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Top 5 Business Benefits of the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC)

Author

Sudarsan Chakravarthy

Director

Software-defined technologies are “the future of the datacenter” according to Gartner, and are at the heart of today’s digital transformation projects – as I wrote in my introduction to SDDC as a transformation enabler a few weeks ago.

In other words, SDDC is an important topic for businesses of all sizes to know about, and GBM is here to help.

This time, I’d like to take a slightly deeper dive into what SDDC can offer: specifically, the real-world business benefits that key elements of the SDDC approach can deliver.

So, if you want to learn a little more about the building blocks of SDDC and why they could be a good thing for your organization, this is the post for you.

Quick recap

I recommend reading my earlier SDDC post if you want a primer. But just to refresh our memories, SDDC…

  • uses standardized hardware
  • adds a software layer to virtualize compute, storage and networking so each can be delivered as a service; the three elements are also orchestrated by software
  • services can be virtualized and extended beyond the traditional physical server room into hybrid cloud datacenters
  • makes resources programmable, enabling efficiencies like automation plus centralized management and security

Essentially, an SDDC is a virtualized pool of compute, storage and networking resources that can be allocated and managed with extreme flexibility. But how does it deliver business value?

1. Virtualization and hybrid cloud extensibility

Why virtualize the data center?

When you virtualize, you turn hardware resources into a programmable resource. This means you can control them with software, and connect them to other virtualized resources to create an even bigger pool of compute or storage.

Yes, there is some performance loss compared to “bare metal” programming of servers. But nobody is doing that anyway, and the benefits of being able to access all datacenter resources in one pool far outweighs the loss.

Furthermore, virtualization isn’t limited to the server room. The SDDC can be extended out to public and private cloud services. It’s a bedrock of the hybrid cloud datacenter.

To sum up, the virtualization element of SDDC enables you to:

  • Fully utilize your data center resources, as a virtualized pool you can allocate flexible to various workloads
  • Build a hybrid cloud and gain its many economic and scalability advantages
  • Centralize and simplify management

2. Streamlined, automated datacenter operations

Speaking of simplified management – SDDC doesn’t just enable you to control resources from a single pane of glass. Because resources are controlled by software, you can also automate routine tasks such as network provisioning, storage tiering, and the security response.

When your business streamlines and automates operations with SDDC, you can:

  • Reduce management costs and effort
  • Provision OSes, storage, networking and applications without manual intervention
  • Use open standards to integrate management software and manage infrastructure with fewer tools

3. Automated application infrastructure and delivery

Competitive businesses like yours want to be able to deploy new IT applications and services quickly. Your IT team also wants to keep applications updated with the latest security and features. Traditional datacenters are siloed – resources are in separate pools of infrastructure, and applications have to be deployed separately to each. That’s time consuming, and applications are slower to market.

As we’ve discussed, SDDC virtualizes the whole datacenter in one pool. That means you have one application infrastructure to deploy to, and one to manage. You can also create role-based policies that allow end-users to self-serve applications they need, depending on their level of privilege.

So with SDDC you can:

  • Deploy new applications faster
  • Offer policy-based application self-service for end-users
  • Reduce the cost of application deployment

4. Security that protects changing infrastructure

It used to be easier to secure applications – back when they lived in a monolithic stack. There was a one-to-one relationship between applications and servers, or even if there were multiple servers that made up the app, they all lived in the same rack in the data center. It was very easy to stick a firewall on top of the rack and define a nice perimeter around the application.

But today, our applications are highly distributed. They are comprised of many servers – or containers, for that matter – potentially hosted in multiple data centers or even clouds. These data center endpoints are constantly changing as well, particularly as developers embrace DevOps and new technologies like containers and micro-services. Speed is key to putting apps and data in the hands of users, but it presents many challenges for security.

We have tried to extend our traditional security approach to this network by attempting to wrap a perimeter around the application. But that perimeter is becoming increasingly harder to define. The situation is akin to securing a castle. We can build a strong moat, high walls, and even post guards in the watch towers, but once a threat makes it inside the walls they can move around to all of the interior buildings freely.

We’ve also tried to bolster our position by inserting myriad security solutions into our environments. We attach them to our networks and bolt them onto our endpoints – but there is no longer that single point between an application and the infrastructure that comprises it where we can insert security. The situation has become increasingly complex, and complexity is the enemy of security.

With SDDC you can

  • Secure your infrastructure natively applying policies at the VM level shifting security from perimeter defence to one that is fine-grained and application & data centric
  • Secure your data-at-rest with encryption
  • Use micro-segmentation to embed a firewall within every VM, greatly reducing the risk of a breach and minimizing the impact.
  • Ensure security policies follow the applications rather than the other way around making security truly persistent

 

5. Resilient, high availability infrastructure

Finally, you might be wondering whether SDDC is as dependable as a good old traditional data center.

Now, any data center is only as reliable as its hardware and the applications that run on it. But the advantage of SDDC is that single, virtualized pool of resources. If one server goes down, its resources disappear from the pool – but workloads can be allocated to another server.

There are storage availability benefits too. With the right backup or disaster recovery (DR) solution, you can keep multiple copies of critical data available across your entire infrastructure at all times. If one piece of storage goes down, the backup is still available to users. This is in stark contrast to the siloed, under-utilized storage of the past.

The most complete SDDC solutions

SDDC brings lots of business benefits – far more than I can detail here. There are also many vendors offering competing solutions.

Building the right SDDC solution is a process of mapping out your transformation goals, then choosing the right mix of technologies to meet them.

If you’re a competitive business based in the Gulf region, I invite you to talk to me or one of my colleagues here at GBM. No other company has partnerships with various technology leaders or our level of SDDC project expertise. And no other company has the capability to support you at every step with complete, end-to-end SDDC solutions.

If you’d like to know more, please contact us.

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