A software-defined data center (SDDC) is a data storage facility in which all elements of the infrastructure - networking, storage, CPU and security - are virtualized and delivered as a service. Deployment, provisioning, configuration and the operation, monitoring and automation of the entire infrastructure is abstracted from hardware and implemented in software.
*Four major elements differentiate a software-led data center:
- Pervasive Virtualization and Encapsulation: All key resources in the software-led data center are virtualized, including processors, storage, and networks. This pervasive virtualization allows dynamic distribution of workloads across a wide set of resources to meet availability and performance SLAs. Applications, management services and hardware services are codified and orchestrated to provide for IT resources (only) as needed.
- Software Defined Networking: This will include user, storage, and processor-to-processor networks. Networking has been a bottleneck for IT transformation; resolving this is critical to enabling next generation datacenters. By virtualizing the network and moving network control into software, traffic can be prioritized and dynamically managed to guarantee predictable end-to-end application performance and latency, even as system resources, demands on the system, and SLAs change. Networking hardware must be a reliable platform on which software services can be deployed. Management of the network will shift from today's network-specific silo approach to a datacenter approach.
- Unified Metadata about System, Application, & Data: The future datacenter will work only if all the individual components can communicate and interact in a synchronized manner. Unified metadata for datacenter devices, services, and applications will be a vital element to manage the infinite number of connections and exchanges between systems. For example, as a new virtual machine (VM) is deployed, storage devices will need to understand proper data placement, while network devices will need to set priorities based on IO requirements and application value. Software-led components will be constantly generating, ingesting, and analyzing data about themselves and other components. This management can only be achieved with a metadata structure that is deployed along with common APIs, protocols, and standards.
- Distributed High Performance Persistent Storage: Persistent storage -- storage that survives a power outage -- was until recently held on low-performance magnetic disk drives and/or tapes. With the introduction of flash, high performance persistent storage at equivalent or lower cost will be distributed throughout and between data centers. Data-in-flash will be directly addressed by the processor, be near the processor, be shared between processors and be distributed geographically.
- Increasingly Intelligent Data Management Capabilities: Sophisticated software-led management for active and passive data and metadata will ensure integrity, availability, protection from disaster, device optimization, and location optimization. Storage and data management services will become more device independent. Efficient storage management will be a continuing theme, with an emphasis on end-to-end capabilities across the infrastructure hierarchy. Storage space and additional unnecessary copies of data will be reduced by end-to-end storage reduction technologies, such as compression and de-duplication. Magnetic media will be used as bulk low-cost store for inactive data.
*Source: Wikibon "Defining Software Led Infrastructure"
The data center industry is evolving rapidly. It is no longer common practice to build large-scale data centers with high volumes of inefficient, expensive and hard to manage hardware. Instead, analysts and forward thinking organizations are looking to the software-defined data center (SDDC), the next big thing in the cloud computing industry, to transform the way they utilize data center resources.
The SDDC's innovative technology provides Service Providers with a highly efficient way of managing services and ultimate choice for their customers. The SDDC delivers integration throughout the technology stack, enabling SPs to deliver a more seamless customer experience across diverse technologies. Its virtualized compute, network and storage layers, and automation capabilities, reduce the need for human intervention, providing MSPs with the opportunity to refocus their resources on helping customers with more growth-accelerating projects.
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