The scalability, flexibility and ease of management of the software defined data centre is making it a real must-have for enterprises. While the uptake of the SDDC is still in its infancy in the Middle East region, it is poised to become an essential technology, according to regional experts.
Software defined data centre (SDDC) refers to the phenomenon of abstracting the underlying network hardware from the network infrastructure software that runs on top of it.
At the heart of this transformation is a shift to software-based management and definition of IT services (the software defined data centre) and a decoupling from the hardware underneath for services such as compute, networking and storage.
“The goal is agility and speed within enterprise data centres by enabling applications to be quickly and transparently provisioned, moved and scaled as business requirements require,” explains Arun Chandrasekaran, research director, at research and advisory firm Gartner.
Traditional data centres can present numerous hurdles to the enterprise such as a lack of essential scalability and flexibility and are often difficult and clumsy to manage.
“The difficulty of scaling traditional data centres and the lack of flexibility results in a cost model that has a massive impact in both Opex and Capex. The rationale behind the software defined data centre is to act as a centrally controlled pool of resources. The main components of data centres, applications, networking and storage, are turned into simple workloads,” says Taj El-Khayat, general manager, MENA, at IT performance company Riverbed.
According to virtualisation expert VMware, the SDDC is a logical extension of server virtualisation. In the same way server virtualisation maximises deployment of computing power, the SDDC does this for all application hosting resources.
“In the past, each new application required a dedicated server, which could take up to 10 weeks to deploy. Today, server virtualisation allows a virtual machine to be provisioned within minutes. However, the other resources needed by the application, storage, network, security are physical, not virtual, so they take much longer to deploy, on the order of a week or more. Worse, provisioning these physical resources consumes a great deal of IT time, which would be better spent on strategic initiatives. In a very real sense, the full potential of server virtualisation cannot be realised when other resources are physical,” says Sam Tayan, regional director, VMware MENA.
One of the benefits of the SDDC is that all resources are virtualised so can be automatically deployed, with little or no human involvement. Applications can be operational in minutes, shortening time to value and dramatically reducing IT staff time spent on application provisioning and deployment.
“Components of the SDDC can be implemented together, or in phases. Compute virtualisation, network virtualisation and software-defined storage, for example, deliver abstraction, pooling and automation of the compute, network, and storage infrastructure services. Automated management, meanwhile, delivers a framework for policy-based management of data centre application and services,” states Tayan.