The Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) Part 1: An Overview

While many IT organizations and businesses recognize the benefits of moving to a software defined datacenter (SDDC), widespread adoption is still relatively low. Though factors such as complexity and lack of knowledgeable internal resources seem to be key inhibitors, rapid, widespread growth is forecasted! A November 2017 Hexa Research report showed that the global software-defined data center market is expected to reach $259.10 billion by 2024, driven by its promise to optimize and orchestrate operations through data center management and virtualization capabilities. 

Hybrid IT, hybrid cloud, virtualization, and software defined are all similar models of technology that relate to the same overarching concept, the next generation data center. SDDC frameworks are built by connecting, pooling, and managing IT resources — networking, computing, and storage — in a new way. Powered by 'software-driven' intelligent code, IT operations can be transformed to optimize and scale allocation of resources as needed all while maintaining economic control over limited, or shrinking, IT budgets. 

The flexibility offered by a SDDC makes it a cornerstone for the transition to hybrid IT, allowing customers to leverage the benefits of virtualization and cloud computing in a way that is tailored specifically for their business needs, as well as the requirements of their applications. 

But, what is Software-Defined, exactly? Before we go further, let's give a general overview of these software-defined layers. 

Software Defined Compute (SDC)
In the classic sense, when most people refer to the SDDC or even virtualization, they are generally referring to software-defined compute. The aim of software-defined compute is to 'virtualize' aggregated compute resources into pools, and then offer portions of those resource pools based on availability and compute needs. The compute functions are all managed through a central interface and can be allocated and reallocated as needed. With software-defined technologies, this provisioning of computer resources is no longer dependent on a specific hardware device — it relies on the reservoir of computer resources currently available. 

Software-Defined Storage (SDS)
The arrival of software-defined storage signals an evolution in IT infrastructure that is also shaping how storage can be managed and deployed in the future. In the case of software-defined storage, available storage resources in a cluster are abstracted from the server hardware nodes themselves and are pooled and provisioned through centralized software, creating a 'virtualized' pool of storage resources and driving down costs. Leveraging policy-based provisioning and management offers a way of governing storage resources that is independent of the underlying hardware and can provide protection against the failure of one or multiple nodes, along with data protection, replication, backup, and deduplication. 

Software-Defined Networking (SDN)
In a traditional networking scenario, server firmware provides hardware components with the instructions needed to re-route data packets as they arrive at a switch or router — and all data packets follow the same pathway. Software-defined networking (SDN) offers a more cost-effective method for network administration with greater control when compared to traditional networking. This allows the network administrator to centrally shape network traffic without configuring the settings of individual switches. Rules, prioritization, and restrictions can be activated or deactivated more easily and on-demand — offering more streamlined management of traffic loads. Virtual networks allow also for clean separation of traffic stemming from virtual workloads that need to be kept strictly separate without network packets even being visible to the other workloads or tenant. This is of keep importance in environments looking to drive increased agility and efficiency by leveraging software-defined technologies. 

Software-Defined Solutions Made Simple
Fully automated and policy-driven software defined IT can be instructed to maintain hardware configuration based on consumption, utilization, and business needs and priorities — offering both on-demand scalability and flexibility. Many organizations look to the SDDC to help reduce or eliminate many of their existing data center business challenges — enabling them to transform their IT infrastructure and the business. 

In our next blog, we will cover Microsoft Windows Server Software Defined Solutions on HPE ProLiant Gen10 Servers: fully integrated, validated, and tested solution stacks with a carefully selected range of hardware components from local storage, controllers, and networking. These solutions are designed to deliver transitioning to an SDDC environment with faster time-to-value, lower risk, and scale to business needs with cloud-ready agility. 

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Willa manages the HPE | Microsoft Coffee Coaching program. Follow along to learn more about the latest HPE OEM Microsoft product releases and how the HPE Microsoft partnership can benefit partners and customers.