A field guide to the software-defined data center

1Executive Summary

The changing focus from hardware-based infrastructure products to software-based solutions is spawning a new ideology in the data center. Backed by virtualization technologies, hardware abstraction, and the quest for instant scalability, IT leaders are looking to build data centers that are abstracted from legacy hardware.

Early users are finding that software-defined data center (SDDC) technologies are introducing flexibility into their enterprise while reducing operational and management costs and also fueling the drive toward the cloud. SDDC can bring benefits to the modern data center, including reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) and the ability to repurpose or rescale in a matter of moments. Other benefits include reduced operational and management costs, as well as the ability to more quickly adapt to new technologies, speed integration projects, and launch new services.

Simply put, SDDC may become one of the most disruptive technologies to impact enterprise data centers, and it has the potential to rapidly change the market landscape as well as change the way data centers are funded, designed, provisioned, and managed. That disruption is driven by many factors, ranging from economic concerns to efficiency initiatives and furthered by data center operators seeking to leverage economies of scale while creating more-secure and adaptable environments, which are more manageable and less complex.

The potential impact of SDDC products should not be underestimated. These technologies offer an integrated architecture, which allows the consolidation of legacy hardware, cloud computing, and workload-driven architectures into a single manageable domain. Nevertheless, SDDC still has a long way to go before it is fully viable as a wholesale replacement for legacy data centers.

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Frank Ohlhorst

Analyst Ohlhorst.net

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