The benefits and challenges of software-defined power

1Executive Summary

The software-defined data center (SDDC), considered by many to be the final step in the evolution of virtualization, ignores the main cause of most application outages: power.

Over half of outages are power-related. These outages lead to headline-news events, such as the outages of major public cloud providers or the lack of service from major government systems. Millions of dollars are lost each week due to downtime caused by power events. Perhaps the time has come for more-analytical and proactive thinking about the concept of power management.

Moreover, most data center infrastructures are designed for peak load capacity that is structured for cyclical or seasonal workloads. This creates inefficiencies and waste for average workloads, which creates the need to turn off power to servers in an automated manner to realize massive savings on the energy bill.

Software-defined power provides a few key benefits. First, to achieve ultimate reliability, applications must be abstracted from the data center power infrastructure. Second, it’s necessary to automatically transition application workloads from one location to another — turning off and on the associated IT and facilities equipment. But how real is this technology, and is anyone using it yet? That question is on the minds of those who own and manage data centers, as well as those who drive private and public clouds.

At its essence, software-defined power is about abstracting power away from the physical dimensions. Software-defined power abstracts the data center itself by dynamically moving the application load between data centers. Moreover, this technology can match IT resources to the application load, powering down equipment that is not required while ensuring it remains available.

Additionally, software-defined power can increase power efficiency by:

  • Providing dynamic workload redistribution
  • Supporting testing and DR operations
  • Providing dynamic reallocation of resources to optimize the use of power and finding the least costly power
  • Providing resource-consumption planning, allowing for bulk purchases of power and demand planning
  • Collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing IT and facilities data to improve capacity, performance, and utilization
  • Automating responses to environmental changes or other trigger events
  • Adjusting to changing power needs based on application demands

This paper explores the fundamentals of software-defined power and reviews how IT organizations can apply software-defined power in their data centers to increase the availability of applications and data.

Key takeaways from this report include:

  • Software-defined power is evolving. The benefits of this technology will make it commonplace in just a few years.
  • Because of software-defined power’s ROI and reliability benefits, it can pay for itself in a short time.
  • Innovative companies are leveraging software-defined power to increase reliability and reduce costs.
  • Approach this technology with a bit of planning to optimize success.
  • Follow a step-by-step procedure to insure the proper course that will maximize the value of this technology.
Relevant Analyst
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David S. Linthicum

SVP Cloud Technology Partners

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