A software defined data center (SDDC) uses virtualization technologies to separate hardware infrastructure into separate “virtual machines” so that a service provider can offer computing and network services for many different clients.
By virtualizing a data center, all of the resources of the system – including computing, storage, and networking – can be “abstracted” and represented in a software form. The use of the data center resources can then be sold as a service, so that anybody can tap in and use the data center.
Components of the SDDC include software-defined networking (SDN) elements, software-defined storage, and virtual machines, or virtualized computing. Many different software platforms – both open and proprietary — can be used to virtualize computing resources, including Citirix, KVM, OpenDaylight, OpenStack, OpenFlow, Red Hat, and VMware among many others.
The advantage of SDDC for clients is that they do not have to build the infrastructure. If they need computing, networking, and storage resources, they can simply “rent” them via the cloud. The advantage for a software or service provider is that they can use on centralized data-center infrastructure to serve many clients. One element that has driven the growth of SDDC and cloud computing in general is the plummeting cost of hardware and storage. As these resources get cheaper, it gets more economical to build out large data centers in massive scale and then sell these resources as Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS).
One of the largest benefits of a SDDC data center is that because the resources can be represented in virtualized or abstracted software, physical connections and pieces of hardware do not have to be physically manipulated to make changes. For example, a switch or a storage unit can be re-allocated to different clients through a software program, without requiring manual manipulation.
Using software to plan, provision, and manage services can automate or self-provision services for customers, speeding up service deployment and saving money on operational costs of expensive manual configurations.
In addition to the service agility and provisioning benefits mentioned above, the SDDC approach has other benefits such as reduced energy consumption. Centralized data centers can use economy of scale to deploy hardware components that are optimized for mass-energy consumption as well as connect to green-energy sources such as hydroelectric, solar, or geothermal. SDDC can also improve security by centralizing control over hosted data and security.
Fundamental to Cloud Business
The emergence of the SDDC has been an important shift in service models, enabling many smaller business to access compute, network, and storage elements that they did not have access to before, because of the expense of building out infrastructure. The arrival of the SDDC has also fundamentally changed the way enterprise IT architects think about deploying and accessing applications, driving more and more functions into the cloud.