Martin Walshaw, senior engineer at F5 Networks, talks about software-defined everything.
Shifting a lot of the management, and therefore the intelligence, to the software makes a lot of sense and it’s where the industry is heading. Software-defined networking is leading the charge right now, and it’s the data centre where all this will come together. And that means we’re heading towards a software-defined data centre (SDDC).
Essentially, the software-defined data centre is where all three main elements are virtualised: servers (probably the most common and well-established aspect), networking and storage. This means there is very little connecting the hardware and the software, resulting in a much more flexible and agile environment, where resource utilisation is much higher than in traditional data centres.
The benefits of a software-defined data centre include higher efficiency, lower costs, the ability to provision applications in minutes, massively improved scalability and instant delivery of workloads anywhere and at any time. What ties it all together is automation. Removing as much human intervention as possible speeds things up and is the best way to get the infrastructure to be as flexible, fast and efficient as today’s modern enterprise needs.
One of the key aspects to getting SDDC right is ensuring the L4-7 application delivery fabric is up to the job. That means making sure application are delivered reliably, quickly and securely.
SDDC is still very much in the early stages of adoption, and those businesses that have embraced it have so far been concentrated primarily in the telecoms space as well as the web scale companies such as Google and Facebook. It’s also the perfect infrastructure solution for public, private and hybrid cloud environments.
A Gartner report states that SDDC will change significantly over the next five years, while Forrester has called it an, “an evolving architectural and operational philosophy”.
That Gartner report goes on to suggest that implementation will be on a piece-by-piece basis, with components being added as and when need; that way will be cheaper than ripping and replacing everything needed for a full SDDC implementation.
Ultimately, what SDDC means for your business is a giant step towards IT-as-a-service. That means giving workers the products, apps, services and systems they need when they need them. With a traditional IT infrastructure that could be weeks or months, depending on the request.
A software-defined data centre reduces that time to minutes, hours or days.