Software-defined data centre. Any takers?

This topic was created by Federica Monsone .

Software-defined data centre. Any takers?

VMware and others are aggressively pushing the idea of the “software-defined data centre". Which organisations or use cases will be early adopters of software-defined data centres? Which organisations are likely to benefit most?

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The Future

Software-defined infrastructure is an architecture for builders of modern data centers who need scalable, flexible and automated infrastructure operations to support their dynamic application requirements.

Software-defined infrastructure (SDI) provides software interfaces to fully automate the provisioning and reconfiguration of scale-out commodity hardware.

SDI offers a degree of flexibility, security and simplicity not seen before in data centres.

Customers who will get the most benefit from software-defined data centers (SDDCs) are dev ops teams building next-generation infrastructure and architects of public and private clouds.

These customers have the programming expertise and the ability to consume APIs that is needed in order to realize the benefits of SDDCs.

Over time, ISVs and infrastructure vendors will develop applications on software-defined infrastructure platforms that will appeal to enterprise customers.

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Software Ecosystem for Infrastructure

The response from TheBlueprintIT is spot on. Software-defined infrastructure solutions today offer a programmatic interface for automation and platform on which to build applications. But we are just starting to see off-the-shelf applications built on these platforms.

Cloud builders and IT teams that have the know-how required to program their infrastructure and are already using automation extensively to simplify IT operations will be the first to realize the benefits of SDDCs. These are also the folks who are hurting the most from limitations of traditional infrastructure.

Over time, we will see more innovative applications on these platforms that go beyond what legacy infrastructure can do today. At that point, SDDCs will see breakthrough adoption.

(Disclaimer: I work for Coraid, a storage vendor that offers a software-defined storage solution)

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Re: Software Ecosystem for Infrastructure

I think any rise in SDDC will necessarily bring a restriction in the number of server, storage and network products supported to the subset of those available that "play nice" with VMware, Microsoft's Hyper-V and Red Hat Linux. The SDDC is a logical extension of the HW abstraction layer whose time "may" have come if top-level data centre IT component suppliers support it. But I feel these suppliers may well want to have their proprietary software layered on top of the data centre virtualisation software. It's what they've done with open abstraction layers in the past. Can they do his with VMware data centre virtualisation? We'll see.

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Re: Software Ecosystem for Infrastructure

Chris, software-defined infrastructure today relies on server virtualization to abstract hardware and separate the "control plane" from the "data plane". I agree that this implementation of SDDCs requires vendor-specific software intelligence running on a hypervisor platform. Even so, Xen or KVM may be a better choice in order to target DIY cloud builders who are starting to roll out software-defined infrastructure.

In the future, SDDCs may be able to bypass the need for hypervisors using, say, PXE booting to dynamically load software on bare-metal commodity hardware. This will further loosen restrictions.

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Re: Software Ecosystem for Infrastructure

Naah, that seems unlikely. Mainstream customers will surely buy (pursuing low risk options) from mainstream vendors and only the biggest and most competent will "roll their own" with non-mainstream components. Just my two cents worth.

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