Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Sematext Blog, Dmitry Sotnikov, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Andreas Grabner, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, Security, Big Data Journal

SDN Journal: Article

Bringing Software-Defined to the Data Center

Lower costs and increase control

"Software-defined," like any new trend that technology companies rush to attach to has suffered from marketing hype. Starting in mid-2012 with the acquisition of Nicera by VMware, most traditional infrastructure technology vendors across compute, networking, and storage have some messaging around how software-defined fits into their product strategy.

But software-defined is not a traditional concept. Since the transition from mainframe to distributed computing, corresponding with the rise in networking, most technologies in the data center have been very hardware specific. For many years, the way to get the right amount of intelligence in the right place to execute the functionality has been with specialized hardware.

Software-defined is fairly self-explanatory. The value is in the software, with one of the biggest benefits being the use of standard hardware that is a fraction of the cost of vendor-specific hardware, which has been the norm for data centers since the beginning of the 21st century. Standard hardware from servers to networking devices have so many resources available that specialized hardware no longer provides the differentiation it once did.

Freedom from hardware opens up freedom to extend SDDC outside the walls of the data center. SDDC helps organizations deliver a modern private cloud in the same model that large operators like Amazon and Rackspace use to deliver public cloud. What's more, using the right software-defined technologies enables hybrid cloud, the panacea for most enterprises. This is one of the main reasons that open source technologies, and those with very strong standards are emerging in the software-defined space.

That said, software defined has the biggest opportunity to benefit private data centers, where the majority of applications simply cannot run in the public cloud based on policy or preference. Here are some best practices when looking at how software defined can benefit your private data center architecture:

Take advantage of your already efficient procurement: Odds are your organization has a go-to vendor or reseller of servers. Whether from HP, Dell, or a white box vendor like Supermicro, the premium paid on server infrastructure is much smaller than with storage. You may even have a volume purchase agreement, making purchasing of hardware for software-defined storage even more affordable. Buying infrastructure for SDDC is no different than your channels for standard servers and networking equipment.

Insist on standards compliance to avoid future lock-in: SDDC is a real opportunity to reduce or eliminate lock-in among the technologies used in your data center. The best software-defined solutions are based on industry standards so freedom to change is retained. This is more than basic interoperability with a standard API, as that case still relies on the software vendor to keep up with changes. Avoid software-defined solutions that are vendor specific and limit your flexibility to integrate and innovate as this market continues to evolve.

Have a preference for open source technologies: Once dismissed by their proprietary competitors as immature, open source operating systems, middleware, application frameworks, and databases are now standards in the data center. The same trend will hold true for software-defined solutions. Using an open source technology does not preclude organizations from working with commercial vendors to support the success of open source in the data center architecture.

Where are the biggest opportunities to use software defined? We believe it is in storage, a solution area where very large premiums have been paid for many years, based on the perception that specialized hardware was the only way to keep data safe and available. The biggest operators have proven the opposite - they can be available to millions of concurrent users without downtime or losing data while using standard hardware and intelligent software.

The reality is data is simply growing too fast and must be retained too long, at a cost that in many cases must be as close to zero as possible. Plus, unstructured data is the fastest growing, fueled by SaaS applications and the transition to mobile devices. Any private data center today is in direct competition with the operators of large public clouds. Internal users demand the flexibility and operating costs the big operators have proven are possible, so private operators must use the same software-defined strategy to remain competitive.

"Utility Computing" was a hyped trend at the start of this century that was before its time. Some might classify SDDC in the same category, all hype. Objectively, SDDC is a natural extension of cloud, and should prove to be equally as disruptive to the data center architecture as cloud has been. Software used for compute, networking, and storage will need to be as standard as the servers you buy today in order to fit into your data center architecture of the future.

More Stories By Joe Arnold

Joe Arnold founded SwiftStack to deploy high-scale, open-source cloud storage systems using OpenStack. He managed the first public OpenStack Swift launch independent of Rackspace, and has subsequently deployed multiple large-scale cloud storage systems. He is currently building tools to deploy and manage OpenStack Swift with his firm, SwiftStack.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at ...
IBM has announced software that allows people to hide or anonymize their personal information on the Web, ensuring protection from identity theft and other misuse. Developed by researchers at IBM's laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, the software – called Identity Mixer – will enable consumers to purchase goods and services on the Internet without disclosing personal information. As consumers hand over personal details in exchange for downloading music or subscribing to online newsletters, they...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
Mobile commerce traffic is surpassing desktop, yet less than 20% of sales in the U.S. are mobile commerce sales. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dan Franklin, Segment Manager, Commerce, at Verizon Digital Media Services, defined mobile devices and discussed how next generation means simplification. It means taking your digital content and turning it into instantly gratifying experiences.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core...
NuoDB just introduced the Swifts 2.1 Release. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc., discussed why scaling databases in the cloud is challenging, why building your application on top of the infrastructure that is designed with this in mind makes a difference, and what you can do with NuoDB that simplifies your programming model, your operations model.
“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"SOASTA built the concept of cloud testing in 2008. It's grown from rather meager beginnings to where now we are provisioning hundreds of thousands of servers on a daily basis on behalf of customers around the world to test their applications," explained Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Verizon Digital Media Services is responsible for the broadcast, video and content delivery network that accelerates, scales and helps our customers reach end users with all kinds of video and web content," stated James Segil, CMO of Verizon Digital Media Services, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session a...
“We are a managed services company. We have taken the key aspects of the cloud and the purposed data center and merged the two together and launched the Purposed Cloud about 18–24 months ago," explained Chetan Patwardhan, CEO of Stratogent, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
CA Technologies released a new study – “DevOps: The Worst-Kept Secret to Winning in the Application Economy” – that reveals that 82% of enterprises in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) already have or plan to adopt a DevOps strategy, a 12 point increase from last year’s figure of 70%. DevOps is a methodology which helps foster collaboration between the teams that create and test applications (Dev) with those that maintain them in production environments (Ops). Vanson Bourne conducted the survey with...
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,...
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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. Acco...