Key Components of Software Defined Data Center

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Software defined data center (SDDC) is an idea that extends compute virtualization concepts such as abstraction, pooling and automation into other data center components where each component can now be provisioned, operated and managed through an Applications Programming Interface (API).

SDDC is a new idea that makes the data center no longer entirely hardware driven.  Instead it combines vendor-agnostic hardware with software-driven intelligence. It is made up of five components: Software Defined Computing (SDC), Software Defined Networking (SDN), Software Defined Storage (SDS), Automation, Orchestration and Management, and allows organizations to collaborate, connect and manage their IT resources in a whole new way.

Software Defined Data Center Components

Software Defined Compute (Server Virtualization).  Server virtualization is the pooling and abstraction of server resources, including the number and identity of individual physical servers, processors and memory.  The server administrator uses a software application to divide physical servers into multiple isolated virtual environments.

Software Defined Networking (SDN).  The goal of software defined networking is to enable cloud and network engineers and administrators to respond quickly to changing business requirements via a centralized control console.  SDN encompasses multiple kinds of network technologies designed to make the network more flexible and agile to support the virtualized server and storage infrastructure of the modern data center.

Software Defined Storage (SDS).  Software defined storage (SDS) is a term for computer data storage software for policy-based provisioning and management of data storage independent of the underlying hardware. Software-defined storage hardware may or may not also have abstraction, pooling or automation software of its own.

Automation, Orchestration and Management.  Automation and orchestration are two terms that are usually referred to as “Automation”.   Where automation usually refers to automating a task such as deploying a virtual server, orchestration refers to a process such as deploying a virtual server, updating a CMDB and acquiring an IP Address from an IP management system.

Benefits of the Software Defined Data Center

SDDC offers organizations the best features of both the cloud and the traditional on premise network.

SDDC Eliminates Hardware Dependency. SDDC allows for the elimination of proprietary hardware dependency; this is one of the benefits that the cloud provides. Think of the transition to a software defined data center like the self-driving car of the future. Just as the Google car is no longer dependent on floor pedals, the SDDC is no longer dependent on the command line interface. Just as we won’t have to learn how to drive in the future, the SDDC will negate the need for expensive training to learn highly specialized vendor hardware because all hardware will be commoditized. In addition, this new approach will liberate the IT department so that it can focus on innovative projects that add value to the organization and its bottom line. However, unlike the self-driving car, we can reap the benefits of SDDC today.

SDDC Simplifies Data Center Management. Rather than using multiple IT tools, apps and software to manage the complex technology challenges facing IT leaders today, software defined data center allows organizations to manage everything with the click of a button. Data can be monitored, systems can be updated and storage resources can be allocated from a single pane of glass.

SDDC Provides Benefits of Automation and Orchestration.  Instead of hurdling through complex IT services, the SDDC can improve any workflow by providing repeatable solutions. SDDC is characterized by automation, orchestration and the abstraction of resources into software code. By nature, software is more reliable than humans, which means that compared to the legacy data center, the software defined data center is more agile and responsive in all measures.

Learn more about software defined data centers and how software defined storage is a key component.

Article by Brian Gallob, Solutions Architect – Evolving Solutions.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure in 2018

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“Enterprises are shifting storage investments from legacy architectures to software-defined systems in an effort to achieve greater agility, easier provisioning and lower administrative costs. Hyperconverged systems – which combine storage, compute and network functionality in a single virtualized solution – are on their radars,” writes Ann Bednarz for Network World. Ms. Bednarz provides a look at what changes she is predicting in hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) technology in 2018.

Hyperconverged infrastructure has helped many enterprises find ways to reduce the complexity of traditional storage solutions.  Not only does it simplify management, but HCI can also offer enterprises more flexibility to scale and grow.   This has been critical to success for many small and medium sized enterprises, but this is not always the case for large enterprises.   Ms. Bednarz’s article points out that the “single node purchase” required with HCI can often times lead to a mismatch in performance that can impact the overall system for large enterprises.  Another issue that has developed as enterprises grow and add more nodes is increased latency due to data locality.  Luckily, vendors are looking at ways to address both issues.

