Software-defined compute is part of the technology trend toward software-defined everything (SDx) in which technology functions are moved to a virtualized infrastructure. With software-defined compute, the computing function is moved into a cloud operation can be managed through a central interface that sees all computing resources as one element.
With software-defined compute, the computational functions can happen in any number of hardware devices in the cloud, as needed, rather than be assigned to a specific hardware device. In addition, the compute functions can be moved around to different pieces of virtual infrastructure, depending on the availability of resources.
Flexibility in the Cloud
One of the main advantages of software-defined compute is that it enables the infrastructure to become more flexible, serving many clients or customers at the same time. Using virtualization technologies, the infrastructure can be broken up into resources that can be allocated on demand. This has been the hallmark of the cloud computing movement.
Virtualization and software-defined compute has also led to the software-defined data center (SDDC), in which all of the technology components of a data center are virtualized and represented as a software function.
By employing software-defined compute and virtualization, Information Technology (IT) managers can streamline many management processes by simplifying the data center so that it can be more easily scaled. Hardware components tend to be generic and industry-standard, so they can be easily added to satisfy demand. This allows the IT managers to create a flexible, scalable pool of resources that are controlled by a software-driven cloud platform.
Cost and Management Benefits
The resultant benefits of this approach include hardware cost savings, operational visibility and control of the entire system, and increased agility of business operations — for example being able to add applications or new customers very quickly.
According to a study from Harvard Business Review (HBR), sponsored by Verizon Enterprise Solutions, indicated that 65 percent of enterprises use cloud computing today and that more than 70 percent of businesses expect to have external-facing applications in the cloud within the next three years.
The HBR study had many more interesting findings. It showed that 84% of companies have increased their cloud usage in the last year and that 77% of these companies believe a cloud approach has given them a competitive advantage.
The large-scale adoption and excitement about cloud computing indicate that software-defined compute and SDx are wide-ranging trends that are likely to be sustained for many years, driving moves to a virtualized infrastructure.