Datacenter Work

Is 2014 The Year SDDC Breaks Out?

Datacenter WorkAccording to some, SDN is still not ready for prime time, although this year will start to see some serious pilots as the software-defined-everything movement continues to gather momentum. However, some are convinced that 2014 will be the year of the software-defined data center, and offer up compelling arguments of why SDDC is poised to take off now, instead of later.

According to Alan Conley, the former Cisco CTO now performing a similar function at Zenoss, 2014 will be the year of the SDDC, given the growth of virtualization, mobility, and cloud technologies in 2013. “Vital to the evolution of virtualization and cloud infrastructure, the SDDC will impact the industry and we will begin to see early adopters deploying its concepts.”

That sounds similar to the faint praise raining down on SDN. However, according to a recent blog from Lynda Stadtmueller (Program Director, Stratecast Cloud Services, Stratecast, Frost and Sullivan), SDDC is not only real, but it is changing the way businesses run. “In fact, SDDC may be a rare case where the hype understates its actual importance in shaping the IT organization of the future.”

She points to a number of existing and emerging trends that are driving SDDC adoption:

  • it builds on virtualization technology, which has been around for decades and server virtualization is utilized by more than half of all business and nearly all cloud providers;
  • in addition to servers, an increasing number and type of other infrastructure elements are increasingly being virtualized (that is, the intelligence is abstracted from the physical appliance), including networking components, such as routers, WAN optimization controllers, and application delivery appliances; virtualized security components, such as firewalls; and even virtual desktops;
  • it addresses the problem of virtualization’s instant scalability that comes with an embarrassingly long timeline and falls far short of the expected business agility.

“In an SDDC, not only are all infrastructure components (servers, storage, network) virtualized, but they are orchestrated through a powerful platform that ensures the components work together. In an SDDC, functions are automated end-to-end, so that deploying or scaling an application triggers appropriate workflows across all infrastructure components.”

Stadtmueller said SDDC is the logical model for creating and delivering IT resources quickly, efficiently, cost-effectively, and securely. “And in a hyper-competitive, technology fueled economy, SDDC will soon become the standard for successful businesses.”

From the latest numbers perspective, the global SDDC market is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 97.48% from 2014-2018, up from the 68.7% CAGR published just a few months ago. Back in August, Research and Markets expected the total SDDC market to grow from $396.1 million in 2013 to $5.41 billion by 2018, an estimated CAGR of 68.7% from 2013 to 2018. The market includes software-defined networks (SDN) and security, software-defined storage, and software-defined server and compute.

Telecommunications service providers are the largest users of SDDC solutions, followed by cloud services providers. North America is expected to be the biggest market, with Asia-Pacific having the fastest growth over the next few years.

That’s fine for the really big players, but what about the rest of the world? In what may come as a surprise to many, Microsoft not only has the software-defined data center already, they’ve been running it at scale for a decade, and now they have packaged it up for everyone else with their cloud OS. In addition to a massive and loyal reseller network plus a lot of footprint in millions of customer sites, in mid-December they announced they have signed up 25 cloud service providers in more than 80 countries with 100s of data centers serving millions of customers.

And if Microsoft isn’t enough to convince you of just how popular SDDC is poised to become, how about the other half of the dynamic Wintel duo? Although it prefers to call it software-defined infrastructure (SDI), instead of SDDC. or software-led infrastructure (SLD), by whatever name, Intel’s Chris Peters agrees with pundits like Gartner that software-defined anything (SDx) is one of the major disruptive technologies to watch.

The chip giant said the IT imperative for SDI comes from the business, for more flexible architectures to support cloud computing, enterprise mobility, big data, and social computing. While traditional IT provisioning and resource management tools can’t cope efficiently with the heavier performance demands, SDI has the potential to overcome these challenges by delivering a new way to systematically automate relevant IT processes. “I believe SDI will be a positively disruptive force because in order to achieve these benefits, a company’s enterprise infrastructure will need to be re-evaluated from architecture to engineering to operations.”

The bottom line is that while there are major concerns about the complexity of implementing and managing software-defined anythings, the benefits appear to far outweigh the concerns.

Image credit: Leonardo Rizzi (flickr) – CC-BY-SA