According to IDC, the largest segment of software-defined storage is hyperconverged infrastructure, and it is expected to have a five-year growth rate of  26%.   Vendors are working on ways to solve the issues mentioned above to make it more attractive to all enterprises.  First, in the future HCI deployments may also offer a disaggregated storage model which larger enterprises would like and benefit from.  Vendors are also looking at using NVMe over fabric to reduce latency.

With the consideration of any new technology, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to best evaluate if adoption will improve your operations. The Evolving Solutions team can help.  We provide assessments of your storage infrastructure that can help you learn more about where you are and what upgrades and changes could be most beneficial to meeting your long term goals. Contact us to get started.

 

Trends in Enterprise IT

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Today let’s look at some current enterprise IT trends.  Check out these recent articles about enterprise mobile, IoT and software-defined storage.

Securing enterprise mobile

One enterprise IT trend that is not going away is the need to find better methods to secure mobile devices.  The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and corporate-owned-personally-enabled (COPE) approaches are here to stay, making enterprise mobile security an important focus in 2018. According to an article on ZDNet, enterprise IT is looking at new mobile security techniques to better secure data, such as isolation, machine learning and artificial intelligence technology. As this year comes to a close, be sure to review your enterprise mobile management solution to understand how your data and devices are protected.

Making IoT application clearer

From the news you can see that IoT is definitely an enterprise IT trend that has a lot of momentum, but in reality, technology and business leaders are still struggling to understand how IoT technology can be applied.  Network World reports that recent Forrester research can help companies integrate IoT better.  Forrester recommends these three approaches for applying IoT:

  • Use IoT to improve the design of new or existing products or systems
  • Use IoT to automate physical processes
  • Use third-party IoT data to improve services and products

This article is quick to point out that often times complexity is the killer or immobilizer of an IoT project.  These three approaches can help enterprise IT leaders hone in on a specific application of the technology that can benefit their organizations.

Software-defined storage gains momentum

Finally another enterprise IT trend is the increased adoption of software-defined storage (SDS). According to an article by IBM, the adoption of software-defined storage has been growing as IT leaders look to lower costs, automate processes and increase infrastructure flexibility.  Other reasons why enterprise IT is choosing SDS are environment based:

  • Today’s data is more unstructured and volume continues to grow
  • Traditional provisioning techniques are not working with current data use demands
  • More cloud use demands a storage solution that can work in many environments

If you would like to learn more about software-defined storage or speak about our enterprise mobile and IoT solutions, please contact our team.

Software-Defined Storage Improves Data Management

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IDC research indicates that over the next decade there will be a growing use of server rich storage architectures leveraging software-defined storage.  Let’s learn more about this approach.

What is software-defined storage?

Software-defined storage is about separating storage features and functions away from the physical storage device.   It provides automated policy-based management that can help simplify and make more efficient common administrative tasks.  It also helps prevent data fragmentation and breaks down data silos to give IT more global control of company data.

What is driving software-defined storage adoption?

First, the growth in the volume and variety of data is helping fuel the adoption of software-defined storage.  This storage solution allows you to more effectively store and access large volumes of data.  Another driver is the growth in third party platforms such as cloud computing services, analytics platforms, mobile and even social media.  Given these factors, data center managers are looking for ways to reduce storage costs and automate functions to improve efficiency.

Virtualization Review reports on the following findings from a recent survey about why data center managers are considering a move to this type of storage solution:

  • 55% surveyed want to simplify management of different models of storage
  • 53% surveyed want to “future-proof” infrastructure
  • 52% surveyed want to avoid hardware lock-in from manufacturers
  • 47% surveyed want to extend the life of existing storage assets

Software-defined storage benefits

IBM reports the following benefits from using software-defined storage:

  • Increased flexibility. A mix of heterogeneous hardware can be used to meet changing demands
  • Automated management. Policy-driven control helps put data in the right place at the right time…and at the right cost
  • Cost efficiency. Using standards-based hardware lowers both acquisition costs and total cost of ownership
  • Unlimited scalability. Infrastructure can be scaled while still managed as a single enterprise-class system
  • Enhanced agility. Updates to your infrastructure can happen much quicker to keep pace with changes in demand.

Want to learn more? Contact us to speak about our software-defined storage solutions.