Welcome!

Virtualization Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Ignacio M. Llorente, Andrew Phillips, Brian Vandegrift

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Open Source, Virtualization, Open Web, Cloud Expo, Apache

SOA & WOA: 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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...