SDDC: Extending Your Grandfather's Virtualization
Jan 28, 2014
We’ve spent the last few weeks discussing the benefits a software-defined data center, or SDDC, and how IT is shifting to become a more service-oriented business unit. The beauty of an SDDC is that it doesn’t have to be a forklift upgrade; in fact, most enterprises that consider an SDDC platform migrate in a far more gentle, step-by-step fashion. And for many, the starting point for such a shift is virtualization.
Virtualization optimizes physical infrastructure, enabling IT to run more applications and services on fewer physical machines. Best-in-class hypervisors are designed to consume minimal server resources, enabling the physical server to support the maximum number of virtual machines, or VMs.
The right server virtualization solution can help an IT department do more with less drain on both budget and staff. More importantly, virtualization helps IT respond to infrastructure challenges. Virtualization allows IT to deploy server capacity as needed, making it easier to scale applications. And because VMs can be easily replicated and deployed, virtualization facilitates testing and provisioning of apps. It can also help optimize and enhance high availability and disaster recovery environments, as applications can be easily, rapidly and cost-effectively moved among servers within the data center, and even to remote centers as business situations dictate.
The low cost, fast speed, and ease of implementation have made server virtualization a popular first step towards a more fully virtualized data center. According to a Stratecast 2013 survey of IT decision makers, 58 percent of businesses have either implemented server virtualization or plan to do so in the near future, as the first step of the IT evolution journey. However, in the server virtualization model, other IT components—such as networking, security, and storage infrastructure—generally remain physical, with less than 10 percent of these functions being virtualized. This is grandfather’s virtualization – it impacts only the compute function in the data center.
Grandpa’s virtualization only optimizes the compute function, so benefits are limited to server optimization and reduction of footprint, with the associated decrease in costs. By extending virtualization to other components of the data center, like the network or storage, businesses are able to extend the benefits of virtualized computing further than ever before. This is the benefit of the SDDC.
An effective SDDC delivers all of an enterprise’s compute, storage, networking, security and availability—as a service—running on nearly any hardware that the business chooses. It overlays these virtualized components with a sophisticated data center management platform that automates and orchestrates daily management processes like provisioning and maintenance, as well as enabling more robust self-service by end-users than is possible in a traditional virtualized environment or the cloud.
SDDCs empower lines of business to take greater responsibility for the IT resources they consume, while IT maintains strict control over the security and compliance of these self-serve options. An SDDC also allows IT to offload rote management tasks off by automating them, enabling staff to be refocused on development and other strategic projects that drive innovation and productivity. And in the midst of this human productivity that the SDDC enables, the environment is also able to drive greater cost efficiencies than are realized with virtualization or cloud computing alone.
So an SDDC is not just your grandfather’s virtualization extended throughout the data center. It offloads habitual management tasks and frees time and staff to drive innovative development projects that help the business, while the lines of business get new levels of visibility and control over the IT resources their units consume. Ultimately, if IT successfully transitions to an SDDC, lines of business also transition from seeing IT as a cost center to being a value creator within the enterprise.
For more information on transforming your business with an SDDC, visit the VMware SDDC website.
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