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Why Software-Defined Data Center is not enough

By Chris Coggrave, Worldwide Director, HP IT Infrastructure Services

 

coggrave_badge_tcm_245_1359543[1].pngIn my previous blogs (see the list at the end of this post) I have been defining what we mean by Converged Data Center (CDC). To recap, CDC is built on a software-defined data center (SDDC) approach but includes a lot more in order to maximize on the realization of business benefits at the end of the day.

 

Interestingly enough, at a recent industry event in Germany, Forrester senior analyst Rachel Dines also stated that software-defined data centers aren’t enough, according to Sam Shead in a CIO.com article. Businesses should aim to create business-defined data centers.

 

A point that I have been making is that IT infrastructure does not exist in splendid isolation, but is part of a wider data center ecosystem composed of the facilities that house the IT assets; the delivery model by which the IT assets are used to deliver services to the business; the organization, in terms of people and processes that operate this; and then the business needs, through the application portfolio.

 

IT dependencies.PNG

 

What I have been arguing is that in order to exploit the true business benefits achievable, there is a need to move beyond pure infrastructure convergence in its own right – which starts to remove the silos of network, server and storage, as SDDC does – to wider data center convergence, where the level of integration between the facilities, the delivery model, and the organization increase to align IT with the business to a much greater degree.

 

So, in other words, you need to pay careful attention to which workloads you retain within the data center to be delivered by traditional means or private cloud and which you should move externally to outsourcers and public cloud. For those that remain in the data center, there is a need to optimize the space, power, and cooling needs via flexible facilities approaches and new technology, such as data center Infrastructure management. At the same time, you’ll want to ensure that the organizational structure changes to reflect the new environment, in addition to standardization and automation of infrastructure processes. In this way IT becomes that much more aligned with the business. Treating this as purely an IT technology play will drive some benefits, but not as many as you could achieve by taking the wider converged data center approach.

 

A further point is that organizations rarely rip-and-replace everything in one go; in most cases there is likely to be a mixture of IT infrastructure configurations with dedicated platforms for some mission-critical applications; unvirtualised ELE servers for others;  and varying levels of server, network and storage virtualisation alongside of SDDC elements. Hence coexistence and integration with legacy infrastructure is equally important.

 

According to the CIO.com article I mentioned above, Forrester's Dines noted that the business-defined data centre can be delivered by deploying infrastructure that can serve a wide range of business applications, as opposed to deploying specialised infrastructure for niche applications. “When I think about infrastructure and I see organisations getting into these heavy silos of infrastructure that is just one application, that makes me nervous," Dines said, adding that “businesses should look to deploy 80 percent generic infrastructure and 20 percent specialised.”

 

UPDATE, 12.17.13: At Discover 2013 in Barcelona last week, HP unveiled converged systems and converged storage that help companies accelerate time to market, reduce cost, and simplify building data centers. Learn more about our innovations for the data center of the future.

 

Learn more about me and how I can help you take a pragmatic approach to new technologies for your IT infrastructure at my HP Technology Expert profile.

 

Related blogs

The converged data center: solving a system of problems

 

How to cloud-enable your data center

 

Converging the data center for a hybrid future

 

Looking through the Clouds in 2013: It’s all about integration

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