Welcome!

Apache Authors: Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Christopher Harrold, Elizabeth White, Talend Inc.

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Release Management , @CloudExpo, Apache

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

What Is Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC)?

I created this short FAQ to help answer some of those questions

At VMworld this year, both in San Francisco and Barcelona, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger introduced the concept of the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC). This builds on the concept that as more and more of the Data Center becomes virtualized (servers, desktops), delivering greater cost-savings and agility to customers, software-defined automation and functionality (network, security, storage, backup) become the next logical steps to help IT deliver greater value to the business.

As with any new technology or vision, there are often many questions about how this will impact the market, how it will affect IT organizations. Wikibon did a nice job providing their view on "Software-led Infrastructure". It's one of many attempts that I've seen to start trying to put a scope around this concept. Some portions are agreed upon, while others are creating some headaches.

I created this short FAQ to help answer some of those questions:

1. VMware is using a new term, "Software-Defined Datacenter" (SDDC), at the center of the 2012 conference. What is Software-Defined Datacenter?
[Steve Herrod blog]. Software Defined Data Center is VMware's vision that greater business value can be created from IT when intelligent software is abstracted from standardized hardware.  In the simplest technical definition, it is the separation (or abstraction) of the "control plane" (configuration, topology awareness, management, operations) from the "data plane" (moving data, storing data).

1a. Is there a clear spelling of this term?

  • Meh. Maybe, but it will have at least 3-5 variations in 2013. Just call it "SDDC" and save yourself a lot of auto-correct headaches.

2. Is there a clear, agreed upon definition (or standard) for Software-Defined Datacenter at this time?

  • Software-Defined Datacenter is not defined by an existing standards body (eg. IETF, ITU, NIST), but rather it is vision for the evolution of how Data Center environments will become more flexible in responding to business demands. SDDC builds upon the abstraction that server virtualization has created and extends this to broader elements of the Data Center (eg. network, storage), as well as expanding the roll that automation will play in the future.

3. How is "Software-Defined Datacenter" different than "Cloud"?

  • Cloud (or Cloud Computing) is fundamentally a new operational model for IT, where resources are delivered on-demand. While Cloud uses technologies such as virtualization or converged infrastructure, it's primarily about the shift in delivery and consumption of IT services. Software Defined Data Center is the next evolution of the underlying technology, where software delivers greater levels of intelligence and value, on top of standardized hardware.

4. Does Software-Defined Datacenter eliminate the need for traditional Data Center hardware?

  • No. There will still be a need for physical serves (CPU, memory), network devices to connect ports and deliver bandwidth, and devices that can store data on flash/disk/tape. But the trend in the industry is that these devices are becoming more standardized on x86 chips, mass produced memory/disks and mass produced ASICs. This trend should allow faster, more simplified "fabrics" (interconnecting servers, networks and storage) to be built, with the intelligence for policy, security, operations to continue to move into software, which is faster to develop and adapt to changing business requirements. Leading companies have been shifting their product strategies to embrace this trend for the last few years.

5. Which market segments does Software-Defined Datacenter target, or which use cases?

  • Software-Defined Datacenter technology are applicable to markets of all sizes (Enterprise, Mid-Market, Service Provider), but the initial adopters have been large Service Providers that are attempting to solve challenges with large-scale Data Centers. As the competition for Public and Hybrid Cloud services increases (Amazon, Google, Rackspace, Microsoft, Cloud Service Providers), the need to drive greater operational efficiency, and associated costs and time-to-market, is pushing them to solve problems in new software-centric ways.
    • As more Enterprise and Mid-Market customers adopt Private Cloud and deliver IT-as-a-Service, I also expect SDDC technologies to evolve to solve challenges at different scale, as well as user-centric challenges such as BYOD.

6. How will Software-Defined Datacenter impact IT organizations?

  • Even more than ever, the current era of IT is ultimately defined by rapid change, in terms of new devices (smartphones, tablets), new application consumption models (PaaS, SaaS), or converging technology silos (virtualization, converged infrastructure). Software-Defined Datacenter is the next step in converging functional areas, while attempting to give IT the ability to respond to business challenges faster.

7. Is Software-Defined Datacenter a competitive threat to traditional hardware companies?

  • As mentioned above, Software-Defined Datacenter does not eliminate the need for physical hardware within the Data Center. Rather it is a vision to enable customers to better take advantage of the trend towards delivering software intelligence on standardized hardware. As with many technology transitions, there are opportunities to evolve technology portfolios, evolve business models and unlock new partnership opportunities.

8. Is Software-Defined Datacenter explicitly linked with open-source technologies such as OpenStack, OpenFlow or Open vSwitch?

  • While there are open-source projects today that will have an influence on Software-Defined Datacenters, by no means does this mean that this is the only delivery mechanism for customers to obtain the technology needed for this IT technology evolution. A few examples of this:
  • VMware's acquisition of Nicira - while Nicira was a major contributor to the OpenStack Quantum project (network virtualization) and the Open vSwitch project, which are both open-source, their core NVP product was a commercial offering.
  • OpenFlow is a standards-based protocol for network virtualization that can be implemented by any vendor, for either open-source or commercial products.
  • "Project Razor" is an open-source project that was jointly created by EMC and Puppet Labs to deliver advanced server and application automation for Data Center and Cloud environments. The software can be used with either commercial products (eg. VMware vSphere, Cisco UCS, etc.) or open-source projects (OpenStack, KVM, CloudFoundry)

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Brian Gracely

A 20 year technology veteran, Brian Gracely is VP of product management at Virtustream. He holds a CCIE #3077 and an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Throughout his career Brian has led Cisco, NetApp, EMC and Virtustream into emerging markets and through technology transitions. An active participant in the virtualization and cloud computing communities, his industry viewpoints and writing can also be found on Twitter @bgracely, on his blog Clouds of Change and his podcast The Cloudcast (.net). He is a VMware vExpert and was named a "Top 100" Cloud Computing blogger by Cloud Computing Journal.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices 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 opportuni...
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straight from the business. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, William Morrish, General Manager of Product Sales at Interoute, outlined ways of exploiting new architectures to enable both systems and building them to support your existing platforms, with an eye for the future. Technologies such as Docker and the hyper-convergence of computing, networking and sto...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...