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The Challenges & Opportunities of the Software-Defined Data Center

April 15, 2016

The world of networking, as you probably already know, is becoming increasingly software-centric and virtualized, and data centers are no exception. In fact, it was within the data centers at the big over-the-top players like Amazon, Facebook, and Google that virtualization first took off. Now managed service providers are employing software-defined data centers to help their business customers optimize cloud-based and on-premises systems, according to a recent VMware blog on MSPmentor.

That article defines a software-defined data center as one that is fully virtualized, leverages network resources between data centers, has streamlined management, and enables IT staff to leverage automation so they can focus on strategic pursuits as opposed to mundane tasks.

The global SDDC market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30.98 percent between 2014 and 2019, according to Research and Markets. The research firm says players in this arena include , 6Wind, Arista Networks, Avaya, Big Switch Networks, Brocade, Cisco Systems, Citrix, Dell, EMC, , Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, Jeda Networks, Microsoft, NEC, NetApp, Nexenta, Pertino, Pivot3, Plexxi, PLUMgrid, SwiftStack, and VMware.

"Infrastructure and operations leaders need to understand the business case, best use cases and risks of an SDDC," said Dave Russell, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a 2015 statement. "Due to its current immaturity, the SDDC is most appropriate for visionary organizations with advanced expertise in I&O engineering and architecture."

Gartner predicts the by 2020 the programmatic capabilities of an SDDC will be considered a requirement for 75 percent of global 2000 enterprises that seek to implement a DevOps approach and a hybrid cloud model.

"I&O leaders can't just buy a ready-made SDDC from a vendor,” said Russell. “First, they need to understand why they need it for the business. Second, they need to deploy, orchestrate and integrate numerous parts, probably from different vendors."

In the March issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY, Frank Yue, Radware’s director of application delivery solutions, wrote: “The SDDC architecture and DevOps models make the IT environment more dynamic and requires the operational staff to have a deeper understanding of the virtualized functions and how applications constantly move through the environment through agile and elastic cloud-based capabilities.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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