and a lack of automation constitute a significant problem, preventing many of their IT projects from achieving their maximum ROI.

The bottom line, said Volk, is that the journey to the SDDC is a long and complex one. It is essential to understand that we are still at the beginning of our voyage.

Image credit: Tsahi Levent-Levi (flickr)

About the author
Steve Wexler

Steve is a proficient IT journalist, editor, publisher, and marketing communications professional. For the past two-plus decades, he has worked for the world’s leading high-technology publishers. Currently a contributor to Network Computing, Steve has served as editor and reporter for the Canadian affiliates of IDG and CMP, as well as Ziff Davis and UBM in the U.S. His strong knowledge of computers and networking technology complement his understanding of what’s important to the builders, sellers and buyers of IT products and services.