Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Linux Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, Microservices Journal, 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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, 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 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
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 home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...