Software Defined Datacentre

Software Defined Datacentre

Software Defined Datacentre (SDDC) refers to modern datacentres where the entire infrastructure is virtualised then managed and orchestrated via software. This means that hardware configuration and settings for storage, compute, networking and even cooling is controlled and managed via intelligent software. This is a modern-day development which has turned the concept of the datacentre on its head.
 
Traditional Data Centres had to manage based on the location/building itself and the hardware on which it was built. The Data centre was a physical place, with computing hardware as the key component.
 
Some of the inherent issues with the traditional approach included, reliance on high cost hardware, inflexibility, difficulty in scaling up, plan and buy for the future leading to underutilised hardware, fixed computing platforms that cannot adapt to changing application requirements.
 
SDDC uses software at its core, it makes hardware a commodity by providing a single layer of orchestration that manages, monitors and configures the entire datacentre stack. This allows management by service level rather than function, it also allows the data centre to be configured to adapt to the needs of applications.
 
The SDDC reduces cost, increases efficiency and allows less people to manage much more.
 
By physically and logically grouping compute, storage and networking into single appliances that can be clustered together, hyperconverged systems are a great example of “out of the box” software defined datacentre. A datacentre built exclusively on hyperconverged infrastructure is by definition software-defined.
 
For traditional datacentres, implementing hyperconverged technology into the mix starts the process of transformation to an SDDC.
 
Whilst Hyperconverged systems are not the only way to build a SDDC, the consensus amongst experts is that it is one of the major enabling technologies.  Nutanix is arguably the leading player in this space, and they have gone a step further than most in trying to embrace the idea of the SDDC. They have developed their own hypervisor and taken a hypervisor agnostic approach to SDDC. Whilst some hypervisor vendors may find this threatening, ultimately it is important as a truly flexible SDDC needs to be agnostic to all supporting technologies up the whole infrastructure stack.
 
Software Defined Data Centre need to operate across location, across clouds, across hardware, across operating systems and hypervisors, eventually even across applications. To make this happen is not always in the interests of traditional vendors that generate revenue from traditional technologies. The Nutanix example is helpful, as it shows disruption and innovation rather than tried and tested are key to the ongoing challenge of creating a truly SDDC. At the current time, there are technology gaps, however over the next 5 years these will be increasingly filled.

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