Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: TJ Randall, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, AppDynamics Blog

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Release Management , @CloudExpo, Apache

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

What Is Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC)?

I created this short FAQ to help answer some of those questions

At VMworld this year, both in San Francisco and Barcelona, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger introduced the concept of the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC). This builds on the concept that as more and more of the Data Center becomes virtualized (servers, desktops), delivering greater cost-savings and agility to customers, software-defined automation and functionality (network, security, storage, backup) become the next logical steps to help IT deliver greater value to the business.

As with any new technology or vision, there are often many questions about how this will impact the market, how it will affect IT organizations. Wikibon did a nice job providing their view on "Software-led Infrastructure". It's one of many attempts that I've seen to start trying to put a scope around this concept. Some portions are agreed upon, while others are creating some headaches.

I created this short FAQ to help answer some of those questions:

1. VMware is using a new term, "Software-Defined Datacenter" (SDDC), at the center of the 2012 conference. What is Software-Defined Datacenter?
[Steve Herrod blog]. Software Defined Data Center is VMware's vision that greater business value can be created from IT when intelligent software is abstracted from standardized hardware.  In the simplest technical definition, it is the separation (or abstraction) of the "control plane" (configuration, topology awareness, management, operations) from the "data plane" (moving data, storing data).

1a. Is there a clear spelling of this term?

  • Meh. Maybe, but it will have at least 3-5 variations in 2013. Just call it "SDDC" and save yourself a lot of auto-correct headaches.

2. Is there a clear, agreed upon definition (or standard) for Software-Defined Datacenter at this time?

  • Software-Defined Datacenter is not defined by an existing standards body (eg. IETF, ITU, NIST), but rather it is vision for the evolution of how Data Center environments will become more flexible in responding to business demands. SDDC builds upon the abstraction that server virtualization has created and extends this to broader elements of the Data Center (eg. network, storage), as well as expanding the roll that automation will play in the future.

3. How is "Software-Defined Datacenter" different than "Cloud"?

  • Cloud (or Cloud Computing) is fundamentally a new operational model for IT, where resources are delivered on-demand. While Cloud uses technologies such as virtualization or converged infrastructure, it's primarily about the shift in delivery and consumption of IT services. Software Defined Data Center is the next evolution of the underlying technology, where software delivers greater levels of intelligence and value, on top of standardized hardware.

4. Does Software-Defined Datacenter eliminate the need for traditional Data Center hardware?

  • No. There will still be a need for physical serves (CPU, memory), network devices to connect ports and deliver bandwidth, and devices that can store data on flash/disk/tape. But the trend in the industry is that these devices are becoming more standardized on x86 chips, mass produced memory/disks and mass produced ASICs. This trend should allow faster, more simplified "fabrics" (interconnecting servers, networks and storage) to be built, with the intelligence for policy, security, operations to continue to move into software, which is faster to develop and adapt to changing business requirements. Leading companies have been shifting their product strategies to embrace this trend for the last few years.

5. Which market segments does Software-Defined Datacenter target, or which use cases?

  • Software-Defined Datacenter technology are applicable to markets of all sizes (Enterprise, Mid-Market, Service Provider), but the initial adopters have been large Service Providers that are attempting to solve challenges with large-scale Data Centers. As the competition for Public and Hybrid Cloud services increases (Amazon, Google, Rackspace, Microsoft, Cloud Service Providers), the need to drive greater operational efficiency, and associated costs and time-to-market, is pushing them to solve problems in new software-centric ways.
    • As more Enterprise and Mid-Market customers adopt Private Cloud and deliver IT-as-a-Service, I also expect SDDC technologies to evolve to solve challenges at different scale, as well as user-centric challenges such as BYOD.

6. How will Software-Defined Datacenter impact IT organizations?

  • Even more than ever, the current era of IT is ultimately defined by rapid change, in terms of new devices (smartphones, tablets), new application consumption models (PaaS, SaaS), or converging technology silos (virtualization, converged infrastructure). Software-Defined Datacenter is the next step in converging functional areas, while attempting to give IT the ability to respond to business challenges faster.

7. Is Software-Defined Datacenter a competitive threat to traditional hardware companies?

  • As mentioned above, Software-Defined Datacenter does not eliminate the need for physical hardware within the Data Center. Rather it is a vision to enable customers to better take advantage of the trend towards delivering software intelligence on standardized hardware. As with many technology transitions, there are opportunities to evolve technology portfolios, evolve business models and unlock new partnership opportunities.

8. Is Software-Defined Datacenter explicitly linked with open-source technologies such as OpenStack, OpenFlow or Open vSwitch?

  • While there are open-source projects today that will have an influence on Software-Defined Datacenters, by no means does this mean that this is the only delivery mechanism for customers to obtain the technology needed for this IT technology evolution. A few examples of this:
  • VMware's acquisition of Nicira - while Nicira was a major contributor to the OpenStack Quantum project (network virtualization) and the Open vSwitch project, which are both open-source, their core NVP product was a commercial offering.
  • OpenFlow is a standards-based protocol for network virtualization that can be implemented by any vendor, for either open-source or commercial products.
  • "Project Razor" is an open-source project that was jointly created by EMC and Puppet Labs to deliver advanced server and application automation for Data Center and Cloud environments. The software can be used with either commercial products (eg. VMware vSphere, Cisco UCS, etc.) or open-source projects (OpenStack, KVM, CloudFoundry)

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Brian Gracely

A 20 year technology veteran, Brian Gracely is VP of product management at Virtustream. He holds a CCIE #3077 and an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Throughout his career Brian has led Cisco, NetApp, EMC and Virtustream into emerging markets and through technology transitions. An active participant in the virtualization and cloud computing communities, his industry viewpoints and writing can also be found on Twitter @bgracely, on his blog Clouds of Change and his podcast The Cloudcast (.net). He is a VMware vExpert and was named a "Top 100" Cloud Computing blogger by Cloud Computing Journal.

Microservices Articles
At its core DevOps is all about collaboration. The lines of communication must be opened and it takes some effort to ensure that they stay that way. It’s easy to pay lip service to trends and talk about implementing new methodologies, but without action, real benefits cannot be realized. Success requires planning, advocates empowered to effect change, and, of course, the right tooling. To bring about a cultural shift it’s important to share challenges. In simple terms, ensuring that everyone k...
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, will discuss how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galer...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
"There is a huge interest in Kubernetes. People are now starting to use Kubernetes and implement it," stated Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...