Virtualization Featured Article

Making the Move to the Software Defined Data Center

March 25, 2016

For those in the data center industry, it is tough to ignore to the software-defined flurry of development taking place. According to 451 Research, 67 percent of enterprises plan to increases spending on software defined infrastructure (SDI) in 2016. The primary benefits include increased speed, scalability and control. But how does one take their data center from point A to B, fear not I’ve put together some tips for your migration to ensure it is as smooth as possible.

Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” meaning when individual parts are connected together they are more valuable than siloed pieces. A firm’s IT team must work in concert to ensure a deep well of knowledge in systems automation and orchestration as well as vendor specific protocols. Creating a knowledgeable team – or ensuring your team is capable – with the appropriate skill set is step one. Remember what G.I. Joe used to say, "Knowing is half the battle.”

Collaboration is a key piece in the migration process. IT, in general, is transforming. And when attempting a plunge into the realm of a software defined data center the team must be a Swiss watch. Like a symphony, each section must play its part in time. By having teams for each area of operations (compute, networking and storage) each function can operate at an optimum level.  A result of deploying a software defined data center is the ability to share relevant information across IT for better decision making and management.

Now, having said that team members must illustrate a level of flexibility, as roles can shift over time based on vendor selection or standards. The network will be elastic, so too must team members.

Making the move to an SDI can seem daunting but one that will pay off in spades over the long haul. Start small, select a small-scale project and focus on one plane—i.e. compute, networking or storage. A good first step could be virtualizing a storage workload and expanding the project and focus after successful testing. In taking this course of action a firm can ensure that it is ready to migrate operations to a virtualized environment without experiencing ill effects on the network.

Remember, when devising a migration or implementation to keep business benefits in mind. Keep metrics that matter front of mind because this is where the real value of the deployment comes into play. Over time these metrics may change, but in creating a virtualized environment the flexibility is there for your operations / network to adapt to and grow with your data center.

The future is definitely software based. The benefit is there, and the results are tangible. The enterprise is investing in this reality, and with more understanding comes smoother migration.  Only time will tell how far adoption and development goes in 2016, but I will be here to enjoy the show. Stay tuned…it’s going to be good.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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