John M. Hawkins is VP of Marketing and Communications for vXchnge.
If you take a look around everything is getting “smarter”. There are smart phones, smart watches, smart cars, and the list of smart devices is growing rapidly. As consumers, we expect that there will be more and more smart devices.
Recently, I went into an electronics store and asked if they had a smart device I could put on my dogs’ collar to check to see how much exercise he was getting. Moments after I asked the question, the store clerk looked at me as though I was from Mars and quickly replied, “We don’t have anything like that but it’s a good idea.” While the clerk wasn’t aware of a device to track my pets’ activity, I was able to determine, with a quick google search on my smart phone, that there are devices out there to track my dogs’ activities.
In fact, there are more smart devices and electronic gadgets on earth than people. However, just creating the device and producing the data isn’t good enough. We need to collect and process the data into information, which is what the Internet-of-Things paradigm is all about. Given the current state of IoT maturity and the desired state for IoT this means that we will need software design patterns expanded and developed upon for security, application programming frameworks, and information data models to name a few necessary improvements and features - which means that we will need smarter software defined data centers to support these new architectures and features.
In a recent survey of data center decision makers conducted by vXchnge, a majority (93.14 percent) of respondents believe software will define the data center of the future, and 77 percent plan to make the move to a software defined data center (or SDDC) within the next five years.
The consumer will be accustomed to smart everything. This means that we will need to have a data center that can support these new software models; for this to happen data centers must evolve. It’s critical that the data center’s capabilities are in place to support the new paradigms. So, how do we get smarter in order to keep up?
A Software-Defined Data Center (or SDDC) is a SMARTER data center which supports the demands of future compute and application deployment models such as Internet of Things, cloud, Platform-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service, and other models on the verge of becoming mainstream.
Consider the evolution of the telephone for example. We once, not too long ago, used rotary or button-push wall phones to “reach out and touch someone”. Today we use smart phones, and in particular, mobile apps on a daily basis. The practical use of mobile apps is not something we could have considered back in the wall-phone days. Today, we tap on our glass device and access virtual buttons that take us to the information we want, regardless of where in the world it is.
We can be smarter about the vision for tomorrow if we can better understand what’s happening today and plot our next steps. The software-defined data center offers advanced features and functionality, real-time analysis and reporting, and on-demand remote access. A true SDDC provides remote visibility into the data center just as if you were there in-person. As devices and infrastructures get smarter, the SDDC provides a smarter way to interface with all of the moving parts. The software defined data center runs on a platform that is used to integrate and orchestrate all the "smart data center" devices that are being developed.
Interestingly enough, in the data center decision maker survey conducted by vXchnge, 81 percent agree that having customers in close proximity to their data is “very” or “extremely” important, and 89 percent of the respondents used cloud for their compute storage and network needs.
This data leads me to believe that the two key use cases the SDDC will need to enable are ‘the Edge’ and also have the ability to support hybrid cloud. The proximity and use of cloud are leading indicators that the full shift to a single cloud model indicates that hybrid cloud is an area we will see more growth. The data centers located in what once were cornfields, where power is cheap, might not be the 100 percent direction the cloud goes. Of course, there are merits for this model. The data suggests that the cloud model might need to shift to support the functional requirements of cloud which means location will be important.
We can also expect to see many other exciting advancements with the SDDC where our data centers will become smarter. Not only will they be able to capture metrics, they will give us the ability to make better decisions. The software-defined data center will provide information - not just data - about security, IT audits, asset management, DC infrastructure management, capacity and lifecycle management to name a few.
All of these leading indicators and trends suggest that the Software-Defined Data Center era is upon us, and it’s time to embrace the change. Is your data center providing the services and support that will deliver the outcomes your business demands?
